Designer labels

Hiring an artist to design a wine label is nothing new.  Mouton Rothschild has been featuring the work of artists on their labels since 1945 and some impressive ones at that: Chagall, Miró, Kandinsky, Picasso and the list goes on.  Grateful Palate Imports has a notable line-up of Australian and Californian wines, most with eye-catching labels and some with distinctive names like “Evil” or “Bitch”.  They purposely hire artists who have never designed labels before to keep their bottles looking fresh.

I’ve never been one to select a bottle of wine based on its label, no matter how sweetly the penguin, kangaroo or frog stared out at me from the shelves.  That being said, you may be surprised by my purchase over the weekend:

Ed Hardy Full Rose 2

It's not a wine, it's a lifestyle

Yes, that’s a bottle of Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier rosé – the same man we can thank for Von Dutch trucker hats.  He’s built quite an empire, endorsing everything from a Vegas nightclub to dental floss.

To be fair, the fridge at the wine store where we found ourselves was quite small and the other options were Sutter Home White Zinfandel, Relax Riesling and Barefoot Chardonnay.

Audigier hails from Avignon in the south of France and he’s currently putting out wines under both the Ed Hardy label as well as well as the Christian Audigier label (more expensive with even more audacious labels).  Both lines are bottled in France, yet have different distributors in the U.S.  They’re available at places like Whole Foods, Costco and at some random wineshop in the Catskills area of NY.

This wine was not bad – inexpensive ($10.99) and a thirst-quencher, with notes of red berries and plenty of watermelon.  We had the 2008 vintage from the Vin de Pays d’Oc – vin de pays is French for country wine, a step up from table wine.  There are 6 of these regional vin de pays and the Vin de Pays d’Oc is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon area in Mediterranean France and produces the most wine at this quality level.  I couldn’t find the exact blend, but my best guess is some combination of Grenache and Syrah.   Despite the label,  it neither pierced my heart nor showed me true love.

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