Unusual Labels
page 1

Diversity in Wine


      T his site celebrates unusual labels and amusing names that we are increasingly finding on our wine shelves.

     There are thousand and thousands of wine of the shelves. It is getting harder and harder to find a name for a new wine that hasn't been taken already. Don't disregard a wine just because it has an outrageous name and or label.

     Fat Bastard went from being a shock name to becoming the best selling French wine in the USA. It succeeded because it's darn good wine. And the name is memorable!

Fat Bastard Vin du pay D'Oc
This southern French chardonnay has quickly become the biggest seller in the US. Its unforgettable name came about when Guy Anderson, was visiting French winemaker Thierry Boudinard wine maker. They intended launching a new brand, but they hadn't found a suitable wine or a name for it. They tasted through the wines available, then Thierry, who was just back from making wine in Australia, came across a particularly good chardonnay. Using his newly extended vocabulary, he turned to Guy and said "Taste zis fat bastard".*
       The label has seen some changes over the year, and in 2013 after a decade Fat Bastard remains the No. 1 French Chardonnay, in addition to being the No. 1 French Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. Fruit is sourced from the Vin de Pay dOc in Southern France. Although the majority of the brands sales are in the United States, it is distributed worldwide with a strong a particularly presence in Canada, and The Netherlands. In South Africa Fat Bastard wines are made by Robertson Winery from locally grown grapes.
       At the end of 2012 the Fat Bastard brand ran its tenth annual Breast Cancer Awareness promotion in the USA when $.25 from every bottle sold in the months of September and October (up to $75,000) goes to Breast Cancer Charities. The total amount given to charities was just shy of $700,000.

*The story behind the name changes depending on where the wine is sold. On some back labels Fat Bastard is said to be a British expression.

Kenwood California
Kenwood intended to start its premium Artist Series collection in 1975 with the tasteful reclining nude by Mr. Goines reclining affectionately known at the winery as the 'Naked Lady' label. But it was not to be. The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) claimed it was obscene and indecent, and only 50 cases with the label slipped through to get to market. As a protest the label was resubmitted with a reclining skeleton instead. But the BATF forbade this also. In 1997, the 'Naked Lady' was resubmitted to the BATF, and, well, times have changed.... Twenty years after its original submission, the label was approved. What better way to celebrate the 20th Anniverary of one of the worlds most renowned collections of wine!
Scraping the Barrel Spain
The UK importers of this Spanish Tempranillo did not scrape the bottom of the barrel for this very drinkable red. Their no nonsense back label tells the buyer that it can be drunk with chips and gravy.
Bloody Good White California, USA
Bloody Good White? Some Americans think the British say this word all the time, but we do not in polite society. Is it serious? It is seriously priced, but no varietal is named. The label has a great drawing of a tiger with a wicked grin licking its lips. See the notebook and fallen bottle. The matching back label is the page of the notebook with the (deceased) owners tasting notes broken off with scrawl just after claiming is was 'bloody good'.
Cardinal Zin California, USA
Britains innovative Oddbins chain use cartoonist Ralph Steadman to illustrate the label from this Bonny Doon Zinfandel. And for a bonus point, name the city who had a real life Cardinal Sin.
The Unpronouceable Grape Hungary
Instead of giving this wine a nondescript brand name they have made a feature of the unpronounceable (to us) varietal. Its a Hungarian crossing of Gewurtztraminer and Irsai Oliver, made at the Neszmely winery. I loved this stunning spicy fruit-filled wine that just demanded to be drunk. Oh, and Cserszegi Fuszeres is pronounced Chair-Sheggy Foo-share-us. And it could just as easily be in this sites unusual varietal section.I have received several emails about the correct pronunciation of Cserszegi Fuszeres. Unfortunately no two agreed. The pronunciation shown above was taken from the back label on the bottle.
        Im indebted to Karoly Haasz who wrote:
        I think that you will find it is closer to Chair-Seggy Foo-sare-ush.
        You already realise that Hungarian Cs = English Ch. SZ is prounced like English S - unlike Polish where I believe it is Sh, conversely and annoyingly, to English speakers, Hungarian S is pronounced Sh.
        While Hungarian consonants are fairly simple and dont show the kind of variation we get in English, with a variety of ways to pronounce c or g, for example, the same is not true for vowels, of which there are many, unaccented, accented, double accented and umlauted. I struggle with them and so am not commenting on that aspect of pronunciation. Unfortunately, they are sometimes lost in transliteration and I cannot see the label clearly enough on your website to be sure about the presence or absence of any accent over the u in Fuszeres. I have received several emails about the correct pronunciation of Cserszegi Fuszeres. Unfortunately no two agreed. The pronunciation shown above was taken from the back label on the bottle.
        Im indebted to Karoly Haasz who wrote:
        I think that you will find it is closer to Chair-Seggy Foo-sare-ush.
        You already realise that Hungarian Cs = English Ch. SZ is prounced like English S - unlike Polish where I believe it is Sh, conversely and annoyingly, to English speakers, Hungarian S is pronounced Sh.
        While Hungarian consonants are fairly simple and dont show the kind of variation we get in English, with a variety of ways to pronounce c or g, for example, the same is not true for vowels, of which there are many, unaccented, accented, double accented and umlauted. I struggle with them and so am not commenting on that aspect of pronunciation. Unfortunately, they are sometimes lost in transliteration and I cannot see the label clearly enough on your website to be sure about the presence or absence of any accent over the u in Fuszeres.
Marilyn Merlot California
This punning name works best when said in an American drawl. Each vintage features a different image of Marilyn Monroe and a unique label design. The Marilyn Monroe image is licensed to Nova Wines by Marilyn Monroe's estate whose beneficiaries are Anna Strasberg, widow of Lee Strasberg who was Marilyn Monroe's acting coach and friend, and the Anna Freud Center for Child Psychiatry.

My publishers liked the name so much they titled my book of amusing wine labels as Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape

Once you have found an original name for your wine, you will need to source a supplier to get these printed - unless you are going to print these on your own colour printer. You will find the Seareach website interesting.
    Recently exhibiting at Label Expo, Seareach offer barcode labels for inventory control of wine bottles and can provide security labels to prevent tampering with the bottle tops. The British labelling association also provide valuable information on other suppliers for the production of your labels. Remember though, that for low quantities, your best choice would be to produce these at home.

More weird labels? go to page 2......

U n u s u a l




www.winelabels.org/labels.htm
8 November 1998
minor modification 5 August 2005
minor modification 1 June 2007
some updates 15 February 2013
peter@winelabels.org