PICTURE this... They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but does the same go for a wine label?
Creative labels designed to sell the bottle can either invite a myriad of beguiling flavours to the table, or induce the grapes of wrath for having spent more pounds than sense on a dud bottle.
So for vino lovers thirsty for a wine that speaks to them, here are half-a-dozen jazzy wines with an imaginative label that pass the tipple test.
THE CAT’S WHISKERS
A Languedoc lovely from Boutinot’s cellars in the South of France, Chat-en-Oeuf Blanc 2010 Pays d’Oc, South of France (£5.99, Waitrose) is a simple design with a feline sitting on an egg, and a clever play on words. A perfect patio wine made from a blend of grenache blanc, marsanne and roussanne, this fresh and zesty bright white should inspire some cat’s tales.
HARD ROCK CALLING
Musical genius meets talented winemaker with AC/DC Back in Black Shiraz 2010, Australia (£9.99, www.laithwaites.co.uk). The legendary rock band have linked up with Australian winemaker Warburn Estate to produce their own collection of wines, and have named them after their greatest hits. It’s savoury, spicy and dry with some leather on the muscular finish to express their musical tastes.
A CLASS ACT
Winemaker Paul Mas has gone to town here and used his head with the Elegant Frog Viognier 2010, France (£8.49, Sainsbury’s). Not only does his fashion-forward frog donning a trilby, bow tie and natty brown suit deserve a kiss, but this South of France viognier is quite delightful. Refreshing and aromatic with apricot flavours and honeysuckle on the nose, it’s a prince charming waiting to be uncorked.
A tribute to Morse telegraphy and the first signals sent across Australia’s great telephone line, the minimalist label of Morse Code Padthaway Chardonnay 2010, Australia (£8.99, Tesco) with dots and dashes is a great code breaker if you want to win over an ally who may not normally drink chardonnay. It’s nicely restrained with flavours of melon and lemon on a nutty finish.
One of the earliest vehicles to work in the vineyards, the Ford Model T on the bottle of Harvey Nichols Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand (£12.75, Harvey Nichols nationwide) would have carried the grapes to produce this racy style, and signals the winemaker’s ancestry. Auntsfield Estate has a history dating back to 1873 and this lively glass of passion fruit, white peach, lime and citrus is a top drop.
If you want to make an entrance at a dinner party, ride into town with The Comeback Kid, McLaren Vale Shiraz Cabernet Merlot 2008, Australia (£9.99, www.virginwines.co.uk). A blockbuster red that’s full of character, the vibrant black fruit with mocha-chocolate notes and velvety smooth tannins are memorable to the last sip.