Crazed In the Kitchen: The Truth About Wine Labels   

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Truth About Wine Labels


Tastes like GOOD wine
So today I was reading the label on my wine bottle, which is not something I usually do because, let’s be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference between “oaky” and “elmy” (is that a thing?). I am no wine connoisseur—I mostly choose my wines based on their price and label. Trader Joe’s is great for choosing wine. There are maybe 8,000 different kinds of wine for under $10. And truth be told, I generally stick to the under-$6 vinos anyway. Why spend a bunch of money when I wouldn’t even know the difference? The other great thing about the wines at Trader Joes is that lots of them come from snappy little up-start vineyards in California that try to lure you in with their clever names and labels. Why else would I try a wine called “Pancake White?” (my absolute favorite, so far.) And recently I bought a bottle of red wine called Cocobon because its name sounded like cocoa and its label said it had hints of chocolate. Mention chocolate and I’m pretty much in, every time.

Anyway. Today I happened to read the label on my current bottle of white (chosen because it features an old-timey-looking drawing of an elephant) and I read this: “lovely aroma of ripe tropical fruit, fresh lemon and green apple which marry beautifully with rich vanilla oak spice and melon flavors. Drink with grilled chicken with a pineapple mango salsa.”

Errr…come again?

So, I sniffed the wine, really trying hard to smell any kind of fruit. Green apple? Fresh lemon? No. What I smelled was…wine. You know how wine smells? That. That is what I smelled.

Hmmm. Maybe I’m getting a cold, I thought. Maybe my allergies are acting up.

WTF is "cherry coulis???"
I reread the label and decided to taste it. I like vanilla, though I’m not entirely sure if I like “vanilla oak spice.” But it sounds good. If I found a scented candle or a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in that flavor, I’d buy it. And I like melon well enough. So, I sipped the wine. And what I tasted? Was wine. White wine, definitely, not red. But just wine. And a disappointing lack of what I call vanilla, that’s for sure.

Well, I thought, maybe it’s because I’m drinking it standing over the kitchen sink with a low-cal ice cream sandwich in my other hand. Maybe if I were drinking it with “grilled chicken with a pineapple mango salsa,” maybe THEN I’d taste the vanilla oak stuff. Maybe I should make some grilled chicken with a pineapple mango salsa for dinner tomorrow.

Then I laughed so hard at my little jokey that my husband asked if maybe I shouldn’t lay off the wine a little.

Pineapple mango salsa??? If I want a good pineapple mango salsa, I’ll go where god or nature intended me to go—a RESTAURANT. 

So then I got to thinking about what wine labels should really say. What many of us are ACTUALLY eating and thinking and doing when we drink wine. Here’s what I came up with:

“Pairs beautifully with guilty-pleasure reality tv and a king-size bag of M&Ms.”

“A delightful complement to chicken nuggets with a ketchup/mayonnaise dipping sauce.”

“Enjoy while gorging on an embarrassing number of Girl Scout Cookies while wallowing in your latest round of parental guilt.”

“A fine accompaniment to eating your weight in ice cream and crying over your recently deceased cat.”

“Drink with Triscuits and Facebook.”

Of course, I’m just spitballing here, it’s not like I’ve done any of these things…really, I swear.

So, what’s your favorite wine?


There's nothing like a little validation to make a blogger feel all warm and fuzzy inside--this post was syndicated on BlogHer!
Syndicated on BlogHer.com

21 comments:

  1. Ha ha, I too choose my wines based on price. As a matter of fact, in my experience the cheaper the wine the more I like it! Oh, and my favorite: “Pairs beautifully with guilty-pleasure reality tv and a king-size bag of M&Ms.” Loved this post! :)

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    1. Thank you! If it weren't for wine, I don't think I would enjoy "The Bachelor/Bachelorette" nearly as much as I do! And I just feel guilty drinking expensive wine (the 3 or 4 times that I have done that) because it seems like such a waste!

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  2. A lot of people share your Trader Joe's wine view. I'm not much of a wine drinker any more. Labels are intended to trick you into liking their product. Many times the advertisers go WAY overboard. Love you view on food and am voting for you in Circle of Moms as soon as I finish this comment.

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    1. I agree that many advertisers go way overboard, but I guess it works and they DO trick me into liking (or at least buying) their wine! Thanks for your vote!

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  3. Me, too, I'm not really a wine drinker because of the culture I was raised in. I love this post though! These sort of labels are not only found in wines, but in other products as well.

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  4. Oh I am a total wine lover and I think the labels are hilarious. Especially the ones from vineyards in the US. Love the Paris beautifully...... awesome imagery!

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    1. Thank you! The funny/cool labels get me every time!

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  5. Voted! I live in so Cal. but really don't write much about it. The weather has been hot lately, so I am perplexed at my husband's insistence that this is the best weather in the US. lol

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    1. Yep, this hot weather is not so great. But I was in the midwest last month and it was over 90 and humid every day! I can't believe I grew up in that--how did I survive?

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  6. I'm a sucker for wine labels. I buy that Cupcake brand just because it says cupcake, and honestly it's not that good. My parents are wine conissuiers so they have tried to teach me the whole swirl, smell, spit method. Really that is just a waste Iof wine. But they have turned me on to some good vino that has forever ruined my palette. And when I say ruined, I mean it ain't cheap. Okay, going to vote.

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    1. Cari--I have almost bought that Cupcake brand so many times just because it's called Cupcake! I'm glad I still don't know the difference between Good wine and regular wine. I'm quite happy with my $5 bottles from Trader Joe's!

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  7. MMMM - one of my favorite things to do with my hubby is go to wine tastings. I like trying wines under $10 for their labels - but any more pricey than that I do a little more investigating.
    Funny post :)
    Leigh

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    1. Thank you! I have loved the few wine tastings I have gone to. I should try some more!

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  8. I loved this...so funny! I love Trader Joe's too, and at ours we have a guy who is on wine duty, and let's us taste everything with some cheese or chocolate. We have our little social gatherings while grocery shopping. Try "Tribunal" there...pretty good. It might be $8 or $9 though;)

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    1. I GUESS I could spend $8 or $9 if I had to...lol. I wish our Trader Joe's would do that! Of course, I'm usually there at 10 am with one or both kids, so maybe it wouldn't be such a great idea.

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  9. I think I just found my new best friend! I thought I was the only one that drank wine with all of the aforementioned accompaniaments. funny stuff girl. thanks!

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    1. Thank you! I wish I could say that I specifically paired my wine with what I was eating, but none mention microwave popcorn, so...

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  10. My wine policy is sorta cheap and sweet with whatever leftovers I'm having for dinner. Thank you for your comment on my guest post (Leigh's blog)

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  11. I chose my wines based on the label. If it's cute and cheap, I love it. BTW, I'm going to a vineyard near my home in Chicago because on the news they said that vineyards in the Midwest are having their best year yet. The drought has made the grapes really tasty I guess.

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