As you know, I am fascinated not just by wine but also the labels that adorn each bottle. You might say I suffer from, or rather revel in, Label Lust. Also, who else could corral five fantastic graphic designers to critique a wine label? Answer: No one. (Duh.)
So when Clive Pursehouse, he of the Northwest Wine Anthem, approached me about guesting on this blog to talk about wine labels, I welcomed him to contribute. Take it away, Clive:
Hey folks, I’m dropping in on Wine Without Worry to talk a little bit about wine labels and a sixth sense. No, not that creepy movie starring Donnie Wahlberg, like an additional sense. Think Spiderman. Being a parent to a toddler you read a lot, and in many cases you read the same book a lot! Some of them are about cats in hats, dinosaurs that don’t bathe regularly [Gotta borrow that one. -Ed.] or in one case a sixth sense, like a real one. Synesthesia. Heard of it? I hadn’t.
Apparently it takes on different forms but the one I came to be familiar with is known as chromesthesia. I learned about it through the very technical text The Girl Who Heard Colors, a children’s book. As you may guess, it’s about a girl, named Jillian, who would see colors when she heard a particular sound. All in all it makes for great bed time reading and certainly as was the authors intent attempts to normalize this experience for young kids who might find growing up a little different, difficult. Frankly I think it’d be a pretty cool ability to have. [I can hear rosé, NBD. -Ed.]
When I received some wines from Uproot given the very interesting labeling concept, it made me think of young Jillian but, instead of hearing those colors, maybe we’re tasting them. The labels of the Uproot wines are comprised of a color palette laid out on a spectrum in an effort to illustrate which flavors/colors are dominant or in the background, etc. You could call it a palate palette. The goal of the label would be to allow customers familiar with the brand to get a sense of the winemakers’ tasting notes in a visual representation.
The labels are far from the same old same old. A narrow color palette design runs down the middle of the bottle, offering a sleek, modern look. Uproot is committed to taking a fresh approach to both the wines they’re making and the way their marketing those wines. Lots of labels try to be catchy or trendy, or “animal-y.” The Uproot wines hope instead to give you a sense of the wine that’s inside. Each vintage will obviously lay out a bit differently on the flavor/color palette but the message will be one about what’s inside.
The wines, all out of California. hope to offer a little bit for everyone: Grenache and Grenache Blanc from Santa Ynez Valley, a creamy extensively barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc and, of course, that king of California, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Uproot Cabernet is classic California done beautifully, emphasis on high toned red fruits, a dusting of cocoa powder, and great structure. And while there’s ample new oak it’s an elegant wine with balance. The Uproot Cabernet balances finesse with power and while a cool 2011 made for a challenging vintage in Napa this iteration of California Cab says that cool vintages might be just the thing. To my liking anyways. This is a serious wine with an accompanying serious price tag.
Check me out over on The Northwest Wine Anthem, where I bring you wines from the Northwest and am handsome.
Thanks, Clive. And it’s true, you are handsome. I have proof. Also, I know you have no pants on in this photo.