Don’t be seduced by superficialities!


Cardinal Zin – A wine I would have bought in two seconds in my university wine-drinking days!

When I was in university, I bought wine based on the label and the name. I was a sucker for different names, like Arrogant Frog or Naked Grape. I’m sure I bought wine called Rotting Grapes, or something like that. (I googled it, but I don’t think that winery is still around… maybe for good reason!) If I liked the picture on the label, I’d buy it. If I found the name of the winery to be witty or strange, I’d buy it. I didn’t have the faintest clue what I was doing.

I still am tempted by labels and clever names. But I am more discerning, and ready to become even more discerning yet. I want to know why I like the taste of one wine and dislike the taste of another – if for no other reason than to be able to go into the liquor store and intelligently choose a wine that is likely to be something I will enjoy.

So I’ve finally learned: don’t be seduced by the beautiful artwork or a snazzy name.  But do check the label on the back of the bottle! As Bonnie has mentioned, check the label of the wine to see what the makers have to say about it. Sometimes the labels are less than helpful, but often there are clues in the description that will help you decide whether the odds are in favour of you liking that particular product.

The label will often talk about what flavours you’re supposed to be able to taste in the wine. I often struggle to pick them out, but I think that it’s fair to say that if you hate grapefruit and the label says that the wine “has hints” of it, you might not enjoy that particular wine. The label will often say that a wine goes well with certain foods; if it is recommended that you drink the wine with a strong flavoured food (like a curry or blue cheese), it’s probably quite a strong-tasting wine and may overwhelm a gentle palate. If you can have it with pasta or seafood, it probably has a more delicate taste.

So don’t discount the label – it can be helpful. Just don’t rely on aesthetics alone; look beyond the pretty picture and clever name, and find out more about your choice!



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jocellyn
    Nov 06, 2013 @ 19:57:53

    Good advice. I find that anything that has “cupcake” “cake” “layered-cake”, etc, etc, on it is usually a let down. Like I’m not a huge fan of “Cupcake” the brand, thought I do like their prosecco and riesling, which are sweeter anyway. But yes. Pinot Noir with a double chocolate fudge cake on the cover? Passing it on, despite my love for Pinot.



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