Lately I've been drawn to unique bottles. There's an interesting psychological element that comes with drinking wine from a nontraditional package. Expectations are shifted and confusion sets in as my beloved wine starts to play mind games with me. So maddening but often so exhilarating. Let me explain:
I recently had this Granbazan, Etiqueta Verde, Albarino, Spain, 2012 at dinner but upon first viewing, the fluted bottle shape, not to mention the label, brought to mind a German Riesling. When I took a whiff, I noted the orchard fruits right away and my mind was mentally identifying with the Riesling characteristics, almost overshadowing anything else. With the first sip though - surprise! It was an Albarino through and through - the orchard fruits minimized to let green apple, citrus and tropical fruits shine, along with a sparkling acidity and medium body, not the fuller mouthfeel that's characteristic of a Riesling.
Another wacky one I came across was this Gruner:
Not only is the Berger Gruner Veltliner, Austria, 2012 in a larger-format bottle (1 liter), it eschews both a cork and screwtop for a bottle clap closure. This is a wine in beer's clothing. Both the bigger bottle, which brings to mind jug handles of poor quality swill, along with the unusual top, ring some quality-control bells. Was this wine going to be cheap crap? Luckily, my fears were unfounded and the larger format just meant there was more of this easy drinker to consume. Lots o' citrus, little bit of floral, mineral, acid and zest made this a great dinner party option.
What unusual bottles have you come across?