I am often label driven when it comes to buying wine. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know it’s true.
When I like a particular wine, the label does not affect my purchasing decision. I just buy it.
However, when I am in the market for something new, I will often gravitate towards the label I find most interesting or entertaining. I always hope the effort poured into label creation also went into crafting the wine. However, I know that does not always hold true, but one can hope right?
Since I am allergic to cats, purchasing a wine with whimsical kittens on the label is unlikely. There would be no connection.
Due to the sneezing, scratching and coughing fits I experience when a feline is present, I have never bonded with kitties.
I have no idea what it means to befriend a cat and never will.
So I’d be honest in saying I would have never bought this wine had I seen it on the shelf! Just looking at it makes the roof of my mouth itch.
2005 Vine Hill Gatos Locos Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains $29
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I attended an auction where many wines were available for bidding as well as many wineries on site pouring their newest releases.
I came upon the table of Vine Hill Winery where Vine Hill’s sales manager was pouring their wine to auction guests. He was extremely personable and we had a long conversation about the challenges of making Pinot Noir and the financial implications behind it.
He offered me a glass of the above wine (I still hadn’t seen the label) and it was exquisite. It is definitely a wine many Pinot lovers gravitate towards; fruit forward and well balanced.
What stood out most were the red fruit aromas of strawberry and raspberries. There is a slight spicy note in the background but it is really overpowered by the big berry flavors found in this wine’s profile.
I loved it. When I found this wine was available for bidding. I made sure it came home with me.
A whole case. Score!
The Santa Cruz Mountain appellation is a broad growing area marked by diverse microclimates. The eastern, more inland, side is warmer where varietals such as Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are cultivated. The cooler, western side, that is cooled by maritime influences is where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme.
If you have ever visited the Santa Cruz Mountain growing area you know how special it is. Many wineries are set on ridgelines with sweeping views of the surrounding areas. It is truly breathtaking .
The owners of Vine Hill Winery were a group of friends who started making wine in their garage, entering their wines in county fair competitions. The wine was named after their two lazy cats that hung out in the garage as they crafted their vintages.
Eventually they were able to purchase an outstanding property in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation and the rest is history.
Ultimately this reiterated the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. Because as I said, I would have never bought this wine because of the label.
I hope you can find it in your area and of course it is available at the winery.
Did anyone out there have anything inspiring to drink last night? I’d love to know.