Cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush

I am a sucker for a great wine label.

French wine and spirit naming is subject to a whole pile of regulations. You’ve probably heard how only wine made from grapes from the Champagne region can be called “Champagne”, for instance, but similar rules apply to all of the controlled-origin (Appellation d’origine contrôlée, AOC) regional wine names.

This is good, inasmuch as you know that that Bordeaux is actually from Bordeaux, or that Mâcon-villages is actually from Mâcon. And the protected status of those names is one of the reasons that French wines still use their regional naming while the rest of the world has moved towards naming the varieties (a Gamay Noir instead of a Beaujolais, or a Chardonnay instead of a Chablis).

But what happens when your out-of-region winery wants to produce a wine to compete against the French AOC wines? Well, this, for instance:

Goats Do Roam wine label

(Goats Do Roam is a Shiraz-Pinotage which reminds one of a certain French coastal region. Candice and I tried a bottle a while ago. It was a good big, juicy wine, full of berries and spice. We’re usually not big drinkers of big reds, partly because neither of us eat much meat (or any red meat) and thus rarely have anything around to put a wine like this with.)

Or you can do this, which I find even more interesting because it was made in France:


which, while clearly depicting a chat-sur-oeuf might remind one of another particular region. This one comes from Cotes-du-Ventoux, though! We haven’t opened this one yet, but it’s a Grenache-Syrah, so it’s not just the name that’s familiar (although it’s said to be quite a bit lighter than your typical Chateauneuf).

And yes, I regularly buy wine based on the label. And it’s worked out well so far! (By the way, the wine in the title is quite nice also — and yes, it’s “pee” everywhere in the world except the USA, which gets “phee”.)

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  1. Epicurean Ottawa | rich text - Rich Lafferty’s weblog pingbacked Posted May 7, 2007, 3:24 pm
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  1. I’m surprisedamazed that they didn’t bother with ‘chaton neuf du pape‘. I mean what sells wine better than a kitten in a mitre!

  2. Peter F May said May 8, 2007, 4:57 am:

    You should credit the source of the Chat-en-Oeuf label image you are using, which was taken from my site at

    [spam for site and book removed.]

  3. Peter,

    Since the label is not your creative work — and since reproductions of two-dimensional artwork are not considered derivative works — you don’t have any say in how your copy is used. You aren’t the source; the winery that produced the label is the source.

    But I’ll play along and remove it for you, along with the advertisement you appended to your comment.

  4. I would totally buy wine if there were a kitten in a mitre on the label. His fuzzy Holiness!