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Whimsical Wines


Irreverent names for quality vintages

Contrary to what uptight wine weenies will tell you, partaking in the fruit of the vine isn't always serious business. Sometimes it can even be fun -- and I don't mean that in an "isn't-it-marvelous-to-expound-upon-the-wine's-aromas" sort of way.

Just ask the pranksters who created wines like Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush, Fat Bastard and Scraping the Barrel. Despite the goofy names, these are quality wines made by talented winemakers.

The idea behind this irreverence, aside from generating a few laughs, is to create a name that will stick in people's minds and provide a distinctive edge in a sea of competing products. Rebel wineries like California's Bonny Doon have been doing this for years with great success. Why buy Chateau de Boring when you can buy an equally delicious wine with a funky name like Cardinal Zin?

While snobby sorts may say that wine is not a laughing matter, I believe that in this case, the joke is on them.

By any other name...

Blockheadia 2000 Sauvignon Blanc Made by the folks at California's Lorenza-Lake Winery, this is not a wine for blockheads (sorry Charlie Brown). Though it's aged and fermented in stainless steel tanks (no oak), the wine is surprisingly rich -- especially for a Sauvignon Blanc. Apple and citrus aromas, with melon flavors. $18 *** 1/2 [GA & NC Only]

Blockheadia 2000 Zinfandel This Zin is so concentrated and jammy, it might just inspire you to pour it on toast. Concentrated raspberry flavors and a luscious texture. $27 ***1/2 [GA & NC Only]

Porcupine Ridge Goats do Roam An earthy number from South Africa. This is a blend of relatively unknown grapes such as Pinotage (a South African specialty), Shiraz, Cinsaut, Grenache and a few others. Very smooth and fruity, with a great price. $9 *** 1/2

Fat Bastard 2000 Shiraz When French winemaker Thierry Boundinaud first tasted the wine he created in collaboration with UK wine merchant Guy Anderson, he reportedly remarked, "now that is a fat bastard." And so the wine was named. (Sorry to disappoint Austin Powers fans.) Earthy aromas, great balance and delicious blackberry flavors make this wine a great value. Try it with baby back, baby back, baby back ribs. $12 ****

Fat Bastard 2000 Chardonnay Featuring a plump golden hippo on the label, this French Chardonnay smells and tastes like a combination of vanilla, pear and Sweet Tarts candies. Very subtle oak, medium body and quite yummy. $12 ****

Smoking Loon 2000 Viognier The label features -- you guessed it -- a duck sucking on a cigar. The guy who owns the brand, Don Sebastiani, is a cigar fanatic, and his passion obviously spreads over to his profession. His Viognier is fragrant, silky and delicious. $10 ****

Vinum Cellars 2000 CNW Cuvee White Table Wine Folks who love to hate Chardonnay will appreciate the "CNW" part of this Chenin Blanc's name: it stands for "Chard No Way." The front label shows two guys at the side of a road holding up a sign that reads, "Will Work for Chenin." The bottle's back label text explains that the wine was "barrel fermented in French oak, and aged for six months, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah." You just have to love that; not to mention the wine inside the bottle. Pleasant tropical fruit aromas, along with tasty pear and vanilla flavors. Nicely balanced and not too oaky. $10 ****

Comments? Questions? Great wine experience to share? Talk to us! We'll feature your comments in our Mailbag. E-mail, mail to Corkscrew, 1310 E. Ninth Ave., Tampa, FL 33605 or call 1-800-341-LOAF.

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