Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Naming Australian wines from Italian and 'alternative' varieties

I've been thinking a bit about the options for choosing names of wines made in Australia from Italian or other 'alternative' varieties. Pizzini have had a bet each way. Their base wine is labelled for the variety - Pizzini Sangiovese 2008, etc - whereas the top tier sangiovese gets a flash name from an Italian word - Rubacuori (which means heartbreaker).

The Castagna sangiovese has been named La Chiave (key) and later Un Segreto for his 'secret' Super-Beechworth blend of sangiovese and syrah.

Coriole call their basic sangiovese by the name of the variety, Contour 4 as the name for their shiraz-sangiovese blend, and then flag the 'Brunello clone' as the label for that clonal selection wine.

This coming year, I'll hopefully have the first pick and make from the 2006 plantings of tempranillo planted at Quarry Hill (the sagrantino and sangiovese are further off). One option is to label it as tempranillo, another is to give it a name with a Spanish flavour. Pronouncing the Spanish word for quarry, which is 'cantera' in an Australian accent would certainly be a point of distinction...

Underneath these decisions are perhaps some other choices: are these wines Australian wines with some kinds of local distinctiveness (and therefore perhaps should have a local name), or is the Italian or Spanish connection (whether intended to be imitative or not) significant enough to warrant a word or phrase from that language? A veer into the piss-elegant could be all too easy here, but perhaps using a foreign word tongue-in-cheek is the most Australian thing to do?

1 comment:

  1. Paul,

    There are so many variables to consider. I don't envy your choice. . . As a punter, names which are too clever can be a little off putting, especially if the story behind it seems contrived. Cantera sounds good, well paced and lean, it almost gives an impression of what will be in the bottle.

    Best of luck.