Speak Low And Carry A Big Mourvèdre (The Boz Scaggs Interview)

Vinted on September 15, 2011 binned in best of, interviews, kick-ass wines, sexy wines

What do you do after you’ve more-or-less totally conquered the R&B/Pop and Jazz worlds, and have become so successful in the music biz that one of your backup bands goes on to become a multi-platinum-record-selling act?

In Boz Scaggs’s case, you start up a wine brand. Of course!

Many of you…, uhm… younglings reading this may not be intimately familiar with Boz’s tunes, or his soulful crooning, but chances are very, very good that your parents think he’s the shiz. In 2000, smooth-soul-rocker Boz and his wife Dominique released the first wines made under their Scaggs Vineyard label. Their plantings were started on a bit of a lark in the late 1990s, when a friend suggested they try growing grape vines on their Napa Valley property (and gave them some leftover Syrah he had on his truck). Turned out that friend was onto something – Scaggs Vineyard 2008 Mt. Veeder Montage is a stellar Mourvèdre / Grenache / Syrah blend that’s packing as much soul as any one of Boz’s numerous memorable grooves.

Judging by his responses to my interview questions, award-winning singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs may be a man of many infectious grooves but he’s also a man of relatively few words. When it comes to his wines, however, little embellishment is needed for those who have had the opportunity to taste them.  Boz might “Speak Low,” but his wines carry a pretty loud bang (for the buck).

A quick interview with Boz (who took some time out of a busy and active touring schedule to answer my questions) is below, along with some further thoughts on two recent Scaggs Vineyard releases (tasted as samples).  I suggest listening to the live version of Lowdown while reading it (if that song doesn’t get your booty moving at least a little bit, then you might not have a pulse…).  I’m not sure Boz “gets” my sense of humor (actually, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t get my sense of humor), but I sure “get” his wines – of all of the rock-star-turned-wine-producers that I’ve interviewed, Boz’s releases are certainly among the best (if not the best).

Enjoy!…

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Whose Ratings Should A Wine Drinker Pay Attention To?

Vinted on September 14, 2011 binned in best of, going pro, wine news

Well… whose ratings should a wine drinker pay attention to?  Or, stated with a tad more more grammatical correctness (warning: sounding-like-douche-bag-potential alert!), To Whose Ratings Should A Wine Drinker Pay More Attention?

An American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) working paper with that tile was just released, though, interestingly, it doesn’t actually answer the question.  I will answer it, in a few minutes anyway, but not before torturing you with exposition and report dissection first. Because, well, I’m really just not that nice of a guy.

Despite the bait-and-switch title, the paper starts with a fascinating premise: given that ratings for the same wines vary between professional wine critics (called “experts” in the paper’s lingo), is there an established expert whose ratings correlate closely with those of the general wine-drinkin’ public?

Turns out, there is one – at least,there is one out of the three expert sources that the paper used.

The paper’s authors, Omer Gokcekus and Dennis Nottebaum (no, I do not know how to pronounce those), chose to examine ratings/scores of 120 Bordeaux wines from the 2005 vintage.  The voice of the people was played by the scores for those wines as recorded in Cellar Tracker, subsets of which were then compared with the scores for the same wines as reported by three pro wine critic sources.  Big-time influencer Robert Parker (via The Wine Advocate) was included, as well as Wine Spectator, so they covered the 1.5 most influential wine critics in the U.S.  The third included was Stephan Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, though to be honest I’ve no idea why they included that last one.  Just kidding, Stephen!

Anyway… It’s important to note the results were aggregated, and this makes them a tad misleading because the same wines were not compared between the three pro critics and Cellar Tracker – a subset of the wines were compared (CT to RP, CT to WS, and CT to ST).  These were not the same wines (or the same amount of wines) in each case, so while there will be some wines in the group that were compared against all four ratings sources, there will also be some wines that were only compared between Cellar Tracker and one of the pro sources.  Got it?  Good!

Overlooking that minor cavil, the results are pretty darn fascinating…

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Get Off Your Duff And Turn The Towels Teal For Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month!

Vinted on September 12, 2011 binned in overachiever wines, wine news, wine review

The important part about Turning The Towels Teal is that you can do some good just by drinking wine, which I’m pretty sure most of you reading will agree is the coolest helping-out-a-good-cause activity variant.

Throughout September (Ovarian Cancer Awareness month), Frederick Wildman and Sons will be donating $.50 of the U.S. sales of every bottle of Folonari and Trapiche wines (which they import) to the Turn the Towels Teal® campaign, which promotes Ovarian Cancer awareness and donations. 

If you friend up Wildman on Facebook, they will also donate $1; tweeting about their donation page via twitter will generate a $.50 donation. Now that I think about it, you don’t even actually have to get off your duff to help out. But since getting off your duff will be a lot more fun, here are a couple of Trapiche recommendations to get you started…

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