Wine critters

Beastly bottles
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Would you buy a wine just because it had a picture of an animal on the label? Or a jokey animal name? Well, someone must, because there are a heck of a lot of them out there, the obvious reason being that it makes wine less intimidating.


In America they dub the category "critter wines" – in fact there's even a site on which you can track down bottles bearing the image of your favourite furry friend. In Blighty, meanwhile, we seem a bit more self-conscious and need, in typically British fashion, to make a bit of a joke of it, with double entrendres such as Chat-en-oeuf and Longue-dog (from the Languedoc, of course). The latter, a typically robust (14% abv) southern French red, is actually a brilliant deal at £5.49 at Sainsbury's. My dachshund-owning neighbour is thrilled.

One of the oldest critter wines is Goats Do Roam from Fairview estate in South Africa, which has its own goat tower. I don't think its basic Rhone-ish red is quite as good as it was, but The Goatfather 2010 (£9.29 Dillies in Hexham, £9.39, an Italianate blend of barbera, sangiovese, nebbiolo and cabernet sauvignon, is a terrific red, ideal for hearty pasta dishes.

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R 132 bottle

Fairview Caldera 2011

52.2% Grenache, 30.5% Mourvèdre, 17.3% Shiraz,
alc: 14.0  RS: 3.6  pH: 3.50
A Calderata is the traditional Catalan upright earthenware pot used for the preparation ... read more »