I have a special place in my wine columns for musicians who have made it in the mad world of rock ‘n roll, then turned to what they thought was the more serene, relaxed life of making wine…until they made their first bottle and got way more excited.
 
There is a meaningful bond that links these two dynamics together and the talent and passion that created pop music hits, can be applied to creating great wines.  An interview I had a few years ago with the legendary rocker Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac brought this home, when 
he embellished on Robert Mondavi’s priceless quote that wine is like “Poetry in a Bottle.” Fleetwood’s take on the subject is that the creativity of the process of making wine and songs are no sure thing and in both, you have to hold your breath and hope the public accepts what you present, while you scream for acceptance.
 
The latest adventure of a pop musician bringing a new and exciting wine to market is Rockabilly Red, ( $35.) created and owned by Lee Rocker of the 80’s Rockabilly band, The Stray Cats. The group scorched the charts with famous songs like “Rock This Town” and “Stray Cat Strut,” and despite several break-ups, Rocker still tours to this day.
 
Rocker collaborates on his Rockabilly Red with Kristian Story, the Napa Valley winemaker who creates hand-crafted, unfiltered big, bold wines from small lots that express individual character.  His location near St. Helena is considered the most intense fruit in the valley.  Rockabilly Red is barrel aged 24 months in new French Oak and is a well balanced, muscular 15.3% alcohol wine, mating up with BBQ Pork, Pizza and of course, Rock ‘n Roll.
 
I caught up with Rocker in Temecula at Ponte Winery’s new Cellar Lounge and he had this to say about his new wine. “It was a blast working with Kristian.  You know, it’s a lot like Rock n Roll in a way.
 
The people who make wine and the people who make rock ‘n roll have the passion and the love in what they do and hope that it shows in the end result.  The personalties are so similar.” Don Harbour of Golden Crown Productions in Temecula handles marketing and has set up Artists Wine.com to handle orders for Rockabilly Red.
 
Lee Rocker will be headlining a special concert at Wiens Family Cellars in Temecula, Friday August 24th starting at 7pm.  Tickets are on sale for the event through Golden Crown Productions, with General Admission $45., VIP General Admission $95. and VIP Tables for 4 are $395. each. Access www.goldencrownproductions.com/buy-tickets/  or phone 888-276-4008.
 
Tolosa Wines Featured at Rossi’s San Marcos
Rossi’s Italian Restaurant in San Marcos doesn’t do many special wine dinners, but when they do, I pay attention. Owner Marshall Bryer finds little-known but high quality wineries, mainly in the Central Coast area of California and spotlights them, such as his latest find, Tolosa Winery.  Tolosa is sustainably farmed in the Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo. The cool ocean breezes and long summers define the vineyards. Rossi’s started out with a lovely Caesar Salad with Tolosa’s ’09 Chardonnay. ($25.) Natural Pear and Apple flavors dominate.
The other signature wine from Tolosa is Pinot Noir ($30).  Between the two, they make up 80% of the estate vineyard.  Rossi’s selected Chicken Parmesan as a mate. The ’09 had solid quality and good production, according to winemaker Larry Brooks.  He likens each harvest to “dancing with a new partner that you know very little about, so you have to figure out their unique moves to get the best results.”  See more about Tolosa at www.tolosawinery.com.
 
Wine Bytes 
San Diego Wine Company on Miramar Rd. is having a Taste of Oregon, Sat. Aug. 18 from 11 to 4pm.  Cost is $10. ea.  Call 858-586-9463.
Temecula Wine Country’s newest improvement is Callaway Vineyard and Winery.  See the new upper deck Sat. Aug. 18 at their Taste of Summer Seminar, from 10am to 12:30pm.  Learn about fermentation and the winemaking process. Call 951-676-4001 for cost.
 
Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View and link up with his columns at www.tasteofwinetv.com.  Reach him at [email protected].
 

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