12 Great Wines with Awful Names

It’s not hard to understand why wine producers give their wines bad names. On full shelves, getting your label to stand out can be a real challenge. But that’s hardly an excuse for embarrassing the wine-drinker who has to 'fess up to enjoying a glass of Ménage à Trois. Here are 12 wines that will guarantee an eye-roll.

1. The Other Guys - Plungerhead Zinfandel

A mustachioed man with a plunger over his head graces the label of this tasty California Zinfandel, all but guaranteeing your parents won’t be able to appreciate its brambly berries and soft Middle Eastern spices.
Photo from The Frugal Wine Snob

2. Garnacha de Fuego

Ancient region (Romans! 200 BC!), tacky name. This big, juicy red from Calatayud, Spain, is typical of the region: 100 percent Garnacha, and bursting with fruit. A little decanting helps, which gives you a chance to lose the bottle, too.
Photo from Giuliana Imports

3. Mouton Noir - O.P.P. (Other People’s Pinot)

It’s hard to say whether '90s R&B stars Naughty by Nature would be down with this Willamette Pinot Noir, but with its attractive fruit and not-too-cloying sweetness, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Photo from Wine Searcher

4. Chronic Cellars - Purple Paradise

We get it, Zinfandel doesn’t have the most bad-ass reputation, but putting a skull and crossbones on the label of this juicy-red-fruit-and-baking-spice blend just seems wrong.
Photo from Cellar Tracker

5. Goats do Roam - Red

The story goes that the son of the owner of this particular South African vineyard once left the gate to the goat pen open, allowing the goats to roam the property, eating the ripest grapes being grown. Thanks to the goats’ discerning tastes, the winemakers were able to identify the best grapes to put in their wines. Regardless, this Rhone-style blend of Syrah, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Carignan is juicy and delicious. Goats agree.
Photo from SA Wines

6. Battle Creek Cellars - Unconditional Pinot Noir

Following is a list of things wine is conditional upon: precipitation, sunlight, direction of planting, irrigation, altitude, pest control, temperature, soil nutrients. I could go on, but let’s just say there’s nothing “unconditional” about making wine.
Photo from Wine Searcher

7. Roots Run Deep - Educated Guess

Educated or not, most people don’t want much guessing involved when it comes to shelling out 20 bucks for a bottle of wine. Still, this Cab is rich, juicy, and approachable.
Photo from Roots Run Deep

8. Ménage à Trois

Yes, the name of this blend sounds suggestive, but the only mingling happening here is the juiciness of the Zinfandel, the backbone of the Cabernet, and the mellowness of the Merlot. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Photo from Crown Wine & Spirits

9. The Prisoner Red Table Wine

The name and the label might be disconcerting, but there’s nothing unsettling about this beefy, smoky, peppery red from the Napa Valley.
Photo from Tip of the Fork

10. Mouton Noir - Knock on Wood Chardonnay

Who knows why they decided to call a Chardonnay entirely fermented in stainless steel “Knock on Wood,” but I’m sure retailers trying to sell this to their oak-hating clientele have some choice words for Mouton Noir.
Photo from Wine Searcher

11. Notorious PINK Grenache Rosé

Any pink wine would have a lot of nerve calling itself notorious, but especially one as juicy and as pink as this one. Sweet red fruit, all the way down.
Photo from Wine All the Time

12. Slo Down Wines - Sexual Chocolate

Pretty self-explanatory.
Photo from PopSugar; header image from Wine Times Hong Kong

Kelley Peters is a Brooklyn-based wine writer and educator. She still sometimes gets confused in wine shops.

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