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I judge wines by their label

Les Sardines Rosé 2017- $9

Les Sardines rose 2017 bottle and die-cut label

If you're new here, a word about this, "Judging Wines by their Label" section. I'm a designer, not a wine professional, but I drink a lot of it. As with anything I do in life, it's never half assed, and so if I'm gonna drink wine I want to be knowledgable about it. That said, I know NOTHING about wine. Cocktails, yes. I can have a discussion about. Food, I know a thing or two. I know a lot about design, letterpress and branding. Wine... nope. I grew up in an Italian-American family with basket Chianti and gallon jugs of Carlo Rossi. I still put ice cubes in my red wine, (and no there's nothing wrong with that!). This section is a record of my attempts to write about wine in a slightly knowledgable, yet approachable way, while casting a very critical design eye to their packaging.

 Looking for wines I love, that are hopefully cheap and preferably with eye catching design. Just a little ol' wine drinker me,

2017 Les Sardines
Pays D’OC - France

The Wine

Nose: I smelled this wine so many times trying to coax as many adjectives out of it that I may have deprived my brain of oxygen. 9 times out of 10 every wiff had a undeniable touch of saline.  it reminded me of the Jersey shore (perhaps because its cheap yet trying to be classy?). I also got “freshly painted room” and as it opened up and I kept smelling I got a little “cut grass”.  I also go dizzy and had to stop.

Perhaps it was the dizziness but I also got Strawberry Shortcake on the nose. (Note the capitalization) I’m not talking about the cake but the doll.  Maybe it was also a cartoon.  It was around in the 80’s and it was a doll that's hair smelled like Johnson & Johnson's baby Shampoo. Kinda like this wine. 

Why was a boy in the 80's playing with dolls you ask? Because I was a badass “woke*” 5 year old, I guess.  Or like today, most of my best friends were girls? I don’t know how to explain it… but, it’s 2018 and you really shouldn’t be asking why boys play with dolls.

Taste: Grilled white peach brushed with butter.  There’s a slightly sweet peach juice thing going on.  distinct taste of sweet cream butter, with a hint of astringency on the back end… like you just got to the bite of peach skin after enjoying the flesh. These are the perfect tastes of summer all in one sip.... I wish it were a little more refreshing though. 

The Design:

So... I should like this label... but I just don't really love it. I like that it has foil stamping and a die cut... but the pearlized, metallic, hologram stamp just seems off to me. Yes, I GET IT.. silver sardines are shiny...but it gives like a Phish (the band) and jesus fish bumper sticker feel to the whole thing. Also, no shelf standoutability. They could've paid the same amount of money for a giant die cut mold in the shape of a fish with die cut scales cut into it and it would've been way more interesting (damn... such a good idea. People should pay me foooorrrrrrr.... ::trails off and writes letter to Les Sardines rose::)

The Wine

  • Smell: 7/10
  • Taste: 7/10
  • Overall Quality 7/10
  • COSPA:‡ 7/10

The Design

  • Typography 7/10 
  • Materials and finishing 8/10
  • overall design 6/10
  • shelf standoutability 5/10
  • Bonus points: 0/0

Giant Squid Overall score: 83 Points

‡ COSPA is a category I got from Tabelog, the Japanese restaurant review site. It stands for COSt PerformAnce and represent the perceived value for the money spent or quality vs price paid. It is totally subjective, and yet easily one of the most informative and referenced metrics. 

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