Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pulling cork: 373

     An admission - I sometimes drink labels. Like this one with a world-class grasshopper (I didn't see the ant at first, up there in the upper righthand corner). It's an arresting image for a wine label, and a bit dissonant.  What could the message be?
     The winery's Cane & Fable, of Paso Robles, which sounds fabulous in its own right. The tasting notes on the back label are worth quoting if only for sheer invention: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon greets you with scents of lush blue fruit and memories of your grandfather's briarwood pipe. As the flavor begins to march across your palate it leaves behind hints of sweet plums, warm cedar planks and freshly ground spices. Every little sip leaves you comfortable, content and just feelin' lucky."
    We've clearly crossed into fantasy here, which is fine. No reason why a label shouldn't inspire and divert us, as wine does. 373 is supposedly the number of a relevant fable from Aesop, the ancient Greek fabulist, and so I looked it up. Like much of Aesop it has a dark side: the grasshopper plays all summer and dies with the arrival of winter, whereas the industrious ant labors ceaselessly and survives underground.
     To push the metaphor, the ant's a better symbol for the winemaker and his product than a grasshopper, but a wine label with a big ant on it would be a challenge for any consumer. So what about wine itself? I didn't find that blue fruit on the nose, but there was the barest hint of tobacco. The assault's a little lush for me, but the 15% alcohol lacks offensive heat and the taste is pleasant, though there's not much finish. I expect one in a $20 wine.
     Impressive labels tend to be be more memorable than the wine. However, they still look good after the bottle's finished, and I was glad for the excuse to follow the grasshopper's lead into the deep literary past.

1 comment:

  1. Hint of Tobacco? I didn't get these words? High of 15% alcohol do not fall abruptly, there must be some related ingredient in it!