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'Zilla Wine and Tunes Pairing

The two essential elements of the CORKZILLA experience – Wine and music – in a pairing. Our signature feature will continue in 2013, but we've decided to take a break from the grind of producing thoughtful pairings on a monthly basis. Please look for an archive page highlighting our pairings from the past coming soon. Cheers!

What We're Listening to

Keith Richards, "Crosseyed Heart," Republic Records

Gary Clark Jr., "The Story of Sonny Boy Slim," Warner Brothers Records

Warren Haynes Featuring Railroad Earth, "Ashes and Dust," Concord Records

Jason Isbell, "Something More Than Free," Southeastern Records

Phish, "Live Bait Vol. 11" (free digital download)

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, "Chasing Yesterday," Sour Mash Records

Neil Young, "On the Beach," Reprise Records

Massive Attack, "Protection," Circa Records

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, "Black Messiah," RCA Records

Brokedown in Bakersfield, "Live!," Little Sur Records

Ryan Adams, "Ryan Adams," Pax-Am Records

Rich Robinson, "The Ceaseless Sight," The End Records

Jack White, "Lazaretto," Third Man Records

The Wayne Shorter Quartet, "Without a Net," Blue Note Records

Reach out to CORKZILLA

Weekly Wine News Around the Web

A Potentially Odd Pairing: Mogul Donald Trump purchased the Virginia-based Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard for a mere $6.2 million, a far cry from the expectations of the owners. This is one to watch closely to see what the sometime Presidential candidate, the "You're Fired!" television personality, and, oh yeah, the real estate businessman will do with such an asset.

Signs of a slowdown in Asia?: The Asian wine market could be saturated with high-end wine auctions, with a recent event in Hong Kong selling only 68 percent of its lots, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Auctions are often thought to be an important indicator for the high-end wine market. Don't despair, as the report suggests: "And Hong Kong was site of costliest lot sold: 60 bottles of Chateau Mouton Rothschild Bordeaux, one for each vintage between 1945 and 2005, except for 1946. The auction house said a Latin American collector bought it for $123,456, buyers premium included."

California Dreaming: A blogger got some interesting responses to a post about bringing "excitement" back to the California wine industry. Among CORKZILLA's favorites: "Figure out Nebbiolo" and "A little less EGO please…it’s Rutherford not Pauillac." Of course, there's never a paucity of opinion in the wine industry.


A Glass of Wine and Some New Music - What's Better?


By Ben Heskett

This weekend it's time to support your local record store. On Saturday, Apr. 16, it is the official Record Store Day worldwide, a great time to get down to your local record store, buy some new music or a few old favorites that have slipped through the cracks, and support the cause. Let's face it - the iTunes Era has crippled record stores and enough is enough. There is nothing - I repeat NOTHING - like browsing through artists at a local record store. It's starting to become a lost art and it's sad.

What could be better than bringing some new tunes back to the house and caracking open a bottle of wine? I know I will be celebrating this fine day, since record stores have always been close to my heart. You'll find me at the Amoeba Music in the Haight Ashbury section of San Francisco. I'm not sure what I'll buy yet, but the new My Morning Jacket release sounds promising. See you at your local record store!


'Zilla's Weekly Wine and Tunes Pairing

By Joe Colgan

The nice weather is starting to show it's face again here in Southern CA. The rain is slowing down, the trees are blooming and baseball is back. Spring has Sprung! If you find yourself outside enjoying some welcomed warm weather, I'm going to suggest the very responsibly priced Berger's Gruner Veltiner.  Very light and crisp with a taste of citrus and some minerality.  It's a great addition to your backyard quality time. And nothing can get you into that good weather / good feeling mood like a little Stevie Wonder.


By Ben Heskett

The under-appreciated Faces have been enjoying their own renaissance on my musical play list. They’re nothing less than a rock ‘n’ roll treasure, featuring Rod Stewart’s finest moments and excellent guitar interplay featuring future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood (As well as Keith Moon’s successor Kenney Jones on drums).

Check it out:

So what cork do you pop when you’re rocking out? Some might say, “Just open a bottle, any bottle!” but I beg to differ. Great rock ‘n’ roll deserves a great accompaniment. Thus, I would suggest grabbing a hearty red as you soak in the bluesy crunch of this take on “Three Button Hand Me Down.”

A couple of choices from my cellars that I’ve enjoyed recently:

 - Robert Sinskey Vineyards, any late 1990s vintage Cabernet Sauvignon

Or, if you’re inspired by France (Or by the rock 'n' roll debauchery associated with the French Riviera), a fine burgundy, such as:

 - Santenay 1er Cru Rousseau, Vieilles Vignes, Domain Bachey-Legros

Let CORKZILLA know your thoughts - Share your opinions as you share your wine.


California Lifestyle Reaches Hong Kong

By Joe Colgan

Wine consumption and production in China has, year over year, been consistently on the rise at a staggering rate. With the creation of a huge middle class due to a prosperous economy, more and more Chinese are developing a taste for wine. However, about 90% of the wine consumed in China is domestically produced. With such a huge sector of the market binging filled domestically, there seems to still be need and desire to experience wine from outside the GrapeWall.

California Vintage, a chain of California theme wine bars, is slated to make a big impact on Asian markets by introducing small production wineries paired with the California lifestyle of enjoying good food and good wine in a relaxing atmosphere. Their first bar, opened on 1/1/11 and located in a trendy area of Hong Kong, has already proven to be a huge success.


A Celebration of Wine at the SFMOMA

By Ben Heskett

A quick note on an interesting “How Wine Became Modern” exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in advance of it closing on Apr. 17 – Time to get a visit on the calendar!

It’s an interesting exhibition, offering a good overview of wine basics, as well as the designs that wine inspires. I’ve been slow on the draw and only recent found the time to check it out.

A lot has been written about the exhibit. One of the best reviews can be found in the San Francisco Chronicle.

It’s a fun walk through. Though much of the exhibit reviews the events and characteristics of wine that are known to many oenophiles, the presentation of key moments – such as the famed 1976 Judgment of Paris – and elements that make wine so fun only underscores the beauty of an exceptional bottle, or a particularly striking vista at a vineyard.

Let us know what you think of the exhibit…


'Zilla's Weekly Wine and Tunes Pairing

By Ben Heskett

CORKZILLA will delve into the blues and possible pairings in a column shortly, but I stumbled upon this gem from the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band with Warren Haynes and had to share it.

What am I currently drinking with it as I watch the beautiful guitar interplay between Haynes and Trucks? A Samuel Adams Noble Pils. It's hot out here in the Bay Area and it's the perfect beverage for the occasion.

I would say a hearty red, such as a value Cabernet Sauvignon or a Malbec, could go well with such a compelling version of "Comin' Home," one of my favorite songs. Check it out...

By Joe Colgan

This week CORKZILLA would like to give you a little taste of Spain. I'm going to recommend a wine previously mentioned on a earlier 'Zilla posting, the 2008 Cortijo Rioja Tinto, with a sampling of the The Maestro, Andre Segovia...

The Cortijo Tinto is a Tempranillo blend hailing from the Rioja region. It's a easy drinking and very affordable wine with some fruit forward cherry & pepper. A little bit of mineral flavour in there as well. Very nice drinkablity for the price.

Segovia, born in 1893 in the Andalucia region, is widely considered the preeminent classical guitarist of the 20th century.  His playing and technigue has had a profound affect on how I listen and play music. I recommend a very comfortable chair, feet up, and a glass of the Cortijo Tinto (or your favorite wine from Spain) while listening to the Master performing in his native Espana. Let's throw in a little Manchego too...  A great trifecta for a taste of Spain.




Wine $'s and sense

By Joe Colgan

Having just just read a news article about the most expensive wine in Australia (a recently released 2005 Shiraz) commanding as much as $800 per bottle, CORKZILLA thinks this is a good opportunity to open up a discussion about wine prices and hopefully have some readers opine....

First off, let's look at some of the basics that determine most of the price tags we encounter. Location/real estate is the key driver as to why something may cost the way it does. Top quality wine regions can only produce so many grapes per acre by law, so real estate is at a premium. This is why some producers buy grapes from high quality regions rather than deal with the all in costs of planting and managing the vineyards themselves. Some other elements that can factor into prices are: the grape varietals used (flavor of the moment..) or winemaking methods employed (plastic bucket or French Oak). You also might be paying for the pedigree of the label or the rarity of the wine. Perhaps you're paying for some hot shot 'winemaker of the year' who made the juice. Or maybe your paying for the hot new artist who graced their talents on the label, etc, etc... Ultimately though wine prices, like any product, will be determined by the laws of supply and demand.

Despite the fact the global state of economic affairs is at the bottom of the barrel, there are still plenty of people who are doing just fine with their moo-la and some of them like to buy expensive wine. There will always be blue chip small batch wines, like the highly rated one mentioned above, and a large portion of them will always be bought up by the trophy hunter set. But say you weren't buying wine to impress the guy next door, but had the means to do so. Perhaps you purchase wine as an investment, the value of which could rise like the price of oil. But of course it's a gamble, because no matter how advanced your cellar is you may open that bottle one day and tearfully discover it's corked.

Let me point out that we are in no way trying to argue against buying pricey wine here. I'm a strong proponent of 'the higher the price (within reason) the wine, the more pronounced the experience' camp. A $20 bottle compared to a $70 of the same varietal/region/release, etc,... hopefully, is a noticeable difference. A $70 to $250 increase could/should(?) produce a heightened product. Remember, to get a sense of how good wine can be and to set your bar, it's important to try top-notch stuff. But when does the price/value equation start to become muddy? $250 vs $600? Of course this is all subjective and every eno-freak has a different opinion... We'd like to hear yours!! Let's hear your thoughts, either in the comments section below or to our email address: corkzillasf [at]



Weekly Wine News Around the Web

2011 James Beard Foundation Awards Nominees Announced: Since 1986, the James Beard Foundation has been celebrating America's culinary heritage by awarding professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields. CORKZILLA would like to give a special (biased) nod to a few of the nominees that we feel should take home the Gold....

Journalism Awards: Jonathan Gold, LA Weekly “99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die”

Restaurant and Chef Awards

(Best New Restaurant): Benu, San Francisco, Chef/Owner: Corey Lee

(Outstanding Chef Award): Charles Phan, The Slanted Door, San Francisco

(Outstanding Wine Service Award): A16, San Francisco, Wine Director: Shelley Lindgren

(Best Chef: Pacific CA, HI): Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles

Good Luck!!!

Here comes the Stink!: Vineyard owners, winemakers, and grape growers are always having to deal with the many curve balls that Mother Nature can throw there way: Too much sun/not enough sun. Too much water/not enough water. Fire, disease, and of course bugs. Grapes in NY are now being threatened by an invasive insect known as the brown marmorated stink bug, which growers are fearing could be economically devastating to their crops.


Japan Relief

We are all deeply sadden by the immense destruction and turmoil caused by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated large sections of Japan. Here's a recent headline highlighting how the wine industry is starting to organize (and battle red tape) to send relief to those in need affected by this disaster.

If you can, please phone or text 1-800-RED-CROSS to make a donation.


'Zilla's Weekly Wine and Tunes Pairing

By Joe Colgan

Let me start my foray into this new weekly CORKZILLA feature by clarifying that we don't intend to find nor preach the perfect wine/music combo. Such a concept, in my mind, doesn't and shouldn't exist. Over the past few years, a lot has been written about the subject, and it's a topic that we feel doesn't need to be too heady. There's two constants here at CORKZILLA...our love of fine wine and music. This feature is about offering our experiences or ideas about  joining the two at the right moment/place/time..

Try them out. See if you agree/disagree. And please, send us your pairing ideas either in the comments section below or to our email address: corkzillasf [at]

I got to be honest with you, I'm thinking too much about this...too many ideas. But there seems no better way to start this week than to honor the great- Melvin- Sparks (check 3 links), who left us on 3/13. I've had the humbling pleasure of sharing the bill with Mr. Sparks a few times. As I sit and listen to some of his earlier cuts, I'm pairing a wine I've been enjoying lately, Saldo 2008 (Orin Swift) (a full bodied, smokey/cherry Zin), with Melvin's legendary and influential funk/jazz, fluid & velvety soulful guitar playing. Nice combo.

Raise a glass and Enjoy....

By Ben Heskett

In honor of a weekend to be spent in the Florida sunshine, I'm going to kick off this new CORKZILLA weekly feature by pairing a classic duet from Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger with an appropriately chilled, fruit forward Sauvignon Blanc. Perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc of the "value" variety, such as a Kenwood or Geyser Peak, so you don't feel too bad drinking at temperatures that may not allow it to be fully appreciated (A topic to be addressed in a future post). Coincidentally, I heard this tune at the beach bar I was at on St. Pete Beach. Good times.