Have you noticed that there are a lot fewer animals at your local liquor store? It seems like overnight the menagerie staring back at me from the front panels of wine bottles have gone the way of the Dodo bird.
Critter labels were all the rage for most of this decade. They helped draw consumers to Australia (who offered a zoo full of examples) and, even more importantly, made wine appear less intimidating.
A fickle market looking for more sophisticated label designs seems to have killed most of them off. Yellow Tail’s wallaby and Fat Bastard’s hippo aside you really have to look hard to find some fauna on store shelves.
Ravenwood’s 2006 Vintners Blend Zinfandel ($17.95 – $19.99) from California has used a trio of ravens as its logo since the ’70s. Its entry level zin is ripe with black fruit supported by a backbone of peppery spice and licorice that makes it another fine red for barbecue season.
New Zealand’s Monkey Bay 2007 Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95 – $17.99) has adopted a swinging chimp as its label icon. Off-dry with zingy citrus fruit it’s a great partner for fresh lobster or crab meat.
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Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.