Vino File: Funny labels, fine wine

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

To the unacquainted staring at a wall of wine bottles, labels might seem like the best way to make sense of it all. People are suckers for pretty pictures and silly sayings, it seems - which can be dangerous when the thing they really care about is what's inside.

But any choice is a good one at Hausfrau Haven in German Village, where "If the wine's horrible, I'm not going to carry it just for the label," owner Faye Muncie said. And carrying eccentric wines is one of her specialties. "We're kind of known for our quirkiness in the store anyway, so I'm always looking for fun labels."

Some wines, like Bitch and Hey Mambo, get noticed for their bold names. "They'll buy them as a 'joke wine,' and then they'll take a more expensive wine along with it," Muncie said. But, she added, "Both of those wines I would drink, and I'm kind of picky with my wine."

Bitch (2007)

Region: Barossa Valley, South Australia

Cost: $13

Flavors: Very dry, with light raspberry flavors

Pairs well with: By itself or with a light chocolate dessert

Faye Muncie's advice: "Men buy it, women buy it, and they generally buy it as a 'joke wine.' But it just so happens that the juice is very nice on the inside."

Hey Mambo Sultry Red (non-vintage)

Region: California

Cost: $12

Flavors: Smoky and dense with berries and mulling spices

Pairs well with: Roasted meats, steak

Faye Muncie's advice: "Really an excellent wine. Really easy to drink - good by itself, good with food. But the labels sells that wine."

Good Pinot Grigio (2007)

Region: Valdadige, Italy

Cost: $11

Flavors: 100-percent grenache, light and lively with citrus

Pairs well with: Light chicken dishes, seafood, light salad

Faye Muncie's advice: "It's what the label says - good pinot grigio. Just very easy to drink. We carry the chianti, and I think the label's 'Good Chianti.'"