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Cyrano’s Silly Six November 26, 2009

Posted by Alex Sawit in About Wine, Reviews.

By Alex Sawit

26 November 2009


“Oh, that is so cuuute,” gushed another female customer. “There’s a fat smiling hippo sitting on the corner of the bottle!”

Sigh. Girls will be girls. They all give the same reaction when I show them a bottle of Fat Bastard, which is now quite popular at the shop. I do tell them about the unusual crafting that goes into producing this delightful wine from the South of France. It’s all about the wine, I explain. But ladies just can’t help going all goo-goo and gaga over that happy little hippo weighing heavily on the front label.

Welcome to life at our re-booted Cyrano Wine Shop. It’s been a month since we celebrated our fifth year anniversary and it’s clear that customers love the new concept. Our new slogan says it all: “Fun wines, smart buys!”

That means fun flavor, fun character and just plain fun to drink wine that’s good value. I like to think, of course, that Cyrano has always been about fun wines. We just never thought of positioning ourselves this way to the public before. From now on we want Cyrano to be known for really fun wines, stuff so endearingly outrageous you won’t expect to find them in any typical retail establishment (and definitely not on any supermarket shelf).

Hence, we’ve proudly assembled half a dozen unique wines on which to build our new reputation. We call them Cyrano’s “Silly Six.” Made by some of the most unconventional, anti-establishment winemakers in the world today, these six wines are sure to impress customers by being every bit as quirky as they are delicious.

Remember: It’s all about the wine… duh! Cheers, Cyrano friends!



The revoultionary wines of Los 3 Bandidos.


Los 3 Bandidos. Don’t be fooled by the Spanish name. Los Tres Bandidos (“The Three Bandits”) is 100% French. This amusing fact recently offended one Spanish visitor at the shop. “Why are these Frenchmen,” complained the indignant Spaniard, “using a Spanish name for a French wine?” Lighten up, amigo. It’s made by wine rebels in the South of France who produce full-bodied wines as they please. See those bullet holes in the bottle label? That’s because Tres Bandidos is named in honor of Mexico’s three most famous revolutionaries – Pancho Villa, Emilliano Zapata and Venustiano Carranza. Maybe the name is due to the red wine being made entirely from the Grenache grape, called Garnacha in Spain, which is used to make classic Spanish reds. Or maybe it’s because the winemakers recommend it with Mexican cuisine. Or maybe it’s just a bold statement about how they make “revolutionary wines” that defy French tradition (yes, they actually describe it that way in their promo materials). French wine with a Spanish name… so what? Tres Bandidos is hilarious and, more importantly, it tastes really nice. And it’s fantastic with lechon. “Ay caramba!”


Our CSI officer took this closeup of the bullet holes. Note the
points of entry, indicating the precision with which the shooter
avoided the logo. But there are no marks to suggest that
blunt force trauma was suffered during the attack.



Goats Do Roam. For sillier stuff, try this one from South Africa. Created by folks who are mad about French wine appellations and goat herding – at the back of the bottle, the estate owner cheerfully describes the vineyard as a pseudo goat farm – this un-oaked wine adapts the same grapes used in France for making a white Côtes du Rhône (say “coat-doo-roan”). Rename it Goats Do Roam and you’ve got South Africa’s irreverent version of a French classic, its refreshing, crisp character evoking ripe citrus and gooseberries. We still don’t have the red one, which is their original effort, but we’re working on it.

Here’s the kicker. Back in France, the higher classification of a Côtes du Rhône wine is called “Côtes du Rhône Villages” (it’s French, so say “vih-LAJ” please). So we shouldn’t be surprised that those South Africans also make a higher variant of their version. Goats Do Roam in Villages is lightly aged in oak barrels, resulting in a softer, creamier white wine.




Fat Bastard. Business partners Thierry and Guy, a Frenchman and a Brit respectively, decided to thumb their noses at France’s old fashioned wine industry by running a rebellious operation of their own in the Languedoc region in the South. Armed with winemaking ideas and technologies pioneered in the New World, they produced exactly the kind of rich flavors they were hoping for. “Now,” proclaimed Thierry after tasting his creation, “zat iz what I call eh PHET bas-tard!” It’s a British expression but the name stuck. Fat Bastard comes in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah/Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, all with discernable French character but with a twist of delectable of richness. By the way, nobody sober at the winery seems to remember how the heck they wound up with a fat golden hippo on their label.

L to R: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Shiraz.
All varietals (plus the Pinot Noir, which is not depicted) except
the Sauvginon Blanc are now available at Cyrano.



Goat Door. Those winemakers at The Goats Do Roam Wine Company just won’t quit with the homonyms. This time they take inspiration from the area known as the Côte d’Or (“Golden Hillside”), where the most famous and most expensive white wines in France’s Burgundy region are produced entirely from the Chardonnay grape. Likewise, Goat Door is exclusively made from Chardonnay, lightly aged in oak barrels to preserve the freshness that is the hallmark of the Goats Do Roam style of white wine.



Bored Doe. One day, the folks at The Goats Do Roam Wine Company had another smashing idea. “Hey,” they thought, “in South Africa we have all five grape varietals used in Bordeaux to make red wine. Why don’t we make our version of a classic Bordeaux red?” So they blended Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, aged the wine in oak, put it inside a claret bottle and stuck it with an old château-style label illustrated with a pretty little French deer frolicking around (she’s described as “an udderly gorgeous doe” on the back label of the bottle). Just don’t expect Bored Doe to be like its French counterpart. South Africa’s terroir produces a richer, fruitier savor in its wines and this one is decidedly, though elegantly, full-bodied in style. But yes, it’s good – different but darn good. How ironic that it should go well with venison, heh-heh…



“The goats will roam… capisce?!”


The Goatfather. The last of the Silly Six is my favorite among the wines of The Goats Do Roam Wine Company. A blend of several varietals that includes four grapes of Italian origin – Barbera, Sangiovese, Primitivo and Nebbiolo – this is a remarkable mimic of a Northern Italian red, comparable perhaps to a praiseworthy Chianti Classico Riserva. It even bears some comparison to a classy Sicilian wine we also carry at the shop. Whether it reminds you of Northern or Southern Italy, either way The Goatfather is serious Italian-style vino at heart… uh, with a gratuitous portrait of “Don Goatti” on the bottle for laughs. Never mind. This stuff is wonderful. Starting with soft lavender and subtle mocha on the nose and ending with a touch of cranberry on the palate, The Goatfather is a suave, tangy red that makes for eminently comfortable drinking.


In case you thought we were kid-ding about The Goats Do Roam Wine Company, here’s owner and winemaker Charles Back with The Goatfather
along with his property’s very real livestock. Baaa!







1. Donna - November 27, 2009

Ey Alex =) Please post pictures of the wine =)

Alexander Sawit - November 27, 2009

Just uploaded the pics… enjoy!

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