A (hopefully) continuing series on wine labels, and the wines they adorn, under the macro lens . . .
I’ve been experimenting lately, taking photos of pieces of wine labels with my macro lens. It’s a lot of fun to see the colors, and especially the textures, on a wine label that you wouldn’t ordinarily see (or maybe even notice). It’s almost as fun as drinking the wine. Almost. So, I thought . . . why not stitch the photos together into a collage?
Voila! My week in wine labels.
Do you recognize any of these guys??
I didn’t notice it until I was putting these pictures together for this post, but apparently, this was Family Crest Week here at Haus Armchair Sommelier!
Clockwise, from the top right:
King Family Vineyards Viognier 2013 ⭐⭐⭐/86
King Family is one of my favorite Virginia wineries. True confessions: I don’t enjoy Viognier as much as I used to (maybe I’m having a mid-life palate crisis?), especially the too hot and too tropical styles of Viognier. Happily, King Family’s Viognier is consistently good as a middle-ground between the lean, quiet styles of Viognier and the louder, more tropical styles. This photo is a close-up of the King Family crest (well, I’m not certain it’s the King Family crest, but it would be silly to put the Smith Family crest on their wine bottles) that appears on their simple, yet elegant labels. The shading reminds me of pointillism. Retail = $27ish.
It’s been a while since I’ve been down to central Virginia, but my last review of King Family can be found here.
Bodegas Bilbainas Viña Zaco Rioja 2012 ⭐⭐⭐/86
I tasted this Rioja as part of September’s #winestudio. Calling itself “The Other Side of Rioja”, Viña Zaca is stressing a shift toward modernization, both in the vineyard and at the winery. 100% Tempranillo. Tasted more New World than Old to me, though the the longer it sat in my glass, the more its OW origins showed — a bowl of cherries, sprinkled with fresh tobacco, leather, and dust. By design, this wine is meant to be consumed young (Viña Zaco doesn’t use a Crianza or Reserva designation). It’s not terribly complex or thought provoking, but I suspect that’s not what they’re going for. Did I mention this wine is $10?!? Tough to squeeze more out of a wine at that price point. The label design is sleek and modern, the tilda on the N/Z reminds me of a mustache!
Domaine des Patureaux Pouilly Fumé 2014 ⭐⭐⭐⭐/92
100% Sauvignon Blanc, from the Loire Valley. And wow, I think I just found my Sauvignon Blanc wheelhouse — I really need to be drinking more Pouilly Fumé. This is a super wine. Say goodbye to grass — this wine tastes nothing like lawn clippings — it’s teeming with flint and minerals and seashells. I’ve been studying the Loire Valley for my CSW exam, and I keep reading about the hallmark of Pouilly Fumé — a smoky, gunflint (pierre à fusil, literally, rifle-stone) nose. I totally get that now. Beautifully structured and balanced. I bought this on WTSO and I think I paid $18. And lucky me, I bought 3!!
Unfortunately, I found exactly zero information on the Internet about the winery or the winemaker . . . or the label. That leaves me with semi-educated guesses. The crown looks like a mural crown, which is a representation of city/town walls. And there is a town called Les Pâtureaux, in the Upper Loire Valley (just north of Bourges). The crest (beneath the crown) is wickedly similar to the coat of arms for Pouilly-sur-Loire, a town famous for Pouilly Fumé wines. But ultimately, I have no idea if I’m on the right track. We’ll just have to appreciate the crest as a mystery.
Castello Banfi SummuS 2004 ⭐⭐⭐⭐/93
SummuS (and yes, they capitalize both the first and the last S) is Latin for highest. This is a Super Tuscan blend of 40% Sangiovese, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Syrah. I got this bottle from my cousin Barry (he owns a wine bar in Omaha). Cousin Barry has yet to steer me wrong! Italian wines have always intimidated me (I’m not sure why — maybe I shouldn’t have watched The Godfather when I was 12), but when I drink a bottle of Italian wine this good?? I realize I need to be buying more Italian wines — putting them in my cellar, and ignoring them for 10+ years. Expressive, powerful, and wearing its age beautifully, this is a wine that inspires you to think (I mostly thought about needing another glass or three). Retail = $65ish.
Strike Three! I couldn’t find any information about the Banfi Family crest, either. The namesake of Banfi Wines is Teodolinda Banfi, who was the head of household for Pope Pious XI. The crown on the top of the crest looks like a count’s crown (Il Conte). Maybe if you shake the Banfi family tree, a count falls out? 😉 Again, who knows if on the right track. But as far as crests go, this one’s a keeper! I have no clue what my own family crest looks like, but I hope there’s a chalice and an eagle on it!
My Wine of the Week: The SummuS wins. Because, damn.