July 18, 2009

Don’t Judge A Bottle By Its Label

By Andrew Barrow In Wine Notes

donnafugata polena 2008This ‘ere bottle of white was brought for one reason only; it wasn’t because the wine was produced in ‘region of the moment’ Sicily, nor was it due to the ‘interesting blend’ of Catarratto and Viognier. T’was the label, Guv’nor.

I admit to being a sucker for a chic label.

Here we have colour and trendy graphics luring me, the punter, to hand over near £11 to the Oddbins counter-man for a bottle of Donna Fugata Polena 2008.
Being from Sicily is a plus point but one negated by that £10.99 price point. After tasting that price becomes an issue – it’s too high. A decent wine mind – green tinged colour, citrus and gravel nose, mineral texture, tropical fruit edge with a citric burst on the finish, a delicate edge – just more impressive at a £6.99/£7.99 price point. That’s the equivalent of two broad-sheet Sunday’s or two tubs of locally grown gooseberries form my local produce shop. All relative I guess. You have to pay for the trendy labelling (and matching yellow plastic cork) somewhere along the chain though.

In comparison this Portuguese red – Qunita de Bons-Ventos – has an incredibly dull, verging on the hideous, label. Just £4.99, also purchased from Oddbins.

A delicious wine though – berry-led, full, rounded, smooth tannins and long, long inky finish. Delicious on its own but highly improved with food. An artisanal steak pie and (oven) chips was a lovely pairing. When matched with this hearty dish a delightful red-berry crispness shines through. Another plus for the grape mix: Castelão (Periquita), Camarate, Tinta Miuda and Touriga Nacional. Perfect for a mid-week slurp.

White Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Donna Fugata polena, 2008, Sicily, Italy.

Stockist: Oddbins Price: £10.99 [More: / Snooth]

Scribblings Rating – 86/100 [3.25 out of 5]

Red Wine Review/Tasting NoteWine Tasting Note: Quinta de Bons-Ventos Vinho Tinto, 2007, Estremadura, Portugal.

Price: £5.99 Available from Oddbins [More on / Snooth]

Scribblings Rating – 90/100 [3.75 out of 5]

quinta de bons-ventos 2007

  1. Hande July 18, 2009

    At that price, you are right! Here the price is about 7-8 Euros…

  2. Dylan July 18, 2009

    Quality in wine is a merit that should always precede quality in label design. If possible, managing to exercise the merit of both is ideal.

  3. Roberta Contatti July 21, 2009

    I grew up in Sicily and have to say there great wines much cheaper that the one you mentioned…Usually when the label is so elegant, they´re more expensive but it obviously doesn’t mean they taste better. One of the Sicilian wine I’ve ever tried is Syrah by Montalto, really good.

  4. Andrew July 21, 2009

    Sadly the UK ranks fifth (I think) in the table for the most expensive alcohol in the world; hence the high prices.
    I’ll look out for the Montalto Roberta, thanks for sharing.

  5. wine direct July 23, 2009

    There’s nothing wrong with trying something new – even if you chose the wine based on the label. However it’s not the wisest way to find a diamond in the rough. What I don’t agree with is companies that rely on label marketing (read an article about ‘Sopranos’ wine recently) and not quality.

  6. Andra Schuhe August 6, 2009

    Label certainly play their part, especially when I lay occasional drinker finds himself in front of a never-ending shelf of wines.
    But on me, these two labels have an opposite effect. I mean I´m more attracted by the poroguese one which I find more traditional=reliable=serious. The Sicilian one seems to me just a marketing measure and let me think that if they need that, then the wine musn´t be that good..


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