Reviews & Articles
LABEL TALK. What's in a Name?Jul-2009
What's in a Name?
Truth in labelling takes on a whole new meaning when you consider some of the fascinating names gracing our top drops.
Have you ever perused a wine list and wondered where on earth some of these names come from? And while it's probably true that a few of them are the blurrily brainstormed results of long lunches, the stories behind many have even more interesting origins.
Surprisingly, a handful are even inspired by kids. Take Giant Steps' elegant cabernet blend Harry's Monster, a wine so named because its label is a very striking, hut not all that scary, creature drawn from the imagination of vigneron Phil Sexton's son Harry.
Perhaps he should meet winemaker Dean Hewitson's daughter Harriet, who also has her own wine, the Grenache-based blend Miss Harry. A popular wine with punters but controversial at home, it meant Hewitson had to create another wine known as Ned & Henry just to appease his miffed sons.
Chester Osborn at d'Arenberg is another who has turned to his kids for free marketing advice. His two young daughters adopted a pair of kookaburras and gave them the endearing, if ornithologically inaccurate, name 'laughing magpies: Osborn instantly realized they'd also inadvertently given him the perfect name for a decadent and ravishingly fun blend of black-berried shiraz and white-berried viognier - The Laughing Magpie.
But inspiration can be found in less innocent places too. Torbreck's rambunctious Dave Powell struck up a friendship with Tim Johnston, the proprietor of the cult Paris wine bar Juveniles. Powell created a grenache, shiraz and mataro blend, Cuvee Juveniles, exclusively for the wine bar. It's now available to the rest of the world and can transport you to both the Barossa Valley and the heart of Paris at the same time.
Perhaps Charlie Melton had been drinking at Juveniles when he decided to name a wine in honour of the Rhone Valley appellation Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Drawing on a very loose grasp of the French language, Melton came up with a label called Nine Popes. Much later someone pointed out the actual translation is "The Pope's New Castle" by which lime Nine Popes was already a big hit.
While Melton turned to the early days of the Catholic Church, other producers have tapped into a source even more ancient, using names from local indigenous languages. McLaren Vale's Wirra Wirra means "amongst the gum trees': Yalumba is the local aboriginal word for "all the land around", and Mt. Langi Ghiran means "the home of the black cockatoos" which are spread through central Victoria.
Gourmet Traveller Wine
Download article (JPG: 257 kB)