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Unusual Labels
page 20

Diversity in Wine

E njoy these attractive, amusing and interesting labels

Sogno uno
Savanna Wines
     New wine brands appear on the market all the time, but few receive the attention that Sogno Uno did when released in the USA last year. For Sogno Uno, red Italian wine, is produced by porn movie actress Savanna Samson. Her semi-clad image is on the label of the $38 wine and it was virtually impossible to get because publicity surrounding the wine mean the entire shipment of 4,900 wines were pre-ordered by fans.

      And having noted critic Robert Parker giving it a rating of 91 points also helped.

      Savanna (real name Natalie Oliveros) had the wine made to her specifications by Italian winemaker Roberto Cipresso, and chose a blend of 70% Cesanese, 20% Sangiovese and 10% Montepulciano.

      After all the publicity, the label is a letdown. The actual label is just over 3x5 inches (8x13cm) and thus Savanna's picture is just 2 1/4 inches ( 5.5cm) from toes to the tip of her outstretched hands. As a service to my many readers, the scan shown here is larger than life.

      My hearty thanks go to my very good cyber-friend Bob Ross in New Jersey, USA, who shipped a (unfortunately empty) bottle to me. Bob's tasting note reads:-

   Deep inky red color, deep hue, piercing aroma of fruit and spice with a very interesting earthy quality -- somewhere between chalk and flint -- that little cavity between the nodules of flint and chalk contain that aroma when the chalk is first chipped away; a very strong fruity taste with spice and mineral notes, medium mouth feel, a bit out of balance with strong acidity which moderated only slightly after two hours in the glass; long finish, rather single note and a little boring. Absolutely no aroma lingered in the empty glass. Altogether, an interesting tasting experience, but not a good QPR given the erratic price point. Who could imagine that Virgil would command such interest! 2*. Notes: Cesanese: A red grape of ancient origin found mostly in Latium in Central Italy. aka Bonvino Nero.

   The label is truly remarkable, containing the longest known Latin text on a wine bottle. Virgil: "Et te, Bacchus, vocant per carmina laeta, tigique oscilla ex alta suspendunt molia pinu. Kinc omnis largo pubescit vinea fetu, complenture vallesque cavae saltusque profundi et quocumque deus circum caput egit honestum. Ergo rite suum Bacchus dicemus honores carminibus patris lancesque et liba feremus, et cutus cornu stabit sacer hircus ad aram, pinguaia in veribus exta colurnis."

   The text is extracted from the Second Book of Virgil's "Georgics", devoted in large measure to growing grapes and olive trees. The references to Octavian in this extract are quite subtle, if they exist at all, and I am certain the winemaker took that fact into full account in choosing the text.


   ... et te, Bacche, uocant per carmina laeta, tibique oscilla ex alta suspendunt mollia pinu. hinc omnis largo pubescit uinea fetu, 390 complentur uallesque cauae saltusque profundi et quocumque deus circum caput egit honestum. ergo rite suum Baccho dicemus honorem carminibus patriis lancesque et liba feremus, et ductus cornu stabit sacer hircus ad aram 395 pinguiaque in ueribus torrebimus exta colurnis.


MIT's translation of the text reads as follows:

   Grim masks of hollowed bark assume, invoke Thee with glad hymns, O Bacchus, and to thee Hang puppet-faces on tall pines to swing. Hence every vineyard teems with mellowing fruit, Till hollow vale o'erflows, and gorge profound, Where'er the god hath turned his comely head. Therefore to Bacchus duly will we sing Meet honour with ancestral hymns, and cates And dishes bear him; and the doomed goat Led by the horn shall at the altar stand, Whose entrails rich on hazel-spits we'll roast.


My compliments on a remarkable accomplishment in the art and literature of the wine label.

Tasted by Bob in July 2007.

wine label
Silly Mid On
Jim Barry Wines
Clare Valley/Adelaid Hills
wine label

      This is one of three different front labels for this wine, a blend of Sauvignon Banc and Semillon, that illustrate how this cricket fielding position got its name.

      The first label shows the fielder standing standing mid on and very close to the batsman, ready to make a catch. But you have to be quicker than this fielder, as this label shows, as the ball flies towards his head. In the final label we see the prostrate unconscious fielder receiving first aid.

tasted July 2006
website at www.jimbarry.com/
Cape Maidens
Juno Wine Company
South Africa
Juno Wine label
website at www.junowines.com

      I found it hard to choose just one label from this series of attractive labels from Juno Wines. They all feature the sameattractive happily smiling 'juno-esque' woman. But I picked this one because I receive many emails asking about labels with a cycling theme, and here Juno is on her bike.

      The original paintings are by Tertia du Toit. From the Juno web-site "She paints a picture of the atmosphere of the wine, the taste and the aroma. The girls are part of exhibitions, a collection of paintings that dance around the idea of womanhood.

      "Her paintings focuses on the female figure, milkmaids and Madonna’s, an abundance of life’s pleasures. With the strong colours and dramatic poses she invites whoever dares, ‘to indulge’.

      "The aim with the labels is to create an integrated visual meeting between the predominantly male winemaking traditions and the sensual nature of the wine itself. The eventual idea with the usage of the Maidens is not to objectify them but rather to turn them into super heroines."

      < Thanks for Oliver Kirsten of Juno Wines for the images

Bored Doe
South Africa
     Fairview's goat tower has a definite gallic look on the label of this wine. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
    There is an area of France that pioneered blends of these varieties and calls them its own -- the name of the area is on the tip of my tongue. I wonder if having another glass of Bored Doe will help me remember? Tasted at the winery, March 2007.
Bored Doe  label
website at fairview.co.za/goats/
Sushi Wine
Sushi Wine label
website at www.sushiwine.fr

      There are several wines labelled as a food match, but this one is quite different.

      It was selected by Mr Atsuta, President of the Japanese Association of Sommeliers, to pair with Sushi.

      But the back label sounds warning bells "This wine-based aromatic beverage comes from a selection of the best French vineyards and offers a lovely boquest of exotic fruits with a delicate, very fruity and refreshing after taste."

      "Wine-based aromatic beverage"?

      It was dark yellow when opened, had no nose and tasted of nothing except a heavy staleness. It wasn't oxidised -- at least not obviously. We just could not bring ourself to drink this dull stale wine and opened another wine instead. It is supposed to be mostly Chenin blended with undisclosed varieties and a blend from different years hence its non vintage status.

      I returned it to the shop where the staff were not surprised; mine wasn't the only complaint about this wine. I took another bottle and opened it and it wasn't as bad as the first, but there was still a strangeness about it. It reminded me of Sake, the Japanese still rice beer. There just happened to be an opened bottle of Sake in the back of the shop, so we tasted that and the same flavour was there. Either this 14% Wine-based aromatic beverage has some Sake in the blend, or Mr Atsuta and the winemakers tried to duplicate its taste, but if you want wine to drink with Sushi, try something -- anything -- else. Tasted November and December 2006

Screw Kappa Napa
3 Loose Screws
Napa Valley
Screw Kappa Napa label

      The 3 Loose Screws are Don Sebastiani and his sons Donny and August, and this is the latest label for their proudly screwcap closed wine range. I have the original version of this label in my book, but I think this new design is inspired with its picture of a corkscrew ascending to heaven.

      The wine was a good Sauvignon Blanc -- free of cork taint. Nuff said.

tasted July 2006
website at 3loosescrews.com

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14 October 2007