September 2013
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The Spirit of Jazz in Your Glass

Jazz2013.jpgGet your groovy juices flowing before Jazz Fest Chicago this weekend by uncorking the right libations. For the celebration of this truly American music phenomenon, we’re looking at homegrown wine and spirits to get us in the mood. With the right stuff in your glass, you’ll be be-bopping all the way to the Cultural Center this weekend.

Banshee Wines embodies the spirit of improv that is at the heart of jazz. Five wine industry folks got together with the goal of making delicious juice. Each year, they taste thousands of barrels from high-end producers in Sonoma and Napa and then mix and blend until they have the best elixir they can concoct. Their Marine Layer Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast is smoky, ruby red, and as silky as a three-part harmony. Enjoy the live and tropical beat from their balanced and bright Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.

You could also head to New Orleans in our portfolio for inspiration with the Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum. Add to it a bit of agave nectar, lemon wedges, mint leaves, and club soda, and you’ll have a classic Criollo cocktail straight from the Bayou. The cajun spice will leave you with a kickin’ syncopation on your palate.

In the bubbly mood? Made from the same Cava grapes that launched Raventos i Blanc into a world-class wine, La Vida al Camp Brut Cava is fresh with citrus and grapefruit bouncing on the palate. Imbibe outside while swinging your hips to “Bouncing With Bud” by Bud Powell!

There are so many variations on jazz that you could riff endlessly on this theme, but as long as you keep the improvisational, fun-loving spirit, you’ll be making Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, and Fats Waller proud.

If you don't own a winery, then I guess a garage will do!

TaftStreetBrand4.jpg- California Garagistes - The term “garagistes” originated in Bordeaux in the 1980’s, referring to a group of innovative winemakers who produced exceptional wines in their garages rather than in grand chateaux. Like the renegade French garagistes, Taft Street began in a garage in 1979, stressing quality without pretense. Mike Tierney with brother John Tierney and Mike Martini turned the Tierney family garage into a winery: barrels, stainless tanks, a basket press and hand corker.

- Garagistes Grow Up -
The reputation of Taft Street garage wine grew, and in the early 80’s, they moved the operation to a town of Forestville in Russian River Valley. They released their first wine in 1982. Robert Parker, Jr., rated their wines highly and the label became quite well known. During the 1990’s their distribution grew nationally with awards for their wines popping up in Wine Spectator and other magazines.

PinotFile Remembers: “I can remember drinking Taft Street wines in the early 1980s when I was developing a passion for wine. By 1990, they were producing 20,000 cases of good wine. Unfortunately, Taft Street wondered off the original intended course and was bought by a Manhattan, New York importer. The label soon faded into obscurity. Mike Tierney and Mike Martini resurfaced and reinvented Taft Street eight years ago. Their tagline is ‘Garagistes since 1979.’ The winemaker since 2007 has been Evelyn White (formerly at Clos Du Bois), and the wines have been solid since that time. The principals are holding to a policy of reasonable prices, quality grape sourcing and moderate production. The grapes are brought in from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley.”

Today, Evelyn brings talent and experience to Taft Street that is reflected in their boutique selections. These are great Sonoma wines at fair prices.

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