In my last post, I wrote about the dilemma I am facing in naming my personal wine project. I said that I am 99% sure of what that name would be. And before I unveil it here and my reasons why, let it be said that this is no press release in the vein of Snooth's Wine Pairing application. Kudos to the team for another quality extension of the brand that brings the wine world under rule.
In that previous post I queried for some feedback and received a few consistent comments pertaining to the ease of remembering the brand name, the ease in pronouncing it and its ability to be distinguished.* Words like class, simplicity and minimalism were jousted around. These defining words can do just that, not only define the brand but also, in my opinion, describe the (label) design. A hook about this wine I am creating is that it will be a small production effort that will be sold to friends and family, a few select retailers and restaurants in NYC and the Bay Area, California. I have acquired contracts on six tons of grapes and am looking at a potential 300 cases of white wine. Not enough to get lost on the shelves of your local supermarket or super wine store. This doesn't justify an obscure name choice or design, but the limited supply helps with the early stages of marketing by avoiding the clutter. My wine will be a hand-sell because of the nature of its composition; I will be producing a unique white wine blend with some (relatively) obscure Italian grape varieties at its core. That being said, does the “name” mean as much as the fit (with the consumer's palate, the sommelier's palate or the restaurant's wine list)? Only time will tell.
So, it is time to tell. The winery name will be “Massican.” And its flagship blend, which on paper at this time, will consist of Tocai, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Ribolla Gialla will be “sub” named “Annia.”
Massican. Named after the coastal mountain range on the Southern Italian peninsula in the region of Campania. Mount Massico garnered its mythological fame from a story of Bacchus' travels when he was looking for a getaway after the “Carabinieri” (Italian police) were after his ass for being a cult-wino-instigator. In this particular story, Bacchus took refuge in the foothills of Massico with a farmer named Falernus. Bacchus was so enamored with the farmer's generosity that when the farmer slept, Bacchus waved his magic Riedel Urn and turned his host's hillside fields into the most sought after white wine grapes in all of Italy. Today that DOC is called Falerno del Massico and is home to Campania's seductive Falanghina. My great-great Grandfather was also born in these foothills outside of the city of Caserta. His father was a farmer who was jailed for this or that and sent his only son to the United States before WWI ensued. During his imprisonment, the crook asked his neighbor to tend his farm. When he was released, the neighbor did not want to give the land back. So, he was stabbed and the criminal in my genealogical tree returned to jail. Mythology, reverence and personal history all play a part in this (relatively easy to pronounce) name.
Since the wine doesn't have a grape variety to distinguish it by, I will designate the wine with the name “Annia.” Annia has two meanings. First, it is a derivative of my mother's name, Ann (who drinks her wine with ice cubes, even red wine, and I love her for it). And it is also the name of the ancient Roman High Priestess, Paculla Annia, also from the region of Campania. Paculla Annia was hunted in the Second Century BC because she was the forebearer in the flesh of what we know today to be etymology of what we consider the “Bacchanal” cult.
For you shrewd wine types, you will say, the grapes you chose, Dan, are not indigenous to your naming convention. Yes, that is true. But it is hard to find Falanghina in the United States, so I am attacking the Italian style of white wine production from its most prominent region, and as I have said earlier, I truly appreciate and enjoy drinking the modern style of wine coming out of North East Italy. Although my naming convention doesn't hone into this region's history, it claims a history in Italian wine and, as described, a personal history. So, I leave you with it and the words of Horace:
“… whether you bring complaints
or jokes, or brawling and insane
love affairs, or easy sleep,
or whatever purpose you preserve choice
Massico, worthy to be removed on an
auspicious day, descend,
bids me uncork [sic] wine.”
* A note about naming. “Snooth.” Not ‘smooth'. Or what I originally linked it to, “Sleuth” (as in investigated). Philip told me that it was the nickname for the town he grew up in England. Maybe he can explain it here.
Larkmead Vineyards in Napa Valley. Dan has an MBA from New York University and worked as an Ad Exec in New York for several years, before switching it up and trading his suit for a move out west