Wine Blog Wednesday - Judge a Wine by it's Label | Catavino
Catavino keeps you current not only with the remarkable wine developments in Spain and Portugal, two of the most dynamic wine producers on the planet, but you'll learn about food trends, new dishes and restaurants and the ancient and modern cultures on the Iberian Peninsula. And you may not notice it, but Catavino also happens to be one of smoothest designed websites you'll have the pleasure of visiting.
Doug Frost MS/MW

Wine Blog Wednesday – Judge a Wine by it’s Label

Judging a wine by the label on the bottle is basically a crap shoot, but one that I often suggested to customers at my store when they seemed to not have a clue what wine to pick. My reasoning went like this:

If you don’t have someone to help you choose the wine based on what you like, and if you don’t have the knowledge to make an informed choice yourself, then what do you have to lose. Additionally, a well-designed label may mean that the wine maker takes pride in all he does, or at the very least you’ll have a cool label to look at while you drink the so-so wine.

For this weeks Wine Blog Wednesday, Derrick of An Obsession With Food wanted us to pick a wine solely based on it’s label. Because fashion and image are an integral part of the culture here in Spain, finding a well-designed Spanish wine label was quite easy. What followed was just deciding which we felt most intrigued by.

Clos dels Codols

Ryan’s thoughts: I personally have always had an obsession with rocks. When I visit vineyards the first thing I do is grab a couple of stones I find sitting alongside the vines. When I taste wine I’m always looking to find a reference to the earth. I feel more connected to the wine if I can touch the stones that surrounded the vine it came from. For that reason I found this label interesting. The smooth stones, for me, have a magic that I can’t explain.
Gabriella’s thoughts: I am not so different from my husband, Ryan. If I cannot connect the air, water, earth, etc with that for which I consume, what’s the point. Stones provide us with infinite amounts of information regarding both the grapes development and it’s potential flavor. The label not only is different and unique, along with being quite sleek, but offers that great “granola” feeling that I so enjoy seeking out.


Ryan’s thoughts: My flatmate grabbed this bottle and I have to say I agree on the esthetic appeal. Clean, sharp, and a bit mysterious. I really like the simplicity of the statement, “what you hold comes from grapes.” The photo doesn’t show it well but each circle is cut out of the paper label giving it a texture too – making you want to run your fingers over it. Simple is better, sometimes!
Gabriella’s thoughts: Absolutely love this label. Hands down, one of my favorite designs ever. Why? Simplicity. I am not a huge fan of clutter or chaos. A label that gives the bare necessity of information like a woman in a thin black silky dress without completely revealing what’s underneath, allows you to quickly retreive the basics, while enjoying the process of discovering what’s inside. Fantastic wine and design!

And now our tasting notes. Hope they reflect the labels they come from!

Till soon, Ryan and Gabriella

Ryan’s Notes:

Deep ruby purple quite dense. Raspberry nose that is intense with anise, smoke, and wood. Very rich and earthy. Firm but mature tannins and a strong acidity in the mouth. Overall a softer mouth feel with rich raspberry fruit, light oak, some pepper, some barnyard like earthiness and a streak of mineral and earth. Mature and a wine that I would put with roast meats. Really a tasty little treat. Follow up, the next day after the half full bottle had time to rest only with the cork in it, the wine really opened up. Secondary flavors developed and more subtle complexities revealed themselves. I would set this bottle down for 2-3 more years to see what happens.

4 grape


  • 2002 Celler del Roure Valencia Maduresa – Spain, Valencia (12/7/2005)
    Inky dense purple almost opaque. Raspberry, cherry and dried fruit aromas with light green pepper oak and earth. Firm tannins though very fine and with a medium acidity. Rich overall mouth feel. Blackberry, light oak, spice, charcoal, and more. It’s really a mouthful and shows a good richness that might even improve with a few years in the cellar. The finish is a good 20-30 seconds and continues to develop.

    3.5 grape


Gabriellas Notes:

  • 2000 Clos del Codols Montsant – Spain, Catalunya, Montsant (12/7/2005)
    Intriguing and classy label with stones scattered among the center. Quite stylish. Dark purple with a brownish tinge. Inky but not cloudy. Intensely strong aroma of grape juice, earth and charcoal smoke. Strange but appealing combination of smells. Dense and smooth mouth feel with medium acidity. The flavor was exactly like the aroma for me. Intensely strong sweet grape juice, followed by equally strong mushrooms and dirt flavors. I enjoyed it but wasn’t as impressed as I was on the second day. The following day seemed to relax the tannins, bring forth more earthy flavors while toning down the sweet fruit. Great balance and thoroughly enjoyable.
  • 2002 Celler del Roure Valencia Maduresa – Spain, Valencia (12/7/2005)
    Beautiful label. White background with simple round circles cut out to create the image of a bunch of grapes. Really basic and elegant. The wine itself was incredibly enjoyable. Dark inky purple color. Clear and intense. Strong aromas of blueberry with a metallic / minerally background. Considering that a metallic aroma is something that I equate with a bad bottle, I was curious as to whether or not the flavor mimicked the nose. Fortunately, the flavor had an intense cranberry punch at first sip, followed by a light minerally and earthy flavor. Medium body and acidity. Although the finish was relatively quick, it didn’t detour my appreciation for the wine. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

wbw 16

  • Derrick Schneider

    I think the Maduresa might be my favorite of the labels I've seen so far. Sounds like you snagged some great bottles as well.

  • Derrick Schneider

    I think the Maduresa might be my favorite of the labels I’ve seen so far. Sounds like you snagged some great bottles as well.

  • Catherine Granger

    It's funny, I almost chose the clos del Codols for my own post. I found these stones on the label quite intriguing as well. Now, based on your tasting notes, I am ready to try the wine! Catherine.

  • Catherine Granger

    It’s funny, I almost chose the clos del Codols for my own post. I found these stones on the label quite intriguing as well. Now, based on your tasting notes, I am ready to try the wine!