April 6 2013 01:07 PM

Why you shouldn't buy a bottle based on a label

Photo by Jen Van Tieghem

It's obvious to anyone who knows me why I bought this bottle of wine—a pretty pink label with hearts on it! Of course, in addition to the novelty of the name Bitch, the bottle boasted a grape I often like—Grenache—and a price I often love: less than $10. What I didn't love was how the back label gave no details other than that the wine's a product of Spain and bottled in 2009; the remaining space was solely dedicated to repeating the word "bitch" 69 times. I prefer a little preview before buying, if possible, but, on an impulse, I grabbed it anyway.

This one does present some rather bitchy characteristics, like the in-your-face aromas of fruit that you're about to taste. Jammy raspberry and light peppery spice, typical in a Grenache, were quite pleasant in this wine—for a moment. Unfortunately, the bite of its considerable acidity sucks the moisture off your tongue too quickly, and along with it goes most of the flavor. Another downside was the relatively high alcohol content, 14 percent. I found it off-putting. I prefer a sneaky bitch to one that slaps me in the face with its power. I did, however, find that the glass mellowed with a little bit of air. Pepper remained on the finish, though the tang was still too overbearing for me.

The tart aftertaste made it hard to enjoy more than a glass. A friend recommended using sharply dry wines like this for sangria, which is typically made with cut-up fruit, fortified with brandy or rum and sweetened with anything from juice to honey; so, I may have a use for the rest of the bottle after all.

In the end, I count this purchase as a lesson learned. Impulse-buying based on the aesthetics of a label or a kitschy name typically doesn't end well. But when a poor decision gets you bad wine, you can either be a bitch about it or you can make sangria. I think I'll choose the latter.

Write to jenv@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_VT.


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