Choosing A Wine Based On The Name

Mo Wine Please

 What’s In A Name?

Do you ever choose a wine just because of the name?

Maybe it’s something amusing like Fat Bastard or Mommy’s Time Out. Perhaps it’s a funny take on the name of a varietal like Pinot Evil or Marilyn Merlot.

Peter has dreams of owning a winery in Italy. He would produce only Barbera wine and call the winery Hanna. Get it? Hanna Barbera? This is definitely a pun that will play better to the older crowd…

He was crushed (no pun intended there) to discover that his other hilarious idea was taken: Dirty Laundry Winery has already nabbed the name “Kay Syrah”.

Silver Oak Cellars

Sometimes we select a wine to serve because we know the particular winery is meaningful to our guests. We always like to have a bottle of Silver Oak on hand when certain special pals are over because we know it is their very favorite.

Last weekend we were at Notre Dame with our college posse. Peter brought a couple of bottles of wine he had picked up on our trip to Oregon in June specifically to share with this group.  The wines were from Brick House Vineyards.

Thirty four years ago, or so, we were all hanging out at Senior Bar on campus when the Commodores 1977 hit “Brick House” came on the juke box. Arthur grabbed the hand of the nearest gal, who happened to be Elizabeth, and they danced the hell out of the song. It was a an epic performance that is legendary among our group, still.  Peter purchased the Brick House Chardonnay and the Brick House Gamay Noir to celebrate that fabulous dance and the friendships that have enriched our lives.

Wineries often get creative and put great care into the names of their wines, referencing some aspect of the winemaker’s personal life.

I was immediately drawn to Wallis Estate’s “Little Sister” as a great wine to give to our daughter, Annie.  I’m not sure if the wine is named after the winery owners’ second daughter or if it is meant to be the “little sister” to their signature Cabernet but either way, after I tasted the wine I was drawn to stock up on some for myself, too!

The Farm Winery The Big Game

Stanford University graduates might be drawn to The Farm’s wines “The Cardinal” and “The Big Game” named by the winery owners as an homage to their days at business school where they met.

But the grand-daddy of all wine name tales is that of the Owen Roe Sinister Hand red wine. As the story goes, in the 17th century, Owen Roe’s ancestors, the O’Neills and another Irish family, the O’Reillys entered into a rowing competition to see which clan would gain ownership of some very important land. They agreed that whichever team touched land first would win. The O’Neill’s boat was lagging a bit behind so one of the rowers in the boat took a sword, lopped off his hand, and threw it to shore. Since his hand “touched” land first, the O’Neills won the title to rule the land which remains in the family today.

How’s that for a story?!

The story, along with great reviews, convinced Peter to serve Sinister Hand at our wine tasting party a few years ago. It was a big hit.

Are there any wines that you have chosen simply based on the name? Did they turn out to be a pleasant surprise or a one amusement and done?

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