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November 26, 2006

Chateau Whimsy

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Once upon a time, every backwoods winery wrapped itself in a fancy brand-name -- usually French-looking.

Take that back ... I remember Thunderbird from college days. But you get the idea. The grocery store wine shelves were creaking with bottles of Chateau This and Chateau That.

Along with so much else from our lamented past, wine brand names have stepped down from the pedestal to become diluted by whimsy or sullied in edginess.

Here are some brands I saw recently:

  • Dynamite

  • 3 blind moose

  • Toad Hollow

  • dog house

  • white truck

  • four emus

  • Barefoot

  • Red Bicyclette

  • Smoking Loon

  • Fish Eye

  • Clean Slate

  • [yellow tail] ... check out those brackets, Michael B!

  • La Bastarda

  • Fat Bastard

Besides these, I've seen some seriously edgy names but, alas, failed to take notes at the time. Contributions from readers are welcome in Comments. So are any observations linking (or denying any link) between wine brand-names and The Death of Civilization.



posted by Donald at November 26, 2006


"Chateau Whimsy" is a good name for a wine. I'd buy a bottle!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 27, 2006 2:12 AM

"Chateau Whimsy" is a place I would visit!

Red Bicyclette isn't so bad. The rest do take some of the cachet away from the booze. In some cases, it might more accurately portray the personalities of those choosing to drink these brands! It seems a bit out of place for a bunch of drunk college kids to be popping open "Chateau Luciette" or something. "Fat Bastard" might be more appropos.

Posted by: annette on November 27, 2006 9:32 AM

Bonny Doon has often had great names for their wines, such as "Critique of Pure Riesling", "Cardinal Zin", and "Le Cigare Volant", the French term for a UFO.

Continuing the pun trend, you've got Goats do Roam from South Africa and Cote du Bone from California--the former involved some lawsuits from makers of Cotes du Rhone.

You're also seeing some wines marketed towards a more manly demographic, such as the Fess Parker wines that show pictures of him as Davy Crockett, or the Desolation Flats "Rustler's Red" that's got a big Sheriff's badge on the front label.

Sushiwine is a French product with a horrible name and a flavor to match.

At a tasting of wines made in Tennessee, I encountered Big Bitch Red and Hogeye Red.

Posted by: Benito on November 27, 2006 2:09 PM

I bought Barefoot recently expecting a vinegary taste (it's dirt cheap) and was pleasantly surprised. A very good, food friendly, cabernet.

Posted by: ricpic on November 27, 2006 4:46 PM

I don't know if this wine is still out there, but I recall seeing Marilyn Merlot on the shelves about 15 years ago. I haven't seen it in a while. Yep, it's got Marilyn's picture on the label.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on November 27, 2006 6:55 PM

Well, doesn't everyone love a little hiney?

Hiney Wines

And Chisolm Trail wines are famous for the Ghost Rider, High Noon, or Desperado - fine wines, one and all.

Chisolm Trail Wines

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on November 27, 2006 9:26 PM

Charlton, really?
I was asked to play a role of Marilyn Merlot at a murder mystery party (and invent my character+costume based on the name); how did it taste?
I'm thinking transparent platform shoes (ideally with live goldfish in), highlighted platinum curls and a bra lined with faux mink. Does it sound right?

Posted by: Tat on November 27, 2006 10:18 PM

Tat, see the Marilyn collection of wines here:

Sorry for the long URL. Apparently, this wine is still doing well.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on November 28, 2006 8:43 AM

Thank you (important addition: garterless stockings). I'll look it up.

To reciprocate: for long URL' conversion, go to and follow instructions.

Posted by: Tat on November 28, 2006 9:35 AM

Thanks, Tat. That's a handy tool.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on November 28, 2006 4:11 PM

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