Ten Years of the Mad Hairy Fella

One of our most iconic wines, I first met El Gorú, not tramping the rocky, Mars-like terrain of Jumilla as I’d prefer to when wine sourcing, but running out the door of Prowein, Europe’s biggest wine show, in 2013. I was late for the plane home after three knackering days, roving from hall to hall in search of curious new finds, when, right at the exit, he caught my eye and I caught the hair. A 5 second exchange with Ioana Paunescu, part-owner of then fledgling winery Ego Bodegas, sealed his fate — after a few follow up emails and samples, the curious El Gorú would be coming to Curious Ireland.

The nickname came a while later, a few months or so, maybe a bit longer. He had shelf presence, with those piercing, steely eyes glinting from within a lionesque mane, or maybe a desert bush of parched tangled twigs. And he had repeat visit appeal too — dark, handsome full fruit, dusty tannins and afternotes of hot chocolate powder — this guy had ‘you sexy thing’ appeal in the bottle as well.

Vineyards leading up to Ego Bodegas in Jumilla, Spain © Ego Bodegas

But ‘El Gorú’ wasn’t rolling off the tongue so one of us, once, referred to him as ‘the mad hairy fella’ and it stuck. We thought it was just a daft nickname between us, an inside joke, but customers overheard and quickly adopted the name too. El Gorú lived up to his enigma status, it was the Mad Hairy Fella they wanted.

A few years later and Old Hairy is well settled in our top selling reds, I emailed Ioana with the idea that they should rebrand from El Gorú to Chico Peludo Loco, the literal Spanish translation of Mad Hairy Fella. We ran a brief social media campaign to “Free The Mad Hairy Fella“, getting customers to target the winery with hashtags and bottle shots, and even got Lucy to visit the winery to explain the humour. We got a bit of a laugh but no bite from Ego; he was their El Gorú. Maybe chico peludo loco didn’t roll off the tongue too easily either.

The newly, officially, renamed Mad Hairy Fella © Curious Wines

Then in 2021, Covid lockdowns, boredom sparking creativity and lots of strategy talk, Ioana asks me can they use our moniker as an official brand name for the Gorú series. What is great creative if it’s not enjoyed by as many people as possible, eh? Clark Kent to Superman [stretching it much? — Ed.]: El Gorú officially became the Mad Hairy Fella, all around the world.

Free the Mad Hairy Fella into the biggest wine glass you own and fly like Superman.

Disclaimer: Legal have been onto us about that last bit, the drinking and flying thing. That’s probably illegal, flying under the influence, so we’re saying don’t, and down with that sort of thing.

Disclaimer: Legal again. They’ve said we can’t actually make the claim that you can literally fly after drinking this wine. We of course meant it in a figurative, spiritual sense, not that you’ll actually be able to fly. That’s what Red Bull do with their wings and stuff.

Disclaimer: Gawwwwd. Legal. Sorry. We are not to reference dubious claims from other brands and trademarks, we could get in trouble by assocation. You know what, pour yourself a big glass of the Mad Hairy Fella and just enjoy. And don’t even think about flying anywhere.

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