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At Last, A Taxonomy of Wine Labels

Research has shown that most people choose the wine they buy based on the label. People who take wine seriously think that’s about the most ignorant, backward thing a wine buyer can do. New York writer Matthew Latkiewicz isn’t so sure:

Unless you have an extensive knowledge of regions and grapes, the wine you choose is simply not going to matter all that much. What’s the worst that can happen? Unless it literally tastes like those sweat socks that wine people insist on using as a flavor comparison, you still end up with a bottle of wine you can drink. And last time I checked, a bottle of wine will get you nicely buzzed with your friends over the course of an evening no matter what you choose. So why not choose based on the label?

To facilitate label-based decisions, Latkiewicz (whose name means, I think, “son of a potato pancake”) has categorized wines based on labels, and believes that you can tell a lot about the wine inside by the way it’s dressed up.

Which brings me to Essentia Vitae, a wine marketed to women that is packaged to look like perfume. According to Latkiewicz’s taxonomy, the scented Essentia Vitae wines would fit squarely in the “Eurotrash A-Hole” category:

A rare sighting, the A-Hole label is usually more than a label. Often, the whole bottle is some unique shape. Look! I’m a wine bottle in the shape of a shampoo bottle! Deal with it!

Essentia Vitae comes in three different aromas. Seriously.

No 4 Ruche is jasmine-scented, No 6 Malvasia smells like rose and No 8 Moscato smells like violet.

I wonder if anyone considered the liability exposure if one of their customers accidentally drinks a bottle of perfume instead of, say, the Violet-scented Moscato?


One Comment

  • Wally

    Some out of town customers just reminded me that reading the Wine Spectator is truly sipping at the pierian spring of wine knowledge. It only offers them enough to go from being thirsty for knowledge to being sate on the bounty of their own ignorance.
    For them the perfect wine label would have only the score, in big letters. This, I think is what your friends at 90+ Wines are trying to do.