December 2013

California Winemakers in NYC

By: Lana Bortolot
When California producers want attention for a new wine, they come to New York. And sometimes, they leave with attention-getting souvenirs, as was the case with Wild Horse winemaker Clay Brock.

Clay Brock.

Last time we saw Brock, he wasshowing new vintages of the Pinot Noir for which he's known. He didn't have a huge bandage on his leg.

Brock returned to Manhattan to get inked by celebrity tattoo artist Scott Campbell (who happens to be married to another celebrity, actress Lake Bell), and to help celebrate the launch of their joint venture, " Saved," named after Campbell's Brooklyn tattoo studio.

They launched Saved with two wines: the red is a mind-boggling nine-varietal blend sourced from Napa, Sonoma Central Coast coming in at 15.2%. The rosé blends seven grapes, including Wild Horse estate-grown Cabernet Franc (53%) and Sangiovese (20%), which Campbell calls a "pink wine for tough guys."

The bottles bear specially designed "tattoos" by Campbell, and launched in select markets in nine states. There will be a national rollout by year's end with 450 cases of rose ($15 SRP) and 5,500 cases of the red ($25 SRP).

Brock's tattoo, the alchemy symbol for fermentation, will have healed by then.

Vintners Hall of Famer Joel Peterson arrived to launch " Besieged," the newest offering from the Ravenswood winery (sadly, he left his signature black cowboy hat at home, but we recognized him anyway).

Known as the Father of Zinfandel, Peterson built his New World portfolio utilizing Old World techniques: single vineyard designations, old, low-yielding vines. He replicated that formula with Besieged, his first new wine in more than four years, sourced from seven vineyards in Sonoma.

"It's an iconic wine of black field blends," says Peterson, who notes its price (SRP $16) will attract gateway collectors as well as consumers of other California icon wines.  Carignan (35%) is the predominant variety, blended with Petite Sirah (20%) and Zinfandel (18%).

Its name recalls the challenges of his first harvest in 1976, completed during a thunderstorm with a circle of ravens overhead. Besieged was released nationally in time for Halloween, but the 12,000 case production likely will last through the holidays. The wine will continue to be produced in limited quantities with an annual release each fall.

Joel Peterson.

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