Men Should Not Wear Cowboy Hats, and A Vision of Thomas Keller as A Psychopath (Tasting Rocca Vineyards Cab)

Vinted on February 9, 2010 binned in California wine, wine review

I’m sorry, but someone had to say it.

Men should not wear cowboy hats.  Well, most men shouldn’t wear cowboy hats.

They’re not cool.  Cowboy hats look cool on approximately 0.002% of the U.S. population, and most of those are women, so sorry guys – chances are you are not in that population subset.

As evidence, I submit two photos from the Rocca Family Vineyards website.  As is evident in the following examples, Patrick Swayze-style hair appears infinitely cooler than covering that same hair underneath a cowboy hat:

There is wine involved in this, of course – happily, Rocca Cabernet, from Napa’s Yountville area, is a darn sight tastier than Rocca’s cowboy hat-sportin’ fashion sense…

Rocca’s 2006 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is, in a way, a Tale of Two Vineyards.

The first is Grigsby Vineyard, on predominantly clay-loam soils in Yountville, which Rocca claim gives the blend (91% Cab, with the remainder being Merlot with a splash of Cab Franc and Petit verdot) most of its fruit-forward flavor profile.  The second is Collinetta Vineyard, in east Napa and therefore cooler than Yountville, providing the wine’s color depth and structure.

The interesting thing about Napa – and the part that you need to keep in mind when tasting small-production (806 cases), expensive ($75) wines like these – is that relatively small differences in vineyard location can amount to big differences in the fruit (and therefore the finished wine), because the soil types and temperature profiles can change dramatically within short distances.

This can be a bane or a boon to those winemakers trying to create a consistent flavor profile across vineyard lots from different areas – in Rocca’s case, it’s a boon.

The fruit on Rocca’s `06 Cab is lush without being overbearing, and it’s almost entirely red fruits, like stewed red plums.  Sniffing this sucker is like smelling a red fruit pie coming out of the oven, because there’s cinnamon and vanilla and a slight toast – like a pie crust.  But this is not your mom’s fruit pie recipe, this is like fruit pie that Thomas Keller just spent six days working on to perfect the recipe and now he’s having his ‘ah-ha!’ moment pulling this one out of the oven.  “It’s perfect!” he’s screaming, only to no one in particular because it’s late at night in his kitchen after he has spent all week locked in there working on this concoction, his hair a mess, white apron covered in flour and red fruit stains, eyes wild; he looks like a culinary psychopathic murderer.

Or something like that, anyway.

In terms of palate-action, the `06 Rocca is really well-balanced and drinking so well now that I doubt many people would exercise the patience to wait the five years or so that would help to soften up the tannin structure just a tad to really round out this wine.  In fact, you may need to finish the entire bottle just to get the image of a murderous Thomas Keller out of your brain (sorry).

You can purchase Rocca’s Cab on-line.






  • @nectarwine

    Joe, I love your journalistic posts and all, but your wine reviews are the shiz-nit my friend! While you may not garner the controversial comment attention on them to be the top dog for PostRank, this is truly the benchmark for entertaining and informative text reviews of wine!


    P.S. I played guitar in a country band when I was much younger (I needed the money) and I NEVER wore a cowboy had…boots, yes, hat, no, would mess up the mullet.

    • 1WineDude

      Ha! Thanks, my man!

  • Richard Scholtz

    The only people that look good in cowboy hats are, well, actual cowboys, and the majority of actual cowboys don't look good in them, including myself. This should not come as a shock by any means.
    I remember when I was a kid showing cattle at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo seeing all the "city slickers" coming in in the evenings to go to the rodeo. There was enough starch and aqua-net to go around threefold.

    • 1WineDude

      HA!!! Excellent…

  • Kimberly

    Well, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I've seen a couple of the members of the 0.002% part of the population that DOES look good in cowboy hats. I lived in New Mexico for nine years, and some of the Navajo guys who rodeo'd (is that a word?) and did all the other real live everyday farm/cattle/riding/roping stuff looked pretty damn great in them. I think the most egregious fashion faux pas in the pic above is actually the woman in the middle wearing the "Mom" jeans. Now that is a look no one can do well, if you ask me!

    • 1WineDude

      Ah, the infamous Mom Jeans. Hadn't noticed that…

    • Jason

      Hi Kimberly,
      Say what you want to about that womans pants but do you know who she is? That woman is Celia Masyczek, her wines are fantastic. I must agree about the cowboy hats though.

      • 1WineDude

        If the wines are awesome, then I don't care what the winemaker is wearin', I'm drinkin' them!

        • Jason

          I just thought that i would point out who "the woman" was. Funny stuff on this blog though, i will look forward to the next topic of conversation.

      • Kimberly

        I really, truly meant no disrespect. I'm sure her wines ARE fantastic. I'm not really qualified to rate others fashion choices anyway, as someone who was once referred to by her best friend as "the fasion equivalent of the village idiot."

  • Jason Malumed

    Funniest post I've read in a while, Dude. I had the pleasure of eating at French Laundry this past summer, and Chef Keller is a genius. This post definitely makes me wanna go find that wine, I know exactly what you are talking about! Love the cheesy MS Paint edited photos as well haha

    • 1WineDude

      Whaddya mean ceesy??? It took me HOURS! ;-)

      I've actually dined at FL twice (I know… I'm a jerk…) and the 2nd time I was staying at a small place right down the road. I saw Keller take the trash out the back of the place! I'm sure he washed his hands afterward though, right?

      • Jason Malumed

        It wasn't trash, it was obviously a chopped up dead body.

        TMI haha?

        • 1WineDude

          Ha! the secret to their awesome foie gras?

  • ~Steele

    Cowboy hats will get you more chicks than sitting inside writing slag wine comments about other people – EVERYDAY. By the way, the dude on the right is your Dad.

    • 1WineDude

      BEST comeback comment I've gotten so far this year!

      Personally, I've already caught my limit in terms of chicks (1) but your point is well taken…

  • El Jefe

    Women, on the other hand, can often wear cowboy hats, especially if that's all they are wearing. (Cue that Randy Newman song…)

    • 1WineDude


  • garry lehman

    Please take note, as I found out while tasting in Napa, you cannot buy wine from a vineyards website while living in Georgia. There are only a number of states that allow that. Even the Rocca website has the list of approved states that wine can be shipped to and ours is not one of them. That is unfortunate. However if you stop in say, at Sherlocks or any package store, I'm sure that they can order any Napa grape juice for you. Speaking of, it's snowing, it's Friday…seems like a great time for a bottle of Silver Oak! Cheers!

  • David Wallace

    Definitely like this post really funny. Seems like the only time a cowboy hat is good would be to wear it at a costume party.

    • 1WineDude

      Or a rodeo. Let’s give them rodeos.

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