A Wine by Any Other Name

26 May

You say bitch like it’s a bad thing.

 Who you callin’ a fat bastard?

Well, I say Bitch like it’s a good wine. And if you must ask, I am calling a bottle of wine a Fat Bastard. Okay, maybe not me personally, but someone named a wine Fat Bastard. This evening finds me wiped out from a day of meeting deadlines, paying bills, and still happy as a churro in cinnamon that the world didn’t end on Saturday.

Which brings me to last Saturday’s reverie of Wines from Tastings Past (hence the empty bottle of Bitch you see pictured here), which in turn led me to ponder how quirky wines got their names.

Now yours truly has been called a lot of things, mostly good and never fat. But I have been called quirky, which I took as a compliment. So this evening, it’s my supreme pleasure to introduce you to my top three quirky wine names. Granted, some of these are no longer around, but my point is to expound upon the clever wordplay and titillating turns of phrase. (El Swear Word Alert: Cuidado, friends. Lisuras ahead).

1. 2004 R Wines Bitch Barossa Grenache, Australia

Yeah, so you’ve probably already heard of this one. But have you tried it? Easily one of the best Barossas I’ve ever had, it was introduced to me at a wine and cheese pairing in Beverly Hills, where the winemaker told us that it got its name not from some spicy, sassy Aussie señorita, but because the wine was, simply stated, a bitch to make. The winemakers were so frustrated that the back label, where you will see the word ‘bitch’ about 80 times, sums up their winemaking experience. Clever marketing gimmick? Quizás. Fan-tabulous wine? ¡Absolutamente!

2. 2009 Falesco Est! Est! Est!, Italy

Here’s one for you history buffs. We have a 12th century German bishop who was a bit of a diva to thank for this name. Forced to go to Rome for a coronation (pobrecito), he sent his manservant ahead to scout out the taverns and inns that served the best wine. The devoted servant was to mark the door of each tavern that passed muster with the word, “Est,” shorthand for “Vinum est bonum,” or “the wine is good.” Legend has it that when the diligent servant made it to the town of Montefiascone, he was so enamored of the wine that he scrawled, “Est! Est! Est!” on the tavern door. Anyone know where I can find a like-minded manservant?

3. 2008 PharaohMoans Syrah, Paso Robles

I think we know each other well enough by now that I can let down and reveal my inner seventh-grader, the one whose puerile antics I try to keep to keep under wraps but am powerless to suppress during times of great solemnity, eg. board meetings, new blog posts, and meeting the suegros. The real question remains, What makes the pharaoh moan? Is it the indignation of being confined to a bottle? The retail price of $100? The clever hormonal pun?  As a public relations veteran, I would say it’s the fact that nowhere on the winemaker’s beautifully executed website or in the well-written press materials is there any trace of irony or acknowledgement with respect to the name, nor any explanation, serious or not, as to how this cheeky moniker came to be. Kidding aside, check out the reviews – this is one that’s going on my Must-Try List.

And now I bid thee buenas noches. Señorita Vino must retire to her bedchambers, but not before asking you to share the most bizarre, raucously funny, inappropriate or creepy wine name you’ve ever heard.

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