Lifestylejeff Scattiniwine

Cock Wine: Choosing Wine by the Label

Lifestylejeff Scattiniwine
Cock Wine: Choosing Wine by the Label

You’ve been invited to a dinner party with your date’s friends and you know you need to bring a bottle of wine, but there’s no chance in hell you’re going to break into your stash of good wine for people you hardly know, after all, you’re not even certain if you even like your date all that much and you’re sleeping with that person, much less their friends of questionable taste, humor, and personal hygiene.

"What's this bottle of wine doing on the shelf in the liquor aisle? Maybe it's a sign I should try beaver tonight!"

"What's this bottle of wine doing on the shelf in the liquor aisle? Maybe it's a sign I should try beaver tonight!"

The grocery store shelves are overflowing with unknown labels containing images of kangaroos, ducks, roosters, hens, rabbits, the occasional moose or badger, and, for some reason, a platypus in a fedora. How the hell do you figure out what to buy at a price that won’t break you budget but will still ensure your date’s friends aren’t going to hate you?

Judge a wine by its animal!

(For this article, none of the bottles are going to be over $15.00, mostly because that’s as much cash as I’m willing to shell out for people I don’t care about at any one time.)

For whatever reason, inexpensive bottles with furry animals: kangaroos, beavers, badgers, horses, and lions, tend to be less enjoyable than bottles featuring birds and poultry. For example, Yellowtail wine is inexpensive, available in a wide selection of varieties, and always leaves you regretting your life's decisions. However, La Vielle Ferme, is much more pleasant to taste even though you can only get it in two varietals. Toasted Head (bear) is alright, but falls flat to J. Lohr reds and whites. 

A 47 pound cock joke is too easy, so we submit this label without comment.

A 47 pound cock joke is too easy, so we submit this label without comment.

My favorite cheap, decent, poultry-labeled wine is Rex Goliath. Rex is an extremely fun wine that has, for a very long time, been overlooked by most of the harried-wine-drinkers-who-need-wine-now-but-refuse-to-lower-standards-too-much crowd. Their Cabernet is full of simple flavors and pairs well with most types of dinners, and their Sauv Blanc is crisp and fresh. They have gotten more expensive in the last five or six years, moving up price points from $3.99 per bottle to $8.99. But don’t let that price, or Rex’s permanent place on the bottom-most shelf fool you, it’s a decent wine with a giant rooster on the label. You should have no problem slapping a bottle of Rex on the table in front of these mostly-strangers and inviting them to help themselves to a big glass of Cock Wine. 

Honorable Mention: Hess Wines (lion label) provides interesting wines that offer some complexity and deserves some attention. They are also the only furry animal label I’ll take over a poultry-influenced label, given a chance. I personally prefer their whites to their reds as I think their reds are a little syrupy. However, Hess is right on the edge of our $15.00 price point and, depending on the store, cross that line, making me have to reconsider how much I want to offer near strangers.

Jeff has been a professional writer, bartender, and clown, sometimes all at once. He grew up along California's central coast before disappearing into the wilds of San Francisco. He appeared sporadically in those foggy mists as a featured artist for the Ramshackle Farm art gallery, a founding writer for Mockery Press, and an actor and clown on the Embarcadero and in a number of local theater companies. He tended bar in a range of dive bars before heading East to travel Europe and drink in those sights, and he does mean "drink". After his bank account and his liver required a break, he dropped back into the City and was astonished at how much rents had gone up. 

Jeff currently resides in San Francisco and is the proud protector of two apartment-sized animals and a rent controlled apartment lease.