WBW 16: Wine Labels

Two years ago my (only) two criteria on choosing a wine were: red and a nice label. Thank God I moved on from that. Still I can’t say no to a nice label (very girly, I know!).

Be it wine tastings, be it wine courses I have this irresistible attraction to nice labels. Depending on the mood I go for the modern approach (the graphic, minimalist style) or alternatively, you will see me looking for tradition – in capital letters.

I do love wine, and in Belgium we are spoiled with good wine from around the world. Plus hey, France is just an hour away so there is always rescue. What makes life even better is that you can find decent to very good wine at affordable prices. And then there are always the wine tastings where you get the chance to try the wine starting at 70euro a bottle.

Still I am new to the wine world so I love discovering what other people ‘taste’ about wine, and I do follow the golden rule: when I like a wine, I write it down and try to find it back. Thus, I have been reading for a while on wine blogs and accounts on the Wine Blogging Wednesdays. And this time around, here I am, trying my luck both with the wine (labels) and the wine tasting.

For this December Wednesday I chose three wines, all part of the personal collection. As I didn’t have time to go and look for a label-wine in the whop, I had to make do with the ones in the house. Two of them bought while at the Romanian wines tasting, the other one while in Portugal.

Wine (label) number 1:
One of the best wine tastings I have been to this year was on Romanian wines. We got the chance to try over 50 different wines, and discover new appellations and types of wine. One of these wines is Prince Mircea. And luckily for this WBW, the label is pretty interesting too.Name : Prince Mircea, Appelation Vanju Mare Contrôlée, Merlot Granriserva, style Terase Danubiene, 1999
Details : 100% Merlot, 14% alcohol, aged 6 months in oak and 12 months in the bottle
Description: very intense dark red color, a powerful aroma with hints of vanilla and cacao, strong notes of berries and prunes. An overall earthy smell with hints of leather and forest.
Taste: well balanced wine, with long after taste, still tannic, ages well

In a couple of words this is my (first!) attempt to describe a wine in a more ‘professional’ way. My personal take on Prince Mircea, without trying too sound so sommelier, is that it is a very well balanced and beautiful wine. I like the hints of berries, I like the rich aroma and I love the color. There is some tannin to the wine, which makes it taste quite young. But combined with food (it goes amazingly well with game and red meat!) I found the wine lost its tannic aftertaste.

And just look at the label. To me it tells stories of knights and tormented princesses, of shining amours and golden crowns, in the dark forests of Transylvania.

Wine (label) number 2:
Changing countries, one of the best trips this year has been to Lisbon. It was hot, sunny, summer. Wonderful. Good food and good wine. At the same time the Portuguese tourism authorities were exhibiting and promoting not so known wine regions of Portugal, all accompanied by a very elaborate (and long) wine tasting session. This is where we discovered new wines from the Dao, Douro and the Alentejo region. One of these wines was the Painel Reserva 2000.

Name: Painel Colheita 2000, Dao, 2000
Details: Dao region wine, 13% alcohol
Description: rich dark ruby colour, powerful aroma with hints of forest and pepper
Taste: full bodied, rich and balanced, quite tannic, best served in a decanter, ages well

Here it is. My second appreciation of a wine. I do like Portuguese wines, but they are a totally different story than the rest of European reds. I find the Painel to be quite tannic, with a slight bitter pepper taste. Best probably to be aged for another couple of years.

But the wine does fit the WBW main requirement, as the label was the first thing that attracted me to try this wine out. It is the first time I see a religious motif combined with alcohol. And you have to see the irony in that! In no way do I want to get into deep philosophical discussion (it is a wine blog after all) but I found the label quite striking. It is a beautiful reproduction, almost a collection item. And it does offer the wine certain dominance, yet unnatural look, on the wine rack.

And that’ it for today. Looking forward to read/see the other labels, and if ever you come across these wines, let me know what you think.

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