Early on, if you’re a serious wine drinker, you learn not to buy wines with cute bottles, cute names, or some gimmick. I’ve lived by that rule. But every now and then, the marketers get me.

Saturday I bought a bottle of Missing Link Zinfandel. It was under $10 and very clever.

The back of the bottle reads as follows:

“You’ve evolved as a wine drinker. You’re past monkeying around with entry level wines, but you’re not about to ape over those insanely expensive “cult” wines either. Well, stand up straight and stop dragging those nuckles …”

You get the idea. I opened it tonight and it smelled funny, but not like it had gone bad. The taste was thin … and weird. Good Zin has a big fruit forward blast and a peppery finish. Even thin zin has some of the same characteristics. This had none of those things. It was sorta bad, but not awful – I drank some and poured the rest out – probably a couple of glasses.

The wine was a 2007 from the Lodi area in California.

So remember the rules – avoid the gimmicky wines! No cats, dogs, poetry, nor movie stars, weird shaped bottles or catchy names. Clearly some of these wineries spend more on marketing and packaging than they do the wine!

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com