If you buy wine based on label design, you’ve probably never tasted Missouri wine (or you have appalling visual taste). Something approaching 90% of Missouri’s wine labels are crap. If they’d give a 5 year-old some crayons, a piece of construction paper and spelled out N-O-R-T-O-N, they’d end up with a better label. It’d at least be charming and simple. Instead, we get this and this and this. It’s a nightmare.
Not so with Chaumette’s line. They have either employed a graphic designer or one already worked for them. The labels look nice. Unlike this, THEY DO NOT MAKE YOU WANT TO RIP YOUR EYES OUT. You may actually buy the wine. Which is what I did recently at The Root Cellar, where they began selling wine and beer last week.
Chaumette Mosaic: Too much sugar on the front; too much weird, lingering spice/heat on the back. It’s a caterwauling wine, a green, raw-tasting mess. But the label? It purdy.
Chaumette Norton 2010: The Norton is an improvement. It has that vegetal funk that turns most people off – and still a hot/spicy finish – but is fairly balanced. Funky and moderately off-putting is a tough place to be for a $17 bottle of wine (which I am in no way saying is “overpriced,” just that it’s competing against a world that makes a lot of far more serviceable $17 bottles of wine).
Chaumette Chardonel 2010: Chardonel is one of the better whites grown in Missouri, and this is a solid effort from Chaumette. Weighty and layered, this unoaked Chardonel exhibits some of the minerally liveliness of white Burgundy.
Westphalia Semi-Dry Riesling: I’ve long been a fan of Westphalia’s Cabernet Franc and they are good people. This wine, less so. It smells syrupy and plods around the glass when swirled. It’s thick. Strangely enough, it doesn’t actually taste as sweet as you think it will, but it still lacks all refinement. A malty, unpleasant wine.
Augusta Vidal Blanc 2010: The best bottle of the bunch. Light and floral with enough time on oak to give it some depth, it’d be great with seafood. An excellent bottle.