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Feb 9, 2008 05:23 AM

Weird Named Good Tasting Wines

My brother is a wine fanatic, for christmas I'm looking to put together a collection of strange wines that he may not other wise try, I'm looking for strange named ones, with fun labels (like Fat Bastard). So I'm looking for all of your chowhounds help, because I'm not a big wine drinking. I want fun bottled wines, but it also needs to taste good!

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  1. Barrel Monkey Shiraz by Redheads Studio. A great Australian red wine. Go to their website... they have an interesting history. The label is cool too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lynnlato

      Wow, you are REALLY planning ahead for Christmas!

      For reds I like Stump Jump (Australia) and Goats Do Roam (South Africa) or Red Truck (California). Those are all around $10 (I can't remember which Goats Do Roam it was I tried...there are several). I have also tried several of the Menage a Trois reds, those were decent. I used to like Seven Deadly Zins but lately it hasn't tasted as good, I don't know if the last few vintages have gone downhill or if my tastes have just evolved... Mollydooker from Australia makes a couple of really red good wines with silly names, The Boxer and Two Left Feet. Those are more around $20-$25. Before any wine snobs lecture me, I did not taste any of these wines on the basis of their silly name alone :)

      1. re: jcoz23

        I love that Mollydooker Two Left Feet. That is a terrific bottle.

    2. Here are a few to look for:

      Big Ass Cab, Chard, or Zin
      Big Yellow Cab
      Zig Zag Zin
      7 Deadly Zins
      Menage a Trois
      Marilyn Merlot
      Cardinal ZIn
      Tumbling Tractor
      Stump Jump

      1. Book, in my experiences, I've found wineries that use gimmicky labels/names don't produce very good wine. A cute label/name is well and good, but there's a pretty good chance that your "wine fanatic" brother will hate what's inside the bottle. The wine isn't good enough to rely on word of mouth or stand on its own, so they plop a fuzzy something or other on the label.

        This probably isn't a hard and fast, 100% rule, but I've never had a gimmicky bottle with good stuff inside, and I've unfortunately tried many. Thanks, Mom!

        6 Replies
        1. re: invinotheresverde

          I had an Australian shiraz the other week called "The Father-in-Law." Normally I would have avoided it because of the goofy-name-poor-wine wisdom noted above, but it was actually quite good. I have the sense that Australians are more likely to go for silly/catchy names for good wine than other folks.

          1. re: Meann

            Monkey Barrel shiraz by Redheads is an amazing shiraz. Interesting point about Aussies - you might be on to something.

            But yeah, generally the cheesy names yield icky wine.

          2. re: invinotheresverde

            "I've found wineries that use gimmicky labels/names don't produce very good wine. A cute label/name is well and good, but there's a pretty good chance that your "wine fanatic" brother will hate what's inside the bottle."

            Totally agree. Exactly my impression when tasting wines with gimmicky names.
            Be careful pursuing this strategy for buying wines for a wine fanatic. You really risk the wines being a "white elephant" gift -- the thought is appreciated but the gift isn't enjoyed. How about pursuing delicious but unknown wines or unknown varietals you brother may not have heard of or tried? That might be a strategy that is met with greater appreciation by your brother. Idea starters here:

            1. re: maria lorraine

              I know the rule of thumb about wines with cute names... But just out of curiousity... Are there ANY wines that you enjoy that have fun names? I don't buy wines based on the cuteness of the name or label, but I still have come across many that I think are decent that fall into this category. True, I think I probably have lower standards than most since my average amount spent on a bottle of wine is probably $12... But there are so many Aussie wines out there with unusual names, I would think a few would good by anyone's standards. Just wondering...

              1. re: jcoz23

                [scratching my head trying to think of some]

                Well, I love Lightning Strike by Nickel & Nickel, but it's so named because the wine was a happy accident -- the result of an accidental blending of Cabernet and Syrah that turned out to be serendipitous. I like names like Rock Cairn (by several wineries) and Earthquake and other names of that ilk, but I don't consider them gimmicky. I always consider a gimmicky name as trying to appeal to young or uneducated wine drinkers, or trendy wine drinkers, and gosh, I guess I'm neither. But if I think of a gimmicky wine that passes the taste test, I'll let you know. [still scratching my head]

                1. re: jcoz23

                  Opitz One, a Zweigelt straw wine made by Willi Opitz.

                  Vous en voulez ? En voilà. ("You want some? Here it is.", an easy-drinking vin de pays des Côtes de Brian made by Domaine de Gravillas in Minervois)

                  The label of Frog's Leap's Late Leap, Le Baiser Magique ("the magic kiss") was a delicious parody of the Château d'Yquem label and the cork had "grribbit" printed on it. Unfortunately, there was nothing delicious about the wine.

            2. Toasted Head chardonnay is good and usually well priced.

              1. Goats Do Roam red. Really enjoyed this one. Not pricey.

                Can't recall if i've tried this one but "Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush"
                or "Woop Woop Verdelho"

                2 Replies
                1. re: im_nomad

                  I had some "Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush" last year, and liked it a lot. I might have been favorably swayed by the name (I love silly names), but I thought it was quite tasty.

                  I also really like the Goats du Roam wines, but I'm not sure if the name is silly enough (ya gotta know about the reference to "Cotes du Rhone", which is a stretch).

                  I agree with other posters that you have to be REALLY careful with cutesy names. Many are mediocre-to-terrible.


                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                    Hopefully a "wine fanatic" as described by OP will get the Goats du Roam / Cotes du Rhone pun. Just as s/he would get that "cat pee" and "gooseberry" are classic descriptors for Sauvignon Blanc.

                    BTW, the same South African producer that makes Goats do Roam also makes a Goat Roti and a Bored Doe. [ba-dum-dum]. I've had the first two and they're reasonably good wines.