This year’s Outside Lands festival, taking place August 14 and 15 in Golden Gate Park, is showcasing more than just big bands — Kings of Leon, Al Green, Phoenix, and The Strokes among them. It also features what the festival’s organizers are billing — probably accurately — as “the most extensive wine tasting to be found at a U.S. music festival.”
The festival’s Wine Lands will consist of a a large tent in the park, where wine-thirsty festival-goers have 75 different wines to choose from. Notables on the list of 25 participating wineries include Ridge, Hess, Bonny Doon, Pine Ridge, and Robert Sinksey, and Berkeley’s A Donkey & Goat winery will be serving up its Mendocino Grenache in a keg.
Wines will be sold by the taste and by the glass. For more information, visit http://www.sfoutsidelands.com/wine.
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If you like reading about wine as much as drinking it, there are a couple of new and different titles to peruse this month…. From the University of California Press, we have Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology, from the colorful founder and spokesman of Santa Cruz’ Bonny Doon Vineyards. Grahm takes the reader on a journey through his own personal history with wine, using everything from newsletter excerpts and essays to images of the winery’s famous labels. If you’re a fan of the vintner’s particular sensibility (which I’d describe as a charming mix of pun-addicted, brash, populist and Rhone-reverent), start hinting to your loved ones now that you’d like a signed copy for Christmas.
If you’re craving something a bit more self-consciously serious, consider The Psychology of Wine (Praeger, June 2009) by Evan and Brian Mitchell. The subtitle, “Truth and Beauty by the Glass,” succinctly captures the tone of this well-researched tome from a sommelier son and his psychologist father. It’s serious but not too serious: consider a chapter that compares particular varietals to movies, with Rocky cast as a California Chardonnay (“heavyweight without being serious,”) and a German Riesling likened to Last Year at Marienbad—”cold, austere, impeccably stylish but aloof.” The authors pledge to avoid “the vinous equivalent of Dude, Where’s My Car?” at all costs.
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