Jolie-Laide, a micro-wine label by Scott Schultz, has attracted out-sized attention for what’s in the bottles: Trousseau Gris, Pinot Gris, and Syrah, all from single-vineyards in California. But with the current vintage, the outside of the bottles have also been turning heads since the labels depict nude line drawings.
Schultz says he varies the labels of the Jolie-Laide (translated as “pretty-ugly”) wines every year. Last year, a calligrapher designed the labels. This year, it is tattoo artist Kapten Hanna who sketched the art for the 280-case production.
John Trinidad posted the above picture to Instagram with the comment, “This wine label is HAWT! And the wine is gorgeous, too.”
Schultz, a former sommelier who currently works at Wind Gap wines, said “We were hoping because it’s just black and grey sketch art, it would remove the sexuality and evoke more a simplistic, old-school approach to the wines.”
Apparently the TTB thought the labels were HAWT too–but not too HAWT to handle. The Pinot Gris (left above) and the syrah (not pictured) passed in the first go-round but the Trousseau Gris needed a second review before getting the green light on July 15. Interestingly, small wines can apply to the TTB for a “certificate of exemption from label approval” and sell their wines only in-state, bypassing the need for federal approval. But with the TTB’s stamp of approval, these wines can now be sold in markets such as New York City, where Shultz says the wines have some fans already.
What do you think — if you were an administrator, would you give these labels a thumbs up? Or, as a consumer, does it pique your interest in the wine?
While I have some quibbles with it (why call it a 7% “majority”? Why is Merlot mentioned in the middle graphic?), it nonetheless provides some good information at a glance. Check it out in reduced size here or in full res over at the Chow Studio site (or a KCET story about the tasting). It might even make you want to seek out something new–or even try for an uber-difficult domestic version of the Wine Century Club. Read more…
Rupert Murdoch, vintner? It’s true. Unlike fellow billionaire Warren Buffett who has invested on the less glamorous (but more profitable?) distribution side of the wine biz, the media magnate is going for the glitz–near Hollywood, no less. He’s buying what may well be the only commercial vineyard in LA, the 16-acre Moraga Estate in Bel Air that was listed for $29.5 million. Murdoch broke the story on Twitter of all places; now the story has been picked up real estate blogs, which have abundant photos. The seller is Tom Jones, former CEO of Northrop Grumman.
I wonder if the wine will now have a certain, er, foxiness to it? If he were to rename it, what would it be called?
From North Carolina to Connecticut, billions of creatures with eyes the color of blood and bodies the color of coal are crawling out of the earth. Periodical cicadas are emerging en masse, clambering into trees and singing a shivering chorus that can be heard for miles.
What makes this emergence truly remarkable, however, is how long it’s been in the making. This month’s army of periodical cicadas was born in 1996. Their mothers laid their eggs in the branches of trees, where they developed for a few weeks before hatching and heading for the ground. “They just jumped out and rained down out of the trees,” said Chris Simon, a cicada biologist at the University of Connecticut.
Those Clinton-era larvae then squirmed into the dirt and spent the next 17 years sucking fluid from tree roots. NYT
Welcome back! I’m sure after 17 years of sucking fluid from tree roots–as sweet as that is–you’re probably read for something a little stiffer, like a good glass of wine.
A lot has changed in the wine world since you were born in 1996 and then stumbled into your Rumpelstiltskin impression. Let’s start with that Bordeaux Read more…
Finger Lakes wines, particularly Rieslings, have gotten a lot of recent attention. So I thought I would check in with them for a piece currently on wine-searcher.com.
One wine that came up repeatedly was the Ravines Dry Riesling (as well as their Argentsinger Vineyard one). I picked up two bottles of the 2012 for $14.99 each and poured them for discerning audiences. First, my wife, who is not generally a huge Riesling fan but she gave this one a thumbs up. I rated it a leading patio pounder for Summer of Riesling 2013. Then I opened the second bottle for my NYU class and poured it blind. Before revealing what it was, I asked them how many of them liked it. All hands went up. When the bag came off the bottle, they were all surprised and doubly impressed.
It seems to be a common reaction with the best Finger Lakes wines, as Thomas Pastuszak from NoMad shares in the piece.
Which are your favorite Finger Lakes wines? Do you think the region is overrated or underrated?
Bob and Elinor Travers bought Mayacamas Vineyards in 1968 when they were just 30 years old. Bob made the wines from the vineyards high above the floor of the Napa Valley ever since. John Gilman lauds Mayacamas for not succumbing to the “tides of fashion,” calling it “one of the greatest cabernet sauvignon producers in the history of California.”
So it is big news today that the Travers have sold the property. The new owners are Charles Banks and Jay Schottenstein and his son Joey. While the Schottenstein family fortune come from retailing, such as American Eagle and DSW, Charles Banks heads Terroir Selections, a group focused on acquiring vineyards around the world. Banks was a former co-owner of Screaming Eagle.
With investments Sandhi and Wind Gap, in particular but also Fable in South Africa, Banks has become a major underwriter of restraint and balance in the wine world. Asked via Twitter who will be making the wines at Mayacamas, Banks replied, “Andy Erickson in the winery and Annie Favia in the vineyards. me making sure we keep the style and respect Bob Travers legacy.”
In an article about their new Favia wines in 2010, the SF Chronicle wrote “It’s hard to imagine a more formidable wine duo than Andy Erickson and Annie Favia.” And as to the big buzzword of the day, Favia said in the story that “the goal is balance, balance in your wines and balance in your life.”
From the aisles of California retail, a site reader sends in news of perhaps the ultimate closeout–wine for a penny a bottle.
What’s interesting is that this special offer, only available to CVS cardholders who also purchase a 18(!)-pack of Bud or Tecate (do they mean orange wine?). Incentivizing wine purchases through beer. Soft economy be damned–we’re going to boost that rise in per capita wine consumption going one way or another! Read more…
Climate change threatens to redraw the wine map over the next few decades. That we know. A new paper suggests that the establishment of new vineyards in cooler areas will endanger the habitat of animals ranging from grizzlies to pandas.
The findings seem to be structured to grab headlines and cause alarm–who would ever want to hurt pronghorn elk or pandas in the quest for a glass of pinot noir? Sure, the wine industry might need a prod to improve water management or reduce pesticide use. But are there concrete examples where vineyards have threatened habitats and how the potential conflicts were resolved successfully or not? In the absence of such concrete examples, it seems a bit like a bogeyman. I visited vineyards in Constantia last year, right up against the Cape of Good Hope nature preserve, which has abundant biodiversity and the vintners there spoke of living with baboon raids on grapes and how there was little they could do about it.
The paper largely ignores practicality and politics. If the climate is changing, wouldn’t there be other (e.g. housing) development pressure in cooler areas? Would other shifts in the environment of the wildlife alter the habitat more than a fenced-in vineyard? And what about preservation efforts–land use regulations in Napa, for example, essentially rendered hillside vineyard development impossible over a decade ago. And pointing to the declining vineyard area of Algeria is a red herring since it was once administratively part of mainland France at the height of French wine consumption, only to have the market removed after independence.
The map of the world’s vineyards will indubitably include new lands 50 years from now and it’s good that the paper again brings this into the popular discussion. New vineyards should be developed in a responsible way, using policy and including consideration for wildlife. But if we’re all drinking grand cru Montana in 2050, we’re going to have a lot more to think about than wine–and so will the grizzlies. Read more…