Casa Rojo The Wine Gurus is a series of selected single varietal wine from the classic wine regions in Spain. The grapes are typical of the regions and the wines are made to reflect the varietal character as well as the terroir. The labels are designed to convey the essence of the wine style in a humorous, friendly manner appeal to average consumer. La Marimorena, an Albarino from Riax Baixas, is fresh and crisp with citrus and a touch of minerality. The fish bone on the label carries the message from the sea, and that the wine is best matched with fresh seafood. The label of El Gordo del Circo is a big man in a barrel because this Verdejo from Rueda is a full-bodied wine fermented in barrel and with long lees ageing. The Invisible Man is a 100% Tempranillo from the classic Rioja region made in New World style with lively fruits expression. The man in tuxedo and holding a skateboard reflects the combination of tradition and modernity.
The latest addition to the series is Alexander vs The Ham Factory from Ribera del Duero. The pig with prosthetic legs on the label implies the wine goes best with Iberico ham, hence the pig with missing legs. Traditionalists may dismiss the wine as superficial at first glance but the wines are all well-made and expressive of the grape varieties. According to Modern Wine Cellar, its importer, the wine is also available as a collection with information on the wine region and grapes on the packaging. Retailed at under $200/bottle, this playful label to me is a perfect invitation to the young generation to explore the diversity of Spanish wine.
Jean Buscher Sleeping Beauty from Germany is an aromatic style based on Muscat. The white is blended with Gewürztraminer offering honey, floral and lychee aromas, while the red is blended with Dornfelder, an off-dry wine with pleasant red cherries flavours supported by fine tannin. Importer Schmidt Vinothek cleverly used the analogy of a perfect marriage to compare the blending in each wine. The two wines together also give the impression of a happy couple. I’m sure Jean Buscher is a hot seller for wedding banquets. Yes, the wines maybe simple but they are pleasant enough and can certainly match with typical Chinese banquet dishes.
Distributed by Royal Oak, Le Bouquet is an aromatic white wine from Boschendal in Franschhoek in South Africa. It is a blend of Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Its label is a flower that caught my friend’s attention, who was even more impressed after tasting the wine. It is charming with a touch of sweet finish that would go well with the equally aromatic Thai cuisines. I like The Rose Garden, a rosé bursted with red fruits with a hint of spices, perfect to drink on its own or with deep-fried snacks.
Not all outstanding labels have to be cartoons or explicit. Simple, clean labels are as effective. Weingut JbN from Rosalia in Austria is one of them. The winery makes serious, full-bodied and complex wines using dried Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and Cabernet Sauvignon in Amarone style under the names Rosolo and Rosalito; and the minimalist label conveyed the sophistication. It is perfect as after-dinner wine, or pair with the heavy, often slightly sweet Shanghainese dishes. The wines are available in Hong Kong and they are looking for retail partners.
This reminded me of Finca Piedras Andinas, an Argentine Malbec with a modern graphic label that stands out in the crowd. Almost by coincident, I visited the Asia Wine & Spirits Awards tasting area where its award-winning wines were being poured. I was browsing at the hundreds of wine on the shelves behind the counter and the wine that jumped out was none other than this Finca Piedras Andinas, imported by wine'n'things. It is a full-bodied wine yet elegant with freshly fruits supported by lively acidity. The label certainly speaks for the wine.
We always hear consumers saying that they find wine intimidating and have no idea how to select them. Label is the first visual contact point but a lot of wineries ignore this powerful marketing tool. There are numerous researches showing that wine labels do affect the chances of the wine being picked from the shelves so I do hope wineries can spend more thoughts on the labels. Obviously an attractive label must be supported by quality otherwise it can only sell once but nevertheless, an effective label does help make the first sales.
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