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My Week in Wine Labels

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I’ve been experimenting lately, taking photos of pieces of wine labels with my macro lens.  It’s great 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.

I’ll try to say something cogent about each of the wines, mostly focusing on the label, without indulging in too much “redolent of wild juniper berries with a spine of frankincense” nonsense.  😉

Clockwise, from top right:

Tendil & Lombardy Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne NV ⭐⭐⭐/87
Sometimes, you just need to open a bottle of Champagne on a Wednesday.  I love the simplicity and texture of this label.  You can’t go wrong with black and gold.  Reminds me of a little black dress with a delicate gold necklace.  And the Champagne’s really good, too.  Think toast with mineral jam (mmmm . . . crushed rocks on toast), and a grapefruit juice chaser.

Herman Story Smash City Pinot Noir 2012 ⭐⭐⭐⭐/91
There’s a monster truck with red flames on the label.  And there should be a monster truck with red flames on the label.  This is not a dainty Pinot.  It’s loud, and a little bit dirty.  I had a bottle right when it came out, and I’ll admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan.  It was just too . . . much. So, I put my other two bottles to rest in my cellar (aka, the cupboard under my basement stairs).  A year later and . . . Wowza!!  I can’t believe I only have one more bottle of this stuff. I’m gonna let it hang out in my cellar for another year.  And go beg Russell (the winemaker) for more.  Postcript:  the more I look at this photo, the more I’m digging the texture of the paper on the label.

Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 ⭐⭐⭐/86
I first tasted this wine at a Carpe Vinum wine club tasting four years ago (before I started writing this blog).  I was impressed enough then to buy another bottle and hold onto it for a few more years.  We decided to pop it open to celebrate the end of summer (well, the end of our summer, anyway — the kids go back to school here tomorrow).  The golden bird on the label is a phoenix, or firebird.  It symbolizes the birth of Thelema Vineyards, out of the ruins of an old fruit farm in Stellenbosch, South Africa.  Under the macro lens, it looks as though someone has painstakingly and perfectly dripped gold-leaf onto the label.  The wine wasn’t as good last night as I remembered it (the balance seemed a little off), but still a lovely way to close out summer.

Loring Parmelee Hill Chardonnay 2011 ⭐⭐⭐/88
Loring always showcases their vineyards in beautiful black & white photos on their wine labels. It’s a great way to visually connect with where the wine truly lives.  If there was a personal ad for this wine, it would say, “Must love oak”.  I once heard someone describe the use of oak like this:  “Oak is a spice, not a sauce.”  Right?!?  And the oak in this Chardonnay is definitely spice, not sauce.  But if you’re Team Stainless, this probably won’t be your thing.  I found quite a few tartrate crystals hanging out at the bottom of my bottle.  They don’t bother me, though. Interesting note, this was even better on day two.

I had a lot of fun putting these photos together.  It’s a great way for me to practice macro photography, and learn a little bit more about the wines, outside of simply popping and pouring.


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