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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 Robert Sinskey Vineyards (2)


Celebrating Three New Releases

By Ben Heskett

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. – Release parties are largely marketing events for the latest vintages. But three such endeavors last weekend showed just how different these fetes can be. As part of a fun day in Napa, CORKZILLA visited the following wineries debuting their latest: Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Silver Oak Cellars, and Girard Winery. Some random thoughts:

Robert Sinskey: One of my all-time Napa favorites, Sinskey continues to produce solid vintages, with particular emphasis on Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons. Their latest release, the 2010 Pinot Noir from Los Carneros, Napa Valley, is a stalwart of the winery, a terrific example of Carneros Pinot. I can't recommend a release party at Sinskey enough, largely because their accompanying snacks are tremendous – carmelized pork medallions on this day. As some of you may know, Sinskey has long prided itself on the role of food in the enjoyment of wine.

Silver Oak: Wow. I had no idea. Ignoring the fine 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon release for a minute, Silver Oak certainly knows how to throw a large release party (Photo at right). I knew it was a bit more of a “happening” than most release shindigs, but the thousands of people in attendance blew me away. As far as the wine goes, the 2007 Napa release is a terrific vintage with an interesting combination of fruit and spice. Random fact? I did not know Silver Oak has used American oak since the 1970s.

Girard: An early taste of their 2009 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, scheduled for release this summer. Spring Mountain is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) of interest to the ‘Zilla and this wine shows why, with terrific fruit and tannic structure. For more detail, the Girard blog says it all. The winery paired the Cabernet flight they were featuring with some tasty bites – A terrific way to taste wines from these mountain regions.

In addition to the featured wines, the wineries also poured some other vintages. Among the highlights there:

  • The Robert Sinskey 2006 Marcien Proprietary Red from Los Carneros, Napa Valley, a Bordeaux blend that shows surprising layers and depth, with dark fruit and chocolate notes. Not what you might expect from a Carneros blend.
  • The Robert Sinskey 2005 “SLD” Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap District, Napa Valley, a classic Napa Cabernet with the expected fruit flavors along with some impressive earth tones. I’ve been drinking Sinskey Cabernets for years and am always impressed with the results.
  • The Girard 2008 Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2007 Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, two terrific takes on Cabernet at altitude from another terrific producer I’ve enjoyed for years. They’re both young, but filled with terrific fruit – Two for the cellar.

'Zilla's Weekly Wine and Tunes Pairing

By Ben Heskett

As August ebbs away far too quickly, thoughts turn to those things that keep us warm and sustain us after a glorious summer. In the Bay Area, the summer may be just getting started (We hope), with nice temperatures well into October and even November as the fog recedes for a bit. But in the Boston Area where I was raised, the fall chill starts creeping in sometime in September. Perhaps just a hint, but it’s there.

It’s at these times when I often reflect on the state of things, perhaps clean the flat and get ready for a good final few months to the year. To go with this state of mind, I’ve always turned to some of my favorite bands and some of their best songs, one of which is posted below – Talking Heads “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody).” This song recalls earlier times, but it also makes me think about the future for some reason. It goes without saying that Talking Heads are a thinking man’s band, so it comes as no surprise that someone would reflect while listening to them.

My Talking Heads interest has been renewed by another one of my favorite bands - Phish – providing covers of the band at their shows, largely from the seminal album “Remain in Light,” which they covered as part of a now famous 1996 Halloween performance in Atlanta, GA. The common thread – A unique funkiness – is something that seems life-affirming and positive, two musical characteristics that are especially useful as the seasons change.

With that, the pairing – I have to pop one of my favorites for this Talking Heads classic, a constant go-to for me, the Robert Sinskey Vineyards Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir. Looking through the CORKZILLA wine cellar, I’ll have to pull a 2004 vintage of this accessible beauty from Sinskey, with all of the classic Pinot touches – some wild berry and subtle baked spice notes, with earthy tones as well. A true Carneros Pinot Noir classic and a wine I consistently treasure. Enjoy!


By Joe Colgan 

Welcome, everyone, to the weekend! There are only 52 Fridays in 2011. I think we can all agree that there should be more Fridays in our lives. Time to live it up with a little music and wine. With these music and wine pairings that we present to you each week, we don't strive to find the perfect wine/music combo. Such a concept doesn't and shouldn't exist. To reiterate the mission statement  of this weekly feature: 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, and have fun in the process. This week we're going have a little fun and try and tie it all together in a neat package. 

First, we'll start with the wine. On a recent trip to Spring Mountain in Napa, CORKZILLA landed on the shores of Paloma Vineyard, and it was here that I rediscovered the Merlot grape. Until recently, I have spent years away from the varietal due mostly to the lack of complexity and structure or sometimes overbearing fruitiness of many Merlots from California. At one time the market seemed saturated with dull and boring mass produced Merlots. My view was that it's a great grape for blending but not so great as a stand alone. In 2004 Merlot got a big blow to the body by the ridiculous quote, "I'm not drinking any !#*@ing Merlot!", from the hugely popular movie Sideways. It seemed that this scene was a big influence on human behavior as many wine drinkers went into a anti-Merlot campaign for quite some time. 

Sideways the song, not the movie, brings us to the music portion of this pairing with the help of Citizen Cope (a.k.a. Clarence Greenwood). I'm relatively new to the Citizen Cope catalog, but I've been intrigued by everything I've heard and seen so far. He reminds me of G. Love in the way he mixes different styles of music (hip-hop, blues, folk, soul) into a laidback and mellow approach. He has a great ability to create very soulful based grooves that never get in the way of the lyrics. The song in the vid below is "Sideways", from his sophomore LP, The Clarence Greenwood Recordings.

Happily, thanks to a Merlot from Paloma, my view has changed and I'm ready to seek out some other fine examples of what the varietal can do. Please drop us a line and let CORKZILLA know what your Merlot recommendations are!