Zac Brown Band highlights the BottleRock Napa Valley musical lineup
Any local conversation during the month of May inevitably involves the favorite topic of off-season travel. Beach, surf, sun, desert—warm locales are what Aspenites desperately crave after a long ski season. Mix in Napa wine country and live music? Consider it booked. Many Aspenites are traveling further West to the inaugural BottleRock Napa Valley festival held May 9-12. A four-day affair with stellar music, vintners, culinary cache, and comedy, this one-stop-shop for California entertainment is right up our alley.
"This is a festival for music-lovers with a palate," says BottleRock co-founder Bob Vogt. "BottleRock offers festival-goers the best in Napa Valley food, wine, and beer. Where else can you see this many musicians and comedians and have access to shaded areas, seating, and restrooms? [It] has something for everybody!”
First, the musical lineup: Leading bands include The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, The Black Crowes, Jane’s Addiction, Zac Brown Band, The Shins, The Avett Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, Alabama Shakes, and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, among others. With more than 80 bands performing over four days, the musical gamut crosses nearly all genres and will certainly pack a loud punch. Held on three stages over 26 acres of the Napa Valley Expo grounds, the music alone is worth tapping those frequent flier points.
Next, the epicurean extravaganza. Napa and Sonoma Valley are a top escape during an Aspen off-season; the Roaring Fork Valley claims a surprising amount of master sommeliers and town has a serious obsession with wine. On tap at Bottle Rock are more than 50 wineries and artisan brewers, with featured vintners including Silver Oak, Miner Family, Rombauer, St. Supery, Grgich Hills, Beaulieu Vineyard, and Hahn Family Wines, to name a few. Acclaimed chef and restaurateur Cindy Pawlcyn will helm the festival’s culinary execution, sharing the spotlight with celebrity chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Ken Frank, and Todd Humphries. The list of participating Napa eateries and food purveyors is equally of note, including Mustards Grill, Oenotri, ZuZu, Grace’s Table, The Girl & the Fig, Azzurro Pizzeria and Enoteca, Tra Vigne, Fish Story, Farmstead, The Model Bakery, C Casa, Barbers Q, and Gott’s Roadside.
And let’s not forget there’s comedy, to boot. In the midst of all this wining, dining, and dancing, the country’s top comics promise plenty of laughter, too. Jim Gaffigan, Demetri Martin, Aasif Mandvi, Anthony Jeselnik, Tig Notaro, Jim Breuer, Greg Behrendt, Wyatt Cenac, Rob Delaney, and Kristen Schaal, among others, ensure no dull moments.
Given the staggering lineup of musical acts, Aspen Peak asked Nicholas Allen, founder of Carte Blanche Wine and Soulshine Music LLC, for some festival and wine cliff notes. Following are his Top 5 “pairings” of rock and wine, focused on micro-cult wines crafted by acclaimed vintners that have mastered the art of bottling terroir. If you can’t make it to Napa with us, at least you can create a playlist, sample some vino, and pretend you’re there.
1. The Black Keys & Carte Blanche 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. “The Black Keys are one of the best, if not, top, acts on the national touring circuit,” says Allen. “I’d pair this complex rock ‘n roll with a big red—the CB Cabernet is layered, surprising, with big notes, and a real powerful driving force behind it, just like the band.”
2. Jane’s Addiction & 2010 Keplinger Sumo. “If you’ve seen front man Perry Farrell perform, then you know that a bottle of red is most likely in his hand. I’d suggest he drink the Keplinger Sumo--a spicy, bold red that gets you fired up, and can perfectly handle the band’s hard-hitting rock.”
3. Zac Brown Band & Morlet Family Vineyards Couer de Vallée. “It's such a nice blend of cabernet culled from the top to the bottom of Napa Valley, and Zac Brown's music is such a nice collaboration of musical instruments and different musical genres, from country, to bluegrass, to reggae, to rock ‘n roll!”
4. The Black Crowes & 2010 Macauley Cabernet Franc, To Kalon Vineyard. “The Crowes consistently stay in the realm of blues-driven rock ‘n roll, but both the band and this wine offer so much more than one varietal or style could have ever been thought possible. Wines and acts like these are extremely rare, intricate, and passionate, and need to be embraced for the long haul.”
5. Alabama Shakes & Bure Family Wines 2010 Duration. “A perfect pairing for Alabama Shakes; it's got that power and elegance from the cabernet, and that depth and extra ‘umph’ (fruit) and nuance from the Cabernet Franc. These two—the band and the wine—will be around for a long time. Bure is becoming a staple Napa wine for cult-boutique collectors, and The Shakes are becoming a sought after staple on the music scene. I dread another ill-fated and ill-timed loss of talent such as Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Amy Winehouse. Like the finish on the Duration wine, I hope to see longevity in their musical careers.”
For BottleRock Napa Valley festival passes, pricing, and additional information visit bottlerocknapavalley.com
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