Our Wine Guides and fans love the “mad scientist” label on Traveling Vineyard’s 2015 Ibrido, Manzoni Bianco Veneto IGT. With its clever, cartoon-like label, it’s clear that this light Italian white has a story to tell—even before it’s uncorked.
The Ibrido story begins in the 1930s in the Veneto region of Italy, when Professor Luigi Manzoni created the Manzoni Bianco variety at the enology school in Conegliano. The good professor crafted many crossings, but Manzoni Bianco is universally considered the highest-quality and most successful Manzoni Hybrid (think Riesling meets Pinot Blanc). The word “ibrido” is actually Italian for hybrid (a term that existed long before the Prius). Our Wine Director, Francis Sanders, made the 2015 Ibrido, Manzoni Bianco Veneto IGT for Traveling Vineyard, and he also co-designed its unique label. He tells us how it all came to life.
Bringing the “Mad” Professor to Life
In designing the Ibrido label with my longtime “Corked” comic partner Dave Griffin, I decided to work the Hybrid angle as the basis for a tongue-in-cheek, movie poster-like label. Dave and I do a large amount of poster and cover work—for film, music, comics and illustration art galleries, festivals, and museums—that exhibit our unique take on classics within their respective genres. Traveling Vineyard’s Small Hours Zinfandel label, for example, originated as a piece for the Newport Jazz Festival, as an homage to both the classic Frank Sinatra album and its iconic cover art (long before the Traveling Vineyard wine and label).
For Ibrido’s illustration, we mined the style of movie and television parodies for a fictitious moment-in-the-life of Professor Manzoni, knowing Dave’s drawing gains strength channeling his inner Mort Drucker and Angelo Torres—two iconic cartoonists and caricaturists for “Mad” magazine.
The label’s fonts, color scheme and composition are based on a “Bride of Frankenstein” lobby card that we liked. Professor Manzoni’s pose was derived from the “It’s alive!” scenes in both “Frankenstein” and Mel Brooks’ classic, “Young Frankenstein.” Keep in mind that the bodies of the monsters played in the films by Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester and Peter Boyle, are stitched-together hybrids!
The setting for Professor Manzoni’s “lab” was inspired by the greenhouse-like lair of Batman villain, Poison Ivy, which we thought was a much more practical backdrop for creating a hybrid wine variety. There are obvious mad scientist clichés in the illustration, such as the lab coat, swim goggles, and a bit of lab equipment. Professor Manzoni talks with his gloved hands in the air, illustrating his passion. And, the critter—also featured on the back label—is a hybrid of Dave’s own imagination, based on a Venus Fly Trap, Audrey II from “Little Shop of Horrors,” and Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent.
Beyond the Label: A Delightful Italian White
Ibrido, Manzoni Bianco Veneto IGT, like most Italian whites, is a light, clean, crisp and refreshing wine, and sees no oak. It’s similar to Pinot Grigio in weight, but has a different flavor profile. Pinot Grigio is melon, with nuts, fig, date and mineral notes. Manzoni Bianco, however, exhibits the elements of its “parents”—white flowers and pear from the Riesling, golden delicious apple, and a honeyed resin from the Pinot Blanc—delivering additional texture and richness-of-flavor on the palate. Our 2015 Ibrido recently earned a Bronze Medal at the World Wine Championships!
The 2015 Ibrido, Manzoni Bianco Veneto IGT pairs well with salads, ethnic cuisines and rustic cheeses. Francis recommends pasta with onion, anchovies, and parsley; a caramelized onion and goat cheese tart; or a nutty cheese, like Gruyère.
Order your bottle of 2015 Ibrido with your favorite Wine Guide! Cheers!