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Snooth User: CuriousWine

The Artful Label

Posted by CuriousWine, Mar 14, 2008.

Forget the artist label. Forget the long, dignified history of Mouton's label . My apologies to Dali , Chagall , Picasso , Warhol , and the like. Admittedly, I feel less bad about dissing Prince Charles . How did that even happen? I only took one art history class in college (and I often fell asleep during it), but I can easy pick out of the following list the one that doesn't belong: Joan Miro, Wassily Kandinsky, Keith Haring, Prince Charles. Sorry, Charlie. Alas, I digress.

Cast off the eye-catching labels of Leeuwin Estate :

I bet you never thought the label of "critter wine" should be framed and hung in a gallery. Who knew?

Close your eyes when drinking something from Bedell Cellars . Chuck Close and Barbara Kruger won't mind. And you might as well give up on anything that Bonny Doon produces, all smoke and mirrors. The bottle might as well be empty with all those flashy labels. And stay away from Montes with its Ralph Steadman blarney. See?

So, heed my advice: forget the artful label. Just pay attention to what’s in the bottle. I dare you to try.

Scott Rosenbaum is director of operations for the International Wine Center and wine buyer for the retailer DrinkUpNY .


Blog comment by Greg Brady, Mar 15, 2008.

art labels = pretentious

Blog comment by jim, Mar 15, 2008.

I'm not sure I would heed any of this "advice". These (wineries) happen to be excellent producers of very fine wines. All of them are standouts in their appellations.

What on earth could you have against fine art decorating a product as fine as these?

Why should you "dare" us to do anything so silly? Should we also close our eyes before we eat?

One could argue that the labels are pretentious (I disagree) but is that more or less prententious than a call to "pay attention to what's in the bottle [not on it]"?

I only ask this for the sake of the discussion, not to be mean-spirited I assure you!

Blog comment by Scott, Mar 15, 2008.

Greg- I don't think anything is pretentious, in and of itself; however, I do feel that people can be pretentious about almost anything.

Jim- I wouldn't heed the "advice" above and I'm the guy who posted it. It was written in jest (though not well enough apparently). I believe, perhaps less controversially than I'd like to imagine, that what's on the outside of the bottle is every bit as important as what's on the inside.

Blog comment by garnet eyes, Mar 16, 2008.

You have to look at the Castello Romitorio labels, they are smokin. I always say that the better the label the worse the wine- but visa versa is also true/

Blog comment by garnet eyes, Mar 16, 2008.

one more thing...
The Castello Romitorio labels are excellent! They are cynical and heroic at the same time- the Brunello di Montalcino has a label which depicts a nude devil holding a cocktail, with his cock out and his tail up... quite funny but only available in europe. ATF did not approve this one, however check the website to see European version/

We are a really strange society; often naive- if wines express beauty why shouldn't their labels? but some people are just winers or weiners (in german)

Blog comment by Pierre, Mar 17, 2008.

What did I stumble into... So funny! What comes to my mind is "wine cellar", am I preoccupied with the labels? Sure, some of "them" labels are not too dining room friendly... But it's all in good fun. I personally prefer the classics. Then again, I am a wine snob/freak... Let the customers buy or not buy the bottle because of the labels. I think these labels are conceived to "catch the eye" of the unversed masses in the endless rows and aisles of wine stores. Too simple an explanation? Sante !!!

P.S.: A good example is the 1978 Mouton with the Riopelle label, now a priceless collector's item in Quebec, where the artist was from. So save those funky labeled wine bottles for your cellars... who knows... maybe the wine they contain will also be drinkable in 30 years !!!

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Mar 17, 2008.

@Scott: Funny how an artistic label can have the opposite effect if it is mistrusted as a marketing scheme.
@Garnet Eyes: Great tip on the Castello Romitorio. Do you know of any weird wine names? ( )

Blog comment by Dan, Mar 17, 2008.

Two (recent inclusions to the) art label that I think are fantastic are: Eric Kent's wines and Orin Swift's new Cabernet release, Papillon.

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