the year’s funnest book in wine - The Georgia Straight
- one "of the year's most fascinating wine books" - The Miami Herald
a gallery of provocative wine labels - The Sacramento Bee
- A fun little book to put out on your coffee table or to pass around at your next wine-tasting - Arizona Republic
- labels from the bizarre to the suggestive, packed with useful information about the wines and their producers - Herts Advertiser
- The book is gobsmackingly well designed - Grapestalk
full of chuckles, but with the laughter comes a healthy dose of serious wine education - 30 Second Wine Advisor
- What makes May’s book much more than a clever novelty are the winery histories and tasting notes. May is an oenologist of some distinction - Satisfaction Magazine
May gives brief histories behind wines - Houston Chronicle
- Learn about such labels as White Trash White, Up a Gum Tree, Sex, Old Tart, Cleavage Creek, Big Ass Red and Screw Kappa Napa along with the title names, Marilyn Merlot and Naked Grape Los Angeles Daily News
A fun little book to put out on your coffee table or to pass around at your next wine-tasting party: Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape, Odd Wines From Around the World.
The book, by Peter F. May, features labels from more than 100 wines and the stories on how they were created. Of course, this being a wine book, there also are tasting notes about each. The book also includes contact information for the wineries so you can track down some of the more obscure wines.
- "Wine book samples some real corkers" The Arizon Republic 16 June 2006
As well as showing the labels which range from the bizarre to the suggestive, the book is also packed with useful information about the wines and their producers.
The title of the book, Marilyn Merlot and The Naked Grape, is taken from two of the wines featured in the book.
Others include Cleavage Creek, which donates its proceeds to breast cancer research, Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush from New Zealand, Smoking Parrot from France and one or two which bring a flush to the cheek which has nothing to do with the wine.
"Raising a glass to the whacky world of wine" The Herts AdvertiserJohn Manning 15 June 2006
What makes May’s book much more than a clever novelty are the winery histories and tasting notes. Satisfaction MagazinerDigby Diehl 15 June 2006
" just for fun: Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape—Odd Wines From Around the World (Quirk Books, $21.95), assembled by Peter F. May with help from collectors, graphic artists, and wine buffs everywhere. Two hundred and fifty pages of colourful labels and oddball names; yes, Blasted Church is here with its bright and brilliant cartoons. Marketing whiz Bernie Hadley-Beauregard gets a nod of recognition from the author.
Chances are you haven’t sat down with a bottle of Ball Buster or Big Ass Red (or maybe you have and just don’t want to talk about it!); there’s also Cleavage Creek, Dogs Bollocks, Laid Back Ruby, and the Full Montepulciano. And what would the Quebec language police make of Frog’s Piss? It’s a cheap red table wine from France. Would they have to rename it Pisse de Grenouille in order to flog it to the SAQ? With plenty of Ralph Steadman art (virtually the entire Bonny Doon portfolio is in here), it’s the year’s funnest book in wine and perfect with pasta.
Jurgen Gothe - The Georgia Straight, Vancouver 25 May 2006
Bonny Doon’s Cardinal Zin zinfandel is one of more than 100 strangely diverting labels that collector Peter May has assembled in the oddest wine book of the year, so far. His “Marilyn Merlot and the Naked Grape: Odd Wines from Around the World” (Quirk, $16.95, 256 pages) not only is a gallery of provocative wine labels but the stories behind them, along with tasting notes on the wines within the bottle. The Marilyn Merlot of the title refers to a series of California wines, while Naked Grape is a range of French wines. More controversial labels include an Italian wine with a portrait of Benito “Il Duce” Mussolini; wines called Rude Boy and Rude Girl, whose labels are printed with temperature sensitive ink that fades away at certain temperatures, stripping him of his shorts, she of her dress; and an Australian semillon whose bare-breasted Queen of Clubs couldn’t be exported to the United States until artist Anelia Pavlova tastefully covered the subject’s chest.
Mike Dunne The Sacramento Bee 17 May 2006
Peter is an Englishman with extensive expertise in a couple of wine roads less taken: The unusual South African wine grape, Pinotage, and the offbeat wine label. His popular wine-label Website, Unusual Wines (Diversity in Wine), has become the Web's No. 1 resource on the topic of weird and wacky wine labels from all over the world.
I'm delighted to report that he has brought all this - and more - to print in his new book. Whether you're a committed wine enthusiast or a novice with a sense of humor, I think you'll find it as refreshing as a chilled glass of Mosel Riesling and as sprightly as a chilled glass of sparkly Prosecco. I want a copy for my wine cellar, another for the coffee table, and perhaps a third for reading during those quiet moments in the ... well, you know.
Now that I've had the opportunity to enjoy the book in its finished form, I'm even more impressed. It's compact in format (about 6 inches square), but admirably fully packed, with 256 slick pages containing full-color reproductions of more than 100 offbeat wine labels, each facing Peter's thoughtful and witty comments on the label and, as a bonus, his brief tasting reports on the wines. It's full of chuckles, but with the laughter comes a healthy dose of serious wine education.
The Thirty Second Wine Advisor syndicated column May 2006