March 15, 2022 5 min read
What if a wine were a tattoo? How does one visually explain a wine? Is it based strictly on the flavor profile? The history of the grape? Perhaps the style of the wine or the wine itself? It’s interesting to think about!
You may know that some of us at Lucky Rock Wine Co. have a few tattoos (ok maybe more than a few). Lucky for you, we’ve put some thought into what we believe to be the perfect tattoo and wine pairings.
For Cabernet Sauvignon, we chose a “traditional” style tattoo, particularly the crown. If you have ever heard the adage “Cab is King”, then this makes sense. Cabernet has been around for hundreds of years and has worked its way to the top of the heap. Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The two parent plants create this bold, age-worth, classic wine. Similarly, traditional tattoos have a rich history. Many newer styles of tattoo are based on the principals. The traditional genre has stood the test of time… just like Cabernet Sauvignon.
Petite Sirah (aka Durif)
This grape, similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, is a cross between two varieties…the unpredictable Syrah plant and the lesser known Peloursin. Petite Sirah is dark, tannic, and brooding wine. It doesn’t take much shit from anyone and will smack you in the face if you underestimate it. It’s also thought of by many people as the “discount Cabernet”. It doesn’t drain the bank account when matching quality with the more expensive Cabernet Sauvignon.
The tattoo(s) pairing chosen for this wine are a version of Black & Grey (the moth below) and a Black Widow. The moth tattoo is a powerful piece with rough but distinct lines. The Black Widow represents the intense elegance that Petite Sirah can deliver even though it tends to pack a punch.
Yet another classic wine, but with a softer edge. Chardonnay has floral elements and can take many forms - though it is always a chardonnay. Butterfly tattoos can take different forms, but they are always a butterfly. Ultimately, you know what you are going to get, especially if you know your regions.
Plus, Chardonnay in California has a stereotype of being ‘oakey/buttery’- we’d say that fits right in with the choice of BUTTERfly. (Was this a reach? Definitely not. Our pairing stands!)
Whereas the concept of natural wine is rooted in traditional methods, the wine today is seen as hipster and trendy. If done correctly, the wines can be enjoyable. However, just as trends come and go, natural wine could very well be here today and gone tomorrow. Another thing to note is that many ‘natural wines’ start to taste the same due to the fact that they are a breeding ground for so many different kinds of yeast and bacteria – some benefit the wine and some do not (think Kombucha).
The Geometric style tattoo is a trend that will most likely pass, but has some elements that can be appreciated. Unfortunately, It is a tattoo style that all starts to ‘taste’ the same after you have seen enough of them. Enjoy them while they are here. They are fun and a new interpretation of the art of tattoo, but we’ll see if they last.
Another classic beauty. Famous for its history as a lighter fruitier wine that came back into the mainstream spotlight a couple decades ago. See, from afar they can seem similar to one another. Under closer inspection, the nuisance really shines through. Pinot Noir can be a great wine for beginners due to its lighter body, but is also sophisticated and nuanced enough for the most educated of wine drinkers.
Same goes for the traditional ‘lady head’ tattoo. They are easy to like and have a rich history in the tattoo space. Each one is a little different. Once they are looked at in detail, they are seen in a brand new light. The tattoo flash (see below) was done by the badass Paul Dobleman, famous for his lady head tattoos. We’ve had the pleasure of working with him in the past. Having seen his work in person, we are impressed.
Of course, we had to choose a pink floral tattoo. That said, we chose two. Sure rosé is rosé, but they do come in different shapes and sizes. Some are subtle and some bash you over the head with one dimensional Rosé-ness. You can do a lot with a little when it comes to this wine.
Flower tattoos are the same. Some are elegant and nuanced and others are…. dumb. There is definitely a stigma around both the wine and the tattoo. I guess you might say a Rosé isn’t a Rose is a Rose.
Sauvignon Blanc is more than it seems from the uninformed perspective. Once you dive into the world of Sauvy B, you realize that it is incredibly nuanced. Sure, there are only a few different flavor elements that make up the wine, but just like Mexican food, you can do a lot with 5 or 6 ingredients. Acid, grapefruit, tropical fruits, Grass, etc…but how are they layered and balanced?
Same goes for a traditional Japanese tattoo. There may only be a few elements used in most of these tattoos, but it is an art form that has been around long enough to have so much nuance that it can be mind-blowing. A Koi fish, waves, maple leaves and a dragon have never been as intricate as some of these tattoos are.
This grape is what it is. Yes, Zinfandel can vary from location to location, winery to winery - but similar to the taste of Lamb, it is very distinct. This grape is often in your face, maybe a bit simple, but can definitely be very fun and enjoyable. Hard to miss as Zinfandel!
Sure the ‘New School’ style of tattoo is rooted in much of what the ‘Traditional’ has to offer, but it’s punchy, color-forward intensity is hard to miss. These tattoos can be fun, off-putting, annoying and downright awesome depending on who is creating them and who is wearing them.
You can get as deep and philosophical in describing why a tattoo represents a particular wine. Tattoos can be fun and inspiring, or mellow and sleepy, just like wine. Either way, now you have our interpretation- now go grab your favorite wine and come up with your own tattoo to match.
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