Editor’s note: Due to the Labor Day weekend, CORKZILLA is posting the Sept. edition of our Monthly Wines and Tunes Pairing a week late, so that our readers can take it in as they continue to relish those last moments of summer. Enjoy!
By Joe Colgan
Labor Day is a symbolic signal for most Americans that summer has come to an end. But here in Southern California, summer's grand finale is still a long way down the road. The temperature outside is cookin', the BBQ is working overtime, and baseball is still in full swing. With the very welcomed three-day weekend just past, SoCal CORKZILLA invaded the Santa Barbara wine country for some much needed rest and relaxation; Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Valley, et cetera, are regions we hope to feature more on the 'Zilla in the near future. Here's an interesting update on the regions current wine climate.
Like last year's Labor Day installment of the Wine and Tunes Pairing, we're going to again go with a Sauvignon Blanc recommendation that has been working well with this sultry/airless/muggy heat that we've been experiencing lately. The 2011 Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand, is a beautifully crisp and refreshing wine for a very nice price; $14. Slightly clear in color with grassy green hues, the wine has a subtle tropical aroma with citrus/apple and stone flavors creating a bit of a dry palette. A little high on the acidity, but it adds to a punchiness in the mouth that doesn't offend - at least we're not offended. It's light and deliciously satisfying on a cooker of a day. This weekend it's grilled fish and the Matua.
To pair with the wine this month, I'm going with a discovery that occurred two days ago while searching the internets. The band/man is Reignwolf, aka, Jordan Cook. Residing in Seattle, WA, Reignwolf has been tearing up the Pacific Northwest with his unique style of blues & rock which he delivers with a tremendous punch. At first glance, you can make the the obvious White Stripes & Black Keys comparisons, but there's a soulful power and intenseness with this guy that's rises above in certain ways. Searing vocals, precise guitar leads, paired with a stack of classic amps behind him and a black 335, Reignwolf is pure Rock. Here's a sample.
By Ben Heskett
It’s happening. You can almost feel the mood change, the weather shift ever-so-slightly, and the onset of Fall start to arrive. There may be many more fabulous days outside the San Francisco CORKZILLA office, but once September arrives, Labor Day weekend is but a memory, you know the change of seasons can’t be far off, as my colleague above astutely notes in his own pairing.
It’s been a blur of a summer, with road trips, vacations and events combining to create a whirlwind of memories and moments. The time just goes too quickly sometimes, but as we head toward October there is much to look forward to, particularly in the worlds of wine and music.
To accompany these waning summer days, I’ve chosen a truly stellar representation of what’s coming out of Oregon right now – the 2010 St. Innocent Winery “Villages Cuvee” Pinot Noir, a blend of the winery’s younger vineyards with its Vitae Springs vineyard fruit as a common backbone across vintages (65 percent in 2010). Production of this wine varies greatly from vintage to vintage due to the acreage dedicated to younger vines each year, according to the winery’s website.
I’d heard of St. Innocent’s Pinot expertise, but was turned on to this reasonably priced offering (retailing at $24 if you can still find it) as a result of a meal at one of my neighborhood favorites, NOPA, a restaurant in the Western Addition/Divisadero section of San Francisco with an often interesting, exploratory wine list. It was an eyebrow-raiser, with terrific dark cherry and a lean balance you don’t often find in a Pinot at this price anymore.
Just down the road from NOPA is The Independent, an ever-present club space that has had many names and incarnations. In keeping with the neighborhood crawl, I’ll feature a Bay Area band that plays here often and a tune that has a bounce that reminds me of summer celebrations. ALO, for Animal Liberation Orchestra, has roots in both Santa Barbara and San Francisco, and has hit on a sound that is a great combination of rootsy, funky, jammy musical flavors, a blend as interesting - and a description as applicable - as our wine choice. This acoustic version of “Blew Out the Walls” from a visit to the Relix magazine building is a great example of ALO’s approach, with an electric version here offering a good counter balance.
As a side note, they’ll be part of the wonder that is the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, which takes place for free in Golden Gate Park over the course of a weekend in early Oct. Check them out if you can. Cheers everyone!