Bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party can be a lofty assignment. To help steer the table conversation from flaccid to fantastic, we’ve rounded up a trio of renegade labels to spark some fiery commentary—and complement your meal. Bottoms up.
Las Madres 2010 Eric Kent Wines Syrah
Owner-winemaker Kent Humphrey’s artist-wife, Colleen Teitgen-Humphrey, curates work from a different artist for each of their Sonoma boutique brand’s labels. For this Syrah, she chose San Francisco artist Akira Beard’s modern portrait of Rudyard Kipling flanked by his poem “If,” which is a “timeless and inspiring work of art in itself,” says Teitgen-Humphrey.
BRING IT As a gift for the literarily or artistically inclined—this young wine has some growing up to do.
PAIR IT With a cassoulet or any full-flavored game, roasted or grilled meats, and stews.
BUY IT erickentwines.com ($42)
Educated Guess: 2010 Roots Run Deep Cabernet Sauvignon
For some of us—we won’t say who—wine selections are little more than educated guesses. The folks at Roots Run Deep have partnered with design group CF Napa to skip the guesswork and get down to the science of it all with chemical equations explaining the complicated winemaking process on the bottle’s label and cap.
BRING IT For physical theorists and hypotheticals.
PAIR IT With slightly sweet dishes (roasted duck or yams), dry cheeses, or BBQ anything.
BUY IT vintagepointcellars.com ($20)
Pick Up Sticks 2010 Hudson Wines red blend (65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Barbera)
Created by designer Michael McDermott, Pick Up Sticks’ label employs the childhood game’s triangular motif to articulate the name behind winemaker Lee Hudson’s unique process. Depending on the year, this blend of Mediterranean varietals not usually seen together has varying amounts of Grenache, Syrah, Petit Syrah, Barbera, and Viognier. Hand-placed stickers on every bottle were inspired by Hudson’s love of vintage travel cases.
BRING IT For childhood nostalgia junkies or avid travelers.
PAIR IT “It’s a wine designed for turkey,” says Hudson.
BUY IT hudsonranch.com ($39)
This article was published in 7x7's November issue. Click here to subscribe.