Labelled with love by @BistroWineMan Stephen Barrett

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Of late I have been tasting many wines from throughout the world. As I write I am off to another tasting in London with a probability of around 120 wines to taste. This spurned me to think a little outside the box and look at current trend in wine and how they are presented on the shelves. Tradition is and always will be with us so wine labelling would always follow that.

The classic heraldic orientated wine labels of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Germany and Spain are something we are familiar with especially with the finer wines they elaborate. It is probably inconceivable that the great wines of the regions will ever change as they set the standard of presentation many years before. But with the wine market changing at a rate of knots the newer perhaps brighter labels are now out there vying for your attention. So the obviously “out there” labels have become the new kids on the block just like their contemporaries of previous centuries.

The first real change in wine labels in the 1970’s came via George Duboeuf the great wine impresario from Beaujolais. Overnight he created the “flower label” and plonked it on all of his young Beaujolais’ it was an instant success with first the restaurant trade and latterly the high street chains. Placed in the centre of the aisle they were unmissable to the eye therefore a quick swipe off the shelves saw these wines into the trolley before you could whip the cork out of the bottle!

He then applied it as a screen print to his emonymous Beaujolais Nouveau the young wine of the vintage released each third Thursday in November for instant satisfaction!

As I see it these eye catching colourful labels also have another role to entice the potential customer to experiment and taste something different! Take the two current high street favourites Malbec for the reds and Pinot Grigio for the whites. With the more colourful the label the better chance Malbec and Pinot Grigio have ending up on your kitchen table. It also helps that they are easily pronounced!

In the past week a couple of these stylised labelled wines have landed on my tasting table showing a pair of funky Tango dancers in true Argentinian pose.

The words Malbec and Pinot Grigio are pasted on the front of the label without too much intrusion to the dancers so harmoniously fit the package. If you care to read the back label the current and legal stuff is all there. But who reads back labels when the front is all you need? Next the price. If it’s in your price bracket it pops into your trolley!

So what about these wines with fancy, dancy labels are they what you wish?

The Pinot Grigio is a fresh pear scented wine with a delicate citrus finish. A good casual light wine that is a fave with many. Malbec can come in many different guises but this one follows the light touch similar to what the Pinot Grigio has to offer.

Easy sipping with a light Cherry scent and a brambly mid palate note.

Both very sound wines and at £7 a bottle from Sainsbury’s under the Comuna labeI I am sure they will fit the bill.


Stephen Barrett is a Wine, Food and Travel writer based in Plymouth.

Stephen welcomes correspondence via his website

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