The Seduction of Wine Labels
Posted on March 31, 2017
The seduction of Wine labels
I would only regard myself as an average connoisseur (not always sure who I may or may not compare with) but for the best part, I know my wines fairly well and as such I should probably not openly admit the following, but yes, I do fall for labels! This past weekend was evident of such. We were having a group of friends around as one does when the weather complies to kindly - and thought to get a little creative with my selection, instead of the “same old” that I am so studiously faithful to. Without so much as any idea in mind of what I was going out to shop for, I decided to allow labels to be the deciding factor...
It’s amazing how your mind shift changes towards your selection when doing this. Suddenly I was no longer looking for a certain cultivar or vintage, but rather a label that spoke to me! Many did. I might only have needed two or three bottles, but I ended up buying eleven! So what, they’re just so beautiful!
This was how I decided on which... I am an animal lover, wannabe artist and a bit of a feminist from time to time and hence these passions all played a small part in my selection. Searching amongst predominantly the red wines, I was amazed at the boundless variety of superb blends we have available – I think our South African winemakers have this art well and truly taped! The selection and variety of both red and white blends seems to be growing profoundly. Perhaps the South African palate itself has matured to a point where blends are becoming more fashionable?
This is further proven by the recent acclaim to a collection of accolades within our South African wine industry – when Badsberg Wine Cellar stole the show at the 2016 SA Young Wine Awards for their string of awards, amongst which included their Badsberg Chardonnay/Chenin Blanc blend (wooded) that won the SA Champion trophy and Diemersdal who won the SA Champion Red Blend for their Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz (wooded). Noteworthy too are the phenomenal results that came to light at Winemag.co.za’s 2016 Riscura White Hot Wine Awards – where 35 entries from our Cape wine cellars - blending Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, produced no lower than 86/100 (really very good) and a further 15 scored 90-plus out of 100 (excellent to outstanding). This certainly says we’ve got something going on here!
So with collection in hand – or trolley rather, I skipped off to impress our guests with my acquisition! Needless to say, everyone was well amused by the method I’d used to make my selection, and although we always spend a fair amount of time chatting about wine, we ended up in very absorbing discussions about labels! The unpredicted outcome was that all agreed that though this may be deemed a rather “less-informed process” of selection – it’s thoroughly entertaining and encourages experimenting with a lot more variety! (I may just have a new favourite too...)
Amongst my preferred choices where : My best Friend by Zandvliet Wine Estate, Oenomancy (alternatively known as Oinomancy – which is a form of augury, that in this case is divination by wine, usually that had been poured out as an offering to the gods – in this case our friends!) by produced by Fairview Wines, and a truly beautiful blend of no less than 5 varietals – Faithful Hound by Mulderbosch. Absolutely phenomenal wines.
So here’s to indulging your senses with labels - and may you too find some magnificent hidden gems amongst them!