So what does a wine label mean to you? I've seen many opinions on this; one school of thought says that you need your label to stand out, to differentiate yourself from all the other labels on the shelf. Seems logical - clearly you need your wine to get purchased for the first time before you can earn a regular customer - but if the wine isn't very good, how much does it matter? Lots of wineries are all about putting great wine in the bottle and to heck with the label.
Are there consumers out there who would buy a bottle of wine because they think the label is cool? I'm not sure. If there are, I'm certainly not one of them.....but there is no denying that the labels on the wine I'm reviewing today are beautiful and unique.
Our first visit to Moon Curser....we've sampled some of their wine at random tastings and we have friends who are big fans, but this would be our first opportunity to sample a good portion of their portfolio. They plant some varietals that you don't see at many BC wineries. Let's get right to it.
And we might as well start with one of the varietals that few, if any, other BC wineries plant, a centuries-old Italian white grape.
Moon Curser 2014 Contraband Series Arneis ($25.90)
Nutty aromas with some pear, honey and green apple. The palate is enriched with strong flavors of pear and some minerality. Very, very, very dry. 86.
Moon Curser 2013 Afraid of the Dark ($21.90)
An aromatic blend of Viognier (43%), Roussanne (43%) and Marsanne (14%). Nectarines and ginger on the nose. Hints of grapefruit and citrus on the palate. Crisp and clean with a long finish. 86.
Moon Curser 2012 Cabernet Merlot ($20.90)
Their first attempt at a Cab Merlot is a pretty good effort. Dark fruits with some vanilla and cocoa on the nose. Earthy notes with a touch of caramel on the palate. Smooth. 88.
Moon Curser 2012 Pinot Noir ($24.90)
Blueberry, blackberry and cherry notes on the nose and also on the palate. Tiny hints of strawberry can also be detected. Just a tiny note of spice pops up on the finish. 86.
Moon Curser 2012 Tempranillo ($31.90)
Red fruits, tobacco and vanilla on the nose. A touch of leather on the palate but this really needs time to develop those delicious flavors that Tempranillo exhibits. It's not bad now, but has potential to really shine. 88-90.
Moon Curser 2012 Syrah ($26.90)
Intense aromas of cherries and allspice. The palate is luscious with notes of dried cherries and a touch of black pepper. 88.
Moon Curser 2012 Contraband Syrah ($31.90)
Much more peppery than the above. Hints of blackberry and some cherry on the nose. The pepper shines through on the palate, intermingling with some intense black cherry flavors. Lovely. 90.
Both of the Syrahs are nice, but for the extra $5, it's a no-brainer!
Moon Curser 2012 Malbec ($31.90)
Cherries, licorice and blueberry on the nose. Ripe fruits dominate the palate with some licorice and cola joining the party. 87.
Moon Curser 2012 Border Vines ($26.90)
Merlot (37%), Cabernet Sauvignon (22%), Petit Verdot (16%), Malbec (15%) and Carmenere (10%). Notes of blueberries and blackberries dominate the nose and come through on the palate. Some plum and spice on the palate as well. 89.
Moon Curser 2012 Petit Verdot ($31.90)
This varietal, which is usually features in Bordeaux-style blends, has aromas of violets and dark fruits. The palate has a touch of cedar mixed in with the fruit, licorice and cola. I'm still waiting to find a single-varietal Petit Verdot that knocks my socks off. 85.
Moon Curser 2013 Carmenere ($42.90)
Aromas of blackberry, anise and pepper. Juicy and fruity, featuring moderately intense pepper notes on the finish. 87.
Moon Curser 2012 Dead of Night ($42.90)
Here's a blend you don't see every day, a 50/50 split of Syrah and Tannat. Black cherry, violets and tobacco on the nose. Rich and juicy on the palate. Cherry and plum shine through. Long and smooth finish. Tannins are strong, suggesting this is going to improve greatly with a little more time in the bottle. 88-90.
So, if I were a novice wine guy and went to the wine store and bought a bottle of one of the above because I loved the labels, would I have been happy with my choice? In almost every case, I'd say the answer is a resounding "yes"!
Next up: we head up the road to the home of the 100-point icewine, Nk'mip!
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