Over the last little while I’ve noticed that the Rolling Stones appear on a whole lot of wine out there, or at least it seems that way. On California wine from Mendocino, Canadian ice wine, and sometimes on wine where it’s pretty damn impossible to figure out where the wine comes from or even what grapes are involved.
This is nothing new and other celebrities from Elvis to the Grateful Dead have gotten in on this. After all, beyond the wine itself, these items exist as collectibles and the bottles will surely last sealed and cherished long after the Best Before date of the juice inside, and dare I say it, even beyond the seemingly unending the lasting power of the Stones themselves.
What’s interesting is the depth of the Rolling Stones band’s and brand’s involvement. This is a global brand with amazing reach so why do the Stones tongue logo, and for example, the names of their most memorable tunes Satisfaction and Sympathy for the Devil appear on the labels of a small release of Canadian ice wine? Perhaps it’s just another conquest in a long line of supermodels, platinum records and other triumphs. Though the Stones have apparently tried the Pinot Noir ice wine and have given it the thumbs up, says Jeff Harder, owner of Ex Nihilo winery in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, where the wine hails from.
Whatever the reason, the business model is working both for the celebrities and the wineries. Sales of celebrity based wines have been on the rise the last few years. Gary Vaynerchukonce said that celebrity wines are “the next new marketing oasis”, but that oasis is running dry. Market saturation and overload are close at hand, but in the spirit of the Stones, why bother with those dreary details. No, let’s concentrate on the rock ‘n’ roll, and at least for now, a good – or even half decent – wine can be a part of that rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.
A dude by the name of Mark Brooks brought this cool video to my attention. With all of us de-stressing after the culmination of the 2012 US election, this is a perfect a dose of elaxed wine fun as any. Enjoy!
Big news this week about Disney buying up Lucasfilm and with it the Star Wars franchise. You might know that George is in the wine game with his Skywalker Vineyards, but as we wait for Star Wars on Ice and a slew of new Disneyfied Jedi flicks to hit the theaters over the next Millennia or three, I ponder what wine would a Jedi drink?
One’s Force-sensitive mind can first turn only to the the Jedi High Council. When these academic space knights ponder the balance of good and evil in the universe in their ancient kick-ass wisdom, wine must the best thinking man’s companion. Hidden deep under their palace must be wine cellars built during the glory days of the old Republic, stocked row upon row with liquid more elevated than some high-yield, Australian plonk or, even more unlikely, yet another clone varietal approved by the mess of an Imperial Senate. I mean, can you picture Sam L Jackson downing a Two Buck Chuck before dispensing with yet more of Palpatine’s droid lackeys?
But of them, Yoda, the gnarliest of them all, would surely go for something even more old world. Perhaps an old vines red that personifies a terroir of suffering and rigor, from a long-forgotten stone-rimmed clos, of vines that have railed quietly against the vile elements and poxes of phylloxera and its ilk. A Mourvedre from Bandol or Chile’s forgotten Old Vine Cariganane.
With the skywalking Luke himself most likely going Romney on us (though if you find him in a bar at some grimy spaceport, he’d assure you he’s drinking a Sardinian Cannonau, because to a young swashbuckling whose adrenalin is laced with too many midi-chlorians, Cannoanau sounds like a cool thing to drink) and Darth Maul surely preferring over the top fruit-bombed oak monsters of country clubbing Cali cab cults, a wine geek can only turn to Darth Vader for a finer palate. If our first true Sith love were ever to touch down on our fair little planet without going all Alderaan on us, I’d dare to think he’s a Bordeaux man, willing to wait out the years and trilogies and coax out the best from a tight, young Pomerol that with time he would uncork on us as a mean, aged menace of a Merlot.
With the Siths accounted for, I think, we turn our eyes to the greybeard who got the ball rolling so many years ago – Obi-Wan. Luke only knew Ben Kenobi as a recluse hermit before galavanting to the Death Star with him on the old coot’s journey to suicidal elevation. And what would a lonely old hermit (with unnaturally neatly cropped beard, mind you) sip on as he waits for his death duel? Pondering your destiny at the wrong end of a Sith lord’s laser sword calls for nothing other than the distraction of a complex Viognier white wine from Condrieu, that windswept godliness of steep hillsides in France’s Rhone valley.
Oh wait… oh dear… I’m feeling that all too familiar tingle of the beginnings of a force choke hold (or is that my peanut allergy acting up? Damn you, Halloween candy). The Emperor – that wily rascal – mind-blocked me. But as my wife knows, I can’t resist the lure of the dark side and all the swill it has to offer, and the Emperor can’t keep my prying eyes from his stash. And if Vader’s drinking a Petrus worth a couple grand, the Emperor won’t be outdone and has had his minions scanning star systems far and wide for starship wrecks to enjoy outrageously priced Chateau Lafites of bygone centuries. And trust me, if it’s gone all vinegar on him, he’s so puckered up already, you won’t know it. Be warned, though, that if you’re stuck in a room with Palpatine, he’s gonna draw comparisons between the eventual domination of the wine world by Lafite and its mighty Bordeaux ilk and his own eventual domination of the galaxy. In this case, walk away. Just walk away.
And so we have come to the end of our journey to a galaxy of wine long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. May the force be with you and your sipping habits, and remember, when shopping for that Thanksgiving wine for dinner at the in-laws and you’re in the store by the animal logo wines, it’s good to remember that fateful line from the assault of the first Death Star, “Stay on target, stay on target” and head for something more, shall we say, Force-sensitive. If not, well, she might have this in mind…
Remember when those two creepy twins in your neighborhood would skip rope and chant “One, two, the oak monster’s coming for you, three, four, better lock your cellar door…?” No? Well, listen up anyway. Cue ominous voice…
Winemakers of days gone by knew something we have forgotten. Something we should never forget. To not play with oak. To respect it. Even fear it. For there lurks a monster as old as wine itself.
So why did we forget? Maybe recent years have been kind to us, the wave upon wave of terroirists and millennials storming the blasphemed halls of the Overoaked One. Now, all but the Bordelais – and those wacky country clubbing Cali cult cab cults – have stopped kneeling at the its altar. Even the mind of Dr. Vino-stein has marveled at the possible death of the oaken beast at the hands of a poison economy. The oak monster is dead. Parkerized and buried deep within the recesses of an ancient Maryland lair.
But it’s name has been uttered again. An innocent enough article in defense of oak by one wine dude, – yes, that wine dude – who with cojones only The Dude can muster, daring it so close to all hallow’s eve. But it would have dire consequences as the beast fed on it, the ensuing chatter in the Twitter void unknowingly opening a portal into its dark dimension of vanilla nightmares and caramel screams.
And on this all halloween night, it’s blood spilling on house party rugs across the land, its splinters impaling your palates, fruit bomb-soaked two-by-fours slithering up million dollar noses, it is unleashed.
Is that the barrique of fear I smell on you? Where can you turn? Who will help you? The Vayniac legions and their fearless leader Garyvee – who legend has it dared dance with the monster – have long since disbanded. The Rhone Rangers, neutral to your battle, watch on like elders of yore. You are your only hope. But no holy crosses or garlic here. Just a balance of acid in one hand and a fistful of vegetal notes in the other, and get ready to rumble. And like my ma always said “In for a palate fight, you gotta aerate right”, because when the oak monster comes a-knocking, it’s gonna get awful toasty in here.
The Drinks Business has this great article on some liquor-themed tattoos. You’ve got your run of the mill Captain Morgans and Bacardi bats, but there’s some fun wine tats sprinkled in there from a magnificent Petrus to the already mentioned Assmanshausen, which is positioned, well, appropriately.
If you have a wine-themed tattoo, give us a shout back. Or just link it up here!