Matthew Latkiewicz has gone through and categorized all the wines that he hates based on their label. It’s basically a written out version of what goes through my head as I walk around a wine store. There’s the graphic design student category, the ones with animals doing things (you know who we’re talking about), the fancy-schmancy French ones and more. But he’s not just being superficial, he backs it up with spot-on analysis:
French Subclass: Diluted French
Take the French label and remove a lot of the words. VoilÃ ! These give the feeling of a French label — tradition, upper class — but without all the confusing detail. You usually get the grape name, the region, and they usually try to shoehorn the word “chateau” in there somewhere. Also, there is often a pen and ink drawing of a house that we are meant to believe is the aforementioned chateau.
What to Expect: The winemaker often isn’t actually French, but is instead an American making wine in the French style. That means it will taste sort of like dirt and fruit. You know how people say, “I don’t know, tastes like red wine to me”? This is what they are talking about.
The article is a fun read but all kidding aside, there is actually a good way to judge a wine just by looking at its label. Try several wines and keep track of who the distributors are. It will say right on the label. Start matching up wines you like with their distributors and you’ll soon have a few distributors whose taste you trust and that way you can pick up new wines without getting as many duds.
Sloshed: Maybe We Should Be Judging Wines by Their Labels [Grub Street New York]