By Peg San Felippo
City & Shore Magazine
Wine, like art, is all about personal taste. When you find a winery that’s passionate about both, what better way to link the two than through the label. Here are some that not only look great, they drink well too.
Château Minuty “M by Minuty” Rosé 2018 Limited Edition Bottle.
This is the second year Château Minuty has collaborated with an artist to design a limited-edition bottle for their rosé. English artist Ruby Taylor was chosen this year to depict the ambience of long summer days and appetizing Mediterranean food that pairs well with the wine. $23 at select Crown Wine and Spirits
IL Torchio Vermentino Bianco 2018, Italy.
On the Ligurian coast of Italy, this natural wine is made from 100 percent Vermentino grapes. While there is no exact definition for “natural” wines, they are farmed organically and some are also biodynamic. Wines are only natural if nothing is added or removed during the winemaking process; as is the case with IL Torchio, where there is no fining, filtration or sulphur added. The label was designed by Italian artist Giorgio Musante to depict the vibrancy and sunshine in the wine. $22.99 at Virginia Philip Wine Spirits & Academy, Palm Beach
Blackbird Vineyards Aerena “Conversations in Yellow” Chardonnay 2017, Sonoma County
Blackbird Vineyards winemaker Kyle Mizuno’s philosophy is pretty straight forward, “Let the wines speak for themselves and don’t screw it up.” The message artist Tom Hernandez is trying to introduce through the Aerena label is we must first look inward before looking outward. $15gl/$60btl at RH Rooftop Restaurant, West Palm Beach
Hedges Descendants Liégeois Dupont Red Mountain Syrah 2015, Washington State
The label of this estate bottled Syrah pays homage to the French heritage of owner Ann Marie Hedges, whose son, Christophe, oversaw its design. “Transparency is important to us. Our labels are detailed. We lead the label with the AVA [American Viticultural Area] name: Red Mountain, pushing the place of the wine over the varietal because we believe varietals are second to the place. Liégeois is my mother’s maiden name and her mother’s maiden name was Dupont. So this label is under the brand Descendants Liégeois Dupont (DLD). We wanted it to have a ‘French’ feel, meaning heavy in script and text pushing the authentic nature of the wine.” $75 btl at Del Frisco’s Grille, Fort Lauderdale
Eric Kent “Stiling” Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016, Russian River.
The philosophy of owner/winemaker Kent Humphrey and his wife, Colleen, is to, “Capture the best of every vintage in the bottle and showcase inspired art on every label.” Colleen, herself an artist, wanted to help some talented colleagues get exposure and develop followings. Many of artists whose work has appeared on the labels now have commissioned work and gallery exhibitions. To date, the winery makes 18 different wines – 14 with permanent (or fixed) artist labels and 4 that rotate artists every year. 400 cases of the Stiling are produced annually. $55 at Basser’s Fine Wine & Craft Beer, Coral Springs
Château Mouton Rothschild Pauillac, Bordeaux
Since 1945, Château Mouton Rothschild, one of the five first-growth reds in Bordeaux, has had contemporary artists originate works of art of their own choosing. From Picasso to Andy Warhol, renowned artists are rumored to have been commissioned not for money but for 10 cases of a variety of vintages of the Premier Cru. The original paintings used for the artwork are displayed in The Paintings for Labels Room at the winery when they are not shown at exhibitions around the world. A magnum of the 2015, illustrated by German artist Gerhard Richter, is available at Wine Watch in Fort Lauderdale for $1,375.
Ornellaia, Bolgheri, Italy
Iconic Super Tuscan producer Ornellaia began its Vendemmia d’Artista project in 2009, creating a series of limited-edition labels as part of the release of their 2006 vintage. Over the past 10 years a different contemporary artist from around the world has been selected to develop artwork, inspired by a single word Ornellaia winemaker Axel Heinz believes best describes the character of that vintage. Each artist crafts a label for one bottle that is included in each of the vintage’s wooden (six-bottle 750 ml) case and 111 large format bottles that include 100 double magnums (3L), 10 Imperials (6L) and 1 Salmanazar (9L or 12 standard bottles.) Each is individually numbered and signed by the artist. Most large formats were auctioned by Sotheby’s at an event in Venice in September. The Salmanazar lot, which included the LARGE bottle, a visit, overnight stay and dinner for six at Ornellaia, went for $62,508.60. Their Vendemmia d’Artista program has supported and collaborated with a variety of art educational programs and foundations over the past decade. $239.99, 2016 non-artist label at Wine Wave, Delray Beach.
Peg San Felippo is a certified sommelier who has served as a judge on the annual American Fine Wine Competition, South Florida’s homegrown wine event; and THE Rosé Competition.