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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

Entries in New Zealand (2)


Weekly Wine News Around the Web

Kiwi Sales Momentum: Sales of wine from New Zealand to the U.S. grew 13 percent in the last 12 months, according to the latest data (Map of New Zealand at left). The growth, as reported by the Shanken News Daily blog, is largely based on the continued popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which accounts for more than 90 percent of imports to the U.S., the article said.

Vintage to Add Viansa?: Anyone familiar with the drive to Napa or Sonoma Valley has undoubtedly passed the hilltop Viansa Winery. Now that winery is up for sale for around $15 million, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, with Vintage Wine Estates expected to soon close a deal for the 50,000-case operation. A Vintage Wine Estates spokesperson declined to confirm the deal, according to the report.

Labor Challenges in Napa: As we celebrate Labor Day in the U.S. it’s worth noting the increasing issues facing wineries in Napa Valley, where rising wages, competition for workers and a lack of housing will present challenges moving forward, according to this report from Wines and Vines magazine. The news may present some new dynamics for Napa Valley, but it could be a boon for skilled workers in the area, the report said.

We Won’t: A critic at the Wine Advocate Magazine will stop reviewing wines from Friuli’s Fluvio Bressan after the Italian wine producer waded into an immigration debate in his country with a racist post on his blog. “If you are offended by rants… just don’t read them. If you don’t like me please DON’T buy my wines,” Bressan said in a subsequent blog post, as reported by Inspired idea.

“Smoke Taint” Worries: As if the wanton destruction of hundreds of thousands of beautiful, pristine California forest around Yosemite National Park were not enough, smoke taint from the so-called Rim Fire may now impact the harvest in Calaveras County, according to this report in the Calaveras Enterprise.

Big Year for Cooperage: In another clear sign that the American wine industry has rebounded fro m recessionary times, orders for new barrels are up, according to this report. What could be an issue going forward, according to the Wines and Vines magazine report, is high-quality wood. Barrel storage at the Jordan Vineyard and Winery in Alexander Valley, Calif. is pictured at right.



'Zilla's Monthly Wine and Tunes Pairing

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!