It's not every day that the release of a California wine gets enthusiastic press coverage in Nashville, Tenn., but it's not every day that Three Thieves releases a wine with eye-catching labels by Nashville's Hatch Show Print. Hatch is a landmark letterpress print shop that since 1879 has been turning out evocative posters for businesses, sports events and, most notably, concerts by performers ranging from Hank Snow to Elvis Presley.
The wine is The Show 2005 California Cabernet Sauvignon ($15), for which Hatch created three similar but distinctive labels, each featuring one of Hatch's signature icons, a cowboy on a bucking bronc. Though the labels are different, the wine is the same in each bottle, a frisky cabernet sauvignon with surprising development and balance for a release so young. Its clean and fresh flavors suggest juicy Bing cherries. It's light- to medium-bodied, with inviting aromatics and a silken texture. While uncomplicated, it has the spine and flesh to stand up to the hearty soups and stews of winter.
Why three different labels? For one, the three St. Helena partners - Charles Bieler, Joel Gott and Roger Scommegna - liked equally the three prototypes Hatch created, so they agreed to use them all. Secondly, the three labels reinforce the three-way partnership, whose other innovative marketing schemes have included bargain wines in screwcap jug bottles and wines in one-liter boxes.
For more about Hatch and Three Thieves, check out this report by Nashville City Paper.