Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Monday, September 25, 2006

Leaping Lizards! It's A Leaping Horse!

A friend recently gave us a bottle of Leaping Horse Chardonnay made by Ironstone Vineyards. I don't want to talk about the wine, just the labels. Ironstone Vineyards is in Lodi where good wines are made, but to a large extent they have to compete with the likes of Yellowtail and two buck Chuck, hence the animal front label. In an effort to be user-friendly, the back label lists four statements in addition to the usual warnings to pregnant women and other health warnings: 1) "Style", 2) "The Low Down", 3) "Home Grown", 4) "Match Made In Heaven". "Style" has a useful description of the wine. "The Low Down" is more of the same. "Homegrown" is another way to say "estate bottled". "Match Made In Heaven" is about food pairings. This is definitely a worthy effort at an informative label, but in my opinion, every back label should have these four elements: 1) Style, 2) Readiness, 3) Ageing Potential, 4) Food Pairings. Style - what kind of wine is it. What does it taste like? What's it's personality? Readiness - when will it be ready to drink. Tonight? In a year? Two Years? Ten years? Ageing potential - how long will it last? When will it be at it's peak? Food pairings - what does it go with? What is it perfect with? Robert Parker moved us beyond vagaries about the Queen's coronation, elegance and "stuffing." Now it is time to move on to useful information for the consumer who more often than not must depend on the label to decide on a purchase. Friendly animals and pretty front labels are not enough!


  • At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Couldn't agree more. It would be wonderful to know a bit more about the wine in your hand at the supermarket. I've got a bit of wine education and I am still intimidated by the massive selection of wines that have little to no description on the back label.


  • At 10:22 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Hi Darin. Yes, the array of wine at the supermarket is overwhelming and intimidating and some of it is not so good either. Since there is usually no one to ask, better to choose on the basis of some useful information rather than a pretty front label and some trite hype on the back label.


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