Uncorked Ventures Blog
Bottle Rock is the first annual concert, bringing 35,000 visitors and some top musical acts like Bay Area locals Train, the Kings of Leon and the Black Keys among others to Napa Valley.
As far as concerts go, the lineup impresses, but isn’t otherwise noteworthy if it were happening in say San Francisco, New York or LA though.
What makes the event unique though is that it is happening in Napa Valley. Bottle Rock is a different take on music in Napa on two different levels. First, it represents a sea change in the type of music most wineries think their guests might be interested in. To this point wineries have catered to what they believe to be their average customer, people over the age of 50. That means they’ve lined up jazz artists, more jazz artists, an easy listening set and then a couple more jazz artists.
It’s worked fairly well, but the Valley has become green with envy when vintners started seeing the type of unique events happening at urban wineries, which are bound to cut into their market share if they don’t adapt.
This is clearly a step in the right direction. The bands playing are as varied as the music we currently hear on the American Top 40 countdown. Country efforts from the Zack Brown Band, Train and hip hop socially conscious Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Other than the music though, bringing 35,000 people into Napa for a concert represents the culmination of over 40 years of infighting within Napa Valley. Since its inception Napa has been dominated by two groups, grape growers and the vintners who make the wine. For many years, that complex and symbiotic relationship has been largely governed by the Ag Preserve in Napa which not only sets out how much land must be kept for open space and agricultural space, but also set up a series of roadblocks to control and in many ways minimize the type of marketing that the average winery in Napa could do on a yearly basis.
Allowing a major concert to come to Napa along with the virtual shutdown of the Valley for 5 days (the concert site shows a Thursday-Sunday lineup, but Wednesday night was a charity based evening) shows the current thinking in the Valley. It’s time to compete again for consumer dollars
Personally, I hope the Ag Preserve continues to allow the history and agricultural base of the Valley to continue to shine through-but I also hope that events like this become the rule and not the exception.
Stone the Crows 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
Three Twins Vineyard Napa Valley
About Stone the Crows: This is the first time that we’ve chosen to include a single bottle of wine for our Special Selection Club members. Simply put, we couldn’t bypass this wine and think our customers will appreciate finding an up and coming star in the world of high end, Napa Valley Cabernet. Stone the Crows is based east of Napa’s Silverado Trail in some of the warmer environs in the area. For that reason, combined with the fact that the Three Twins Vineyard was planted just in 2005 (grape vines generally don’t produce world class fruit and vines aged less than 10 years are generally very young vines) Proprietor Rich Talmadge needed to find a winemaker who could handle his fruit and produce a palate pleasing wine. Luckily he was able to convince Thomas Rivers Brown, perhaps the best known winemaker in the world currently to take on his project. Brown if you aren’t familiar is the youngest winemaker to craft a 100 point wine according to either Wine Spectator or Wine Advocate and has a handful of such wines to his name. Additionally, he was the 2010 winemaker of the year according to Food & Wine magazine. He is responsible for winemaking at venerable names such as Schrader, Maybach, Black Sears and Outpost. Known for round tannins, we’ve heard that among the superstar winemaker crowd his style is forced upon wines less than his competitors. Personally speaking, if I had to choose a single winemaker to produce a Napa Valley Cabernet for me, Brown would be at the top of my list. The question as you’ve already guessed is how Talmadge was able to convince Brown to take a small Cabernet project when he’s already so busy. As it turns out, relationships in Napa Valley are everything when only about 500 people are responsible for winemaking in the area. Mike Smith is the assistant winemaker on a couple of Brown’s projects (Maybach is the best known of them) and happens to be close personal friends with Talmadge. Incidentally, that is also how we became the only retailer to be offered this wine, we’ve previously featured a wine from Mike Smith (Quivet Cellars) and have kept in touch over the past few months, leading to the introduction to Talmadge and the ability to feature these wines. We’re extremely proud to be the first retail partner working with Stone the Crows and we hope over the coming years that they continue allowing us to feature their wines, which are already being sold exclusively to their own internal mailing list.
It is always nice when someone has nice things to say about you, don’t you agree?
Recently we were listed among the best wine clubs available anywhere, by Forbes in an online article.
First, thank you for including us Forbes. We take our responsibility to deliver high quality wines very seriously and it is nice to see a magazine that we enjoy so much, rewarding us for those efforts.
So here’s a widely known secret that would surprise most first time wine drinkers-the color of wine is largely determined by how long the grape juice stays in contact with the skins of the grape, moreso than the type grape which provided the juice.
Yes, there are some differences that come by the grapes which are selected-Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t making white wines any time soon, Chardonnay isn’t making red wines any time soon either, but the color differences in these two wines comes largely from the amount of time each stays in contact with its own skin during fermentation.
Rose, as you might expect is actually (or usually at least) a red wine-this one just happens to have its skin removed from the juice in only a few hours-or at most a day or two. It also leads to less direct and noticeable flavors.
You’ll occasionally see a Rose made by removing a small bit of fermenting red wine early in the process, in essence creating a different wine from exactly the same set of vineyards and grapes!
We thought a small heads up might be a good idea given that we have unseasonably warm temperatures here in San Francisco-close to 85 degrees this afternoon. Those temperatures as well as baseball on tv and the radio, made us think that it was a nice day for Rose
The Mediterranean has long been recognised as a place to go for a fabulous sunshine holiday, to sample new and exotic cuisine and taste wine from some of the best vineyards in the world. The really good news is that now medical professionals have recognised the many health benefits of following a Mediterranean diet, one full of fresh produce, pure olive oil, whole grain and lashings of fresh fish and other seafood, all chased with a glass or two of wine.
Combine a holiday abroad with the opportunity to eat your way around Europe! Foodie tours are all the rage, especially in the Mediterranean area, and give access to the freshest, beautifully prepared delicacies and world-class wines. Visit the best destinations with Thomson and educate your palate at the same time.
France is the original 'foodie' destination, long having been accepted as master of cheese, wine and exquisitely prepared and delicious sauces. Gourmets and gourmands alike flock to France still, eagerly accompanied by oenophiles who seek the world's best wines and hope to find an excellent vintage on the racks. The Rhone Valley has recently caught up to world leaders in the production of superb Bordeaux and Burgundy, while still producing its award winning Chateaneuf-du-Pape. Foodies might be more interested in the Languedoc-Roussillon area, which is something of a meeting point of many culinary influences. Chefs in the area specialise in creating unique dishes, with a strong emphasis on using fresh, locally sourced produce and a good deal of imagination! Wine lovers can also thoroughly enjoy themselves in the area with an abundance of local wine to sample, enjoy and take home.
Home of the pizza, ice-cream and pasta Italian cuisine is world famous thanks to its delicious taste and simple recipes. However, nothing can beat a pizza from Naples, or a spaghetti Bolognese from Bologna; the homes of these two iconic dishes! Be sure to travel far and wide around Italy, as each region features its own specialities and delicacies and it would be a shame to miss out on any of the wonderful tastes of Italy! Italy is home to wonderful wines too, boasting some of the world's oldest vineyards. Italy recently overtook France as the biggest wine producer in the world, providing restaurants, hotels and bars as well as private consumers with gallons of good quality wines. Italian wines are classified under a fairly complex system that rates most of them higher than the so-called 'table wines' a name given to wine that is adequate, but nothing special - not something that can be said of Italy's finest wines!
Spain's cuisine has been heavily influenced by its history and the many peoples who have passed through the country, from the ancient Romans and Moors to more modern visitors. However, the Mediterranean diet can still be found at the heart of Spanish food, making food and wine visits to Spain a healthy option for all! Lentils are found widely in Spanish cooking, as is the wonderful variety of seafood that can be plucked fresh from the sea, ready for each meal. Spain's southern region is largely given over to wine production, and it is home to the largest vineyards in the world, although in production it falls behind Italy and France. Visitors to Spain will already be aware of the pleasant light sangria, but the local Rioja is a true wine-lovers treat too!
These are just the tip of the Mediterranean food and wine experience. Book your holiday have a look at Thomson's winter offers to cover as wide a sweep of the region as possible, and be sure to linger in each town and village as you travel. Cuisine changes subtly depending on the terrain and how the weather has affected the growing crops, making each pit stop along your way a wonderful opportunity to treat your taste-buds to something truly unique!
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