Fat B*****d, Gnarly Head, and The Wolf Trap — there is no dearth of funny wine names
ecently discussing Karnataka’s Myra Wines latest offering, a wine most unusually named Misfit, a thought struck me. Must wine, which is often viewed as being so elegant, fancy and mysterious, be named accordingly? Or does the quaint and whimsical work better to draw curious customers and increase sales?
For every label boasting of pictures of elegant chateaus and famous domaines etched in antique-styled fonts, are an equal bunch of clever, irreverent ones. Unpretentious wines, with bright labels and crazy, often rude monikers, some too rude to even be referred to here. I started making a note of these some years ago after a discussion in the wine club about a French wine called Fat Bastard. I’m not even sure we can print that name!
And that’s not all. Since then I have found plenty of funky wine names abound. Take, for instance, Mad Housewife wine (“what’s domestic bliss without a little wine?”), possibly made to appeal to beleaguered hausfraus; while Fourplay, a wine from Sicily and the Californian Ménage á Trois might inspire 50 shades of wine fun. The label of Plungerhead wine from the US, featuring a lugubrious man with a plunger on his head (“made with character for characters”) might be laugh-inducing, but what’s it like to drink? Though I’m quite sure Stark Raving Malbec, an Argentinian wine, would appeal to those driving regularly through Bangalore traffic.
Cardinal Zin is a popular US wine brand made of Zinfandel grapes and not named after a chapter from a holy book. And Old Fart might bring on the giggles (“Be bold, go for gold”). But would you really like to add bottles of Horse’s Ass or Eye of the Toad to your wine wish list, except as a talking point? And I find the idea of Running with Scissors wine vaguely disquieting; it brings to mind dysfunctional families rather than a lush Merlot.
Have said that, the South African wine Goats do Roam, with its deliberately pithy name is a popular wine of good quality by a noted South African winery, Fairview. It’s been described as a “cheeky riposte” on the famed French Côtes du Rhône region. Another South African label, Goat Roti, is named for the Northern Rhone region, Côte-Rôtie, and Bored Doe for – well, Bordeaux. But I have to admit that my all-time favourite ‘odd’ wine name is Cat’s Pee on a Gooseberry Bush – yes, you read right! – a reference to wine critic Oz Clarke’s evocative description of New Zealand’s famed Sauvignon Blanc wines. Can’t wait to get my
hands on a bottle.