Saturday, December 11, 2004

French Labels -- Redux

OK, here's a second take on the traditional French wine label. I think I am prejudiced in that I prefer a wine with a classic label, like the traditional French label with a hand-drawn ink picture of the chateau and the name of the appellation and then some obscure reference to the producer. I recently tasted a Rose with a traditional label (Commanderie de la Bargemone, Coteaux di Aix en Provence 2003) and I think I liked it better than a similar wine with a "new" contemporary label (Domaine de Fondreche, Cotes du Ventoux Rose 2003). They both are priced the same and in a blind taste I probably couldn't tell them apart. But I would probably buy, and recommend, the Bargemone over the Fondreche. (There is probably some wine snobbery here by offering an obscure, unfathomable French label that I have supposedly ferreted out from some dusty bins at the distributor. Just don't ask me to pronounce any of these names!) How much a part of the buying decision does the front label and other packaging make? A lot! (I still think Bombay Saphire is THE best gin, period.) But both wines need to revamp the back labels to offer winemaking information – grape varieties, blends, production details, oak, no oak, etc. Now, if I could only remember the name of the wine I just had!


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