By Ben Heskett
Summers in California are the best excuse for a road trip. If you’re from Northern California, the variety of climates and temperatures you may be exposed to makes a trip south to the Central Coast and beyond a great diversion. The road, the hot sun, the waves, and – of course – the wine.
The destination? Los Angeles for some celebratory soundscapes, but there was a few stops on the way…and on the way back. Heading south, I stopped at Talley Vineyards outside San Luis Obispo and rolled through a generous portion of their wines. Given the heat, the whites really stood out.
For this pairing I’ll highlight the Talley Vineyards 2013 Rosemary’s Vineyard Chardonnay, a well-balanced, less acidic option in their portfolio, with hints of lemon, peach and interesting minerality. It’s no shrinking violet – they recommend some pan seared scallops as a pairing in their literature – but it also exhibits a strong independence. It’s not an oak bomb, nor does it wander off the reservation, so to speak. I haven’t tasted a lot of Chardonnay from the Arroyo Grande Valley, but this one hit it out of the park.
Much like a chilled glass of California Chardonnay on a hot summer day, a free-flowing dose of reggae music can be, oh, just right this time of year. For some, a feature of this summer has been the celebration of the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary – an important milestone in the history of American music, but also an occasion for more contemporary bands to add their own little twists to the catalog.
Thievery Corporation was part of the Dead’s 50th celebration in Chicago, Ill. In July, playing a warm up show as part of a long Fourth of July weekend of revelry that included many bands in addition to the Dead at various venues around the city. It’s only fitting then that they are playing a cover of a signature tune from the band, a galloping reggae-infused version of “Fire on the Mountain” as they tour across America this summer. I can think of nothing better to pair with a glass of California Chardonnay on a hot summer day, watery beads trickling down the side of the glass.
This version’s from the recent All Good Festival in West Virginia.
The ‘Zilla thought it would be apropos to introduce our latest Wine and Tunes creation while we’re at the Wine Bloggers Conference this weekend in Corning, New York, so that those of you not familiar with our signature feature could get a feel for it. We’re working on our archive of past editions, but it has been slow to come together. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, everyone take care of each other at the conference and enjoy all of the amazing vibes emanating from the Radisson Hotel in Corning. Cheers and turn it up!