Sunday, 29 May 2016

You can't tell a wine by it's cover

How often do we look at the label on the bottle of wine before we open it?

Well it seems quite a lot and this is something that the marketeers of wine are fast realising. The label draws us to the bottle particularly when we buy a wine on impulse.   For our Club's meeting though we move on from the impulse buy to another level, not so much about the wine but very much about the label.

Within the club we can now look back over the various meeting and realise that we heard a number of very good speakers and speakers that bring their own nuances to the area we are all interested in, wine and it's enjoyment.

Martin Marais last spoke to us about his own family connections with South Africa, a terrific talk and at the meeting tonight he gave another excellent talk, but this time it was more about the outside of the bottle than the contents inside.

Martin once again a big thank you...

What of the wines?

Before the wines a word about the cheeses and the welcome wine, the writer of this Blog has just returned form the Loire region of France and was able to bring cheese and also some wine. The starter wine was a Loire Sauvignon Blanc. A very acceptable glass as well. The cheeses were also from the region. 

The first wine had the most startling of labels, more Hammer Horror than a relaxed wine. In fact the wine was Italian wine and made with an Italian Grape.   

The wine was just fine, an easy drinking wine and with the added advantage of us to taste a grape variety that was a first for the club. 

And the label,  

The wine is one of the Co-op 'irresistible' range.  

The next wine had a less startling label, in fact a fine label. 

 From the sellers web site:

A lovely white wine from Maison Williams Chase this is an expertly made blend of Vermentino (Rolle) and Viognier.  Called "Papillon", French for butterfly, the name alludes to the metamorphosis which takes place producing a truly special wine after months of skilled and delicate work.  William Chase obtained the small domaine of Chateau Constantin in 2012 and are producing innovative and very enjoyable, first class wines overseen by head winemaker, Dale Clarke.   The grapes for Papillon come from old vines planted on the highest point in the domaine where the terroir has a rich minerality surrounded by undisturbed forests and local Herbes de Provence.  

Those that buy William Chase Vodka and / or Gin will know the name. 

The last white has, by comparison a more subtle label but on closer examination a very interesting one:

A great label and a great wine, this the grape that some love some hate, the Riesling Grape, but this bottle comes a long way to be with us, the wine grown and made in Washington State by the Charles Smith organisation.  

A very good wine as well. 

The cheese we had the Whites were all soft, a Camembert type as well as a sheep and a goat cheese. All well received and a good matching

The red wines were a mix of surprises, The General wine that was almost chose itself given Martin's connection with South Africa.  The wine label was linked to the Boer War, the wine called The General from the  Boer and Brit was from South Africa's Stellenbosch region, it was a Bordeaux-style blend of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Aged in French oak, a delicious, full-blooded wine.

Martin made no secret of his love of Malbec so the eye-catching label designed to leave the buyer no confusion over what he or she was to buy, an Argentinian Malbec, what it tastes of and what to eat with the wine.  This from the Co-op again.

The penultimate wine had a relatively boring label until one looked more closely, Chinese writing, yes a first for sure, a Chinese wine from Wuhia Valley. 

The question is, what of the wine. Not the star of the evening for sure. So best described as 'interesting' but better wines out there. 

The final wine, a South African Pinotage, was the best of the reds, but this is a wine that split the membership, for some just brilliant, for some OTT.  Best buy to try.

Its label was a clue, it did somehow give a chocolate feel, comforting, warming and a good wine to have reading a book by the fire - not unlike a chocolate bar!  

In summary - what did people make of the labels, did they help in choosing wine?  

Here there was little consensus, they gave no clue as to the wine so as an aid to choice no. Did they encourage the buyer, well oddly for some yes, the Vampire seen in the Grecula wine may have done just that but for as many if not more it was a barrier to the purchase. It was hard to take it seriously. Where does that leave us, well I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder, the OTT label may help in taking you to a wine but would not help in making the decision, in fact probably stop you from buying.  Male or female, it seemed to make little difference. 

All in all a very good, different and enjoyable evening. A very big thanks you to Martin.


Date of the next meeting 

JULY 22nd 


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