Vinyl&Wine 29: Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside + Pellegrini Petit Verdot

I spend 40 hours a week, 650ish miles a week in my car as a wine and spirits specialist. I visit over 50 accounts a week selling magical snake oils and stories. The weather has been cooling, leaves are warming in color, and my ear candy has been stuck on soulful women. You can tell from Vinyl&Wine 28, my music preferences turn soulful in the fall. Sometimes I wake up and need a little more grease in my day. I’ll spend the day listening to some of the legends of Rockabilly, Roots, and Steady Beat Driving Music, but when I arrive home, the first vinyl to land on the record player is Untamed Beast by Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside released just last year.

Sallie Ford, known for her Bessie Smith, Tom Waits, Janis Joplinesque voice, brings a unique blues based sound reminiscent of the surf rock/ rockabilly days of the 1950s and 1960s. Originally from North Carolina, Sallie Ford transplanted herself to Portland, Oregon where her band The Sound Outside was formed in 2007.  Upon first listen, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside has a fun, clean throwback sound. As you listen to her lyrics you realize the rebel inside. The raw lyrics show emotional intensity, clever phrasing, and deep angst. The Sound Outside is like a beauty queen winner with hidden skull and crossbones tattoos; quite enchanting and surprisingly dangerous. Their recent Untamed Beast release is a vinyl I spin, pour a glass of wine, and just sit back in my large loveseat and just listen to the vinyl solo. Untamed Beast calls for a wine that may be a bit of a loner, feminine yet brooding, and deceptively precarious. I’ve had a few bottles in the cellar for a while, but one of my favorite wines in from Long Island, New York, produced by Pellegrini Winery, the North Fork Petit Verdot.

I traveled to the North Fork to visit wineries in 2006 and though I was already a fan of many wines from there, I was blown away by the vast amount of wines that were above average. I was really impressed with the sauvignon blancs and merlots of the region, but the winner for was at Pellegrini Winery and Vineyards. The petit verdot grape itself is typically a minor blending grape and it is very rare to see a 100% labeled varietal bottle. It is typically a grape used in Bordeaux style blends in very minor percentages. Its main objective is to add color and strong tannins, like the drummer in a swinging jazz band would add; firm backbone and pizazz. The reason not many people even attempt to produce a petit verdot is because what it has in tannins in color, it lacks in acidity and overall fruit flavors. Pellegrini, situated in the maritime climate, has figured it out and found out that it can stand on its own. Pellegrini makes a full bodied, medium acidity, rich in black fruit flavors, herbaceous aromas, and intense length. Every sip seems to change on the palate and fruit flavors come and go. It is the Untamed Beast of Long Island and is a perfect match of drink while listen to Sallie Ford sing her soul out from song to song.

When listening to Untamed Beast and drink some Petit Verdot, you can lose yourself in reverb, rasp, and tannins. You will flip from side A to side B then back to side A and B again. If you can’t find Pellegrini where you, try and have them ship you some. If that won’t work, then look for one from Australia, or Virginia. Those are about the only other two regions in the world where you will be single varietal Petit Verdots with style. 

Vinyl&Wine 23: Drake Bell + Cline Dry Rosé

Like a psycho stocking up on Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, I buy anything that has Brian Setzer’s name on it. I bought a vinyl at the record store by Drake Bell called Ready Steady Go! because I noticed it was executive produced by Brian Setzer on Surf Dog Records; and even featured him on guitar on a song. I thought out loud to myself, “it’s gotta be good, right?” I wasn’t wrong at all. Ready Set Go! Is a collection of well written songs including, guitar solos, jazz fiddle, thundering upright bass, blues/ Dixie piano, and covers from Billy Joel, Stray Cats, and Elvis. The record is reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s rockabilly and rock n’ roll styles.

Though the vinyl is great, I still didn’t know who Drake Bell was and to my surprise, he is freaking huge. With millions of fans around the world, I was curious why I hadn’t heard of him before. Turns out, Drake Bell is TV/ Movie from the show Josh and Drake, and the Amanda Bynes Show on Nickelodeon. Yes, I said the Amanda Bynes show (Insert Amanda Bynes joke here.) His fans consist mostly of youngsters who followed those shows. Well I am happy to say I am now a fan for his music and choice of music style. I watched a Youtube video about the making of this record and he and I had a lot of similarities when we first heard the Stray Cats as children. We both wanted to go out and buy a big orange guitar. He did. We both wanted to pile our hair high. We both did. We both wanted to play in a band. Both did it. We both wanted to be good at it. He is, I can just barely get by. On Ready Steady Go! Bell channels the vibe of many artist including the Stray Cats and a little bit of Django Rhienhart on the song Bitchcraft, Gene Vincent, and many more. The stand out song for me is his cover of I Won’t Stand In Your Way a classic Stray Cats cover that was my favorite song as a kid. Bell crushes it. It made me happy. When I listen to this vinyl it makes me happy and jealous at the same time. It is an uplifting and a breath of fresh air to play this vinyl and with it, you need to pop the cork on a glass of something inspiring and full of summer freshness. It’s the spring time and the only wine that will do is a Dry Rosé.

I love dry Rosés from all over the world. The best come from the old world, Southern France and a close second for me is California, though they tend to be a little richer with less acidity. I have had rosé from Argentina, New York, Virginia, Italy, Austria, Australia, and New Zealand, and they are all pretty tasty. Made at the historic Oakley Ranch in Contra Costa County, the Mourvèdre Rosé by Cline Cellars is a perfect pairing for Drake Bell’s Ready Steady Go! Vinyl. The wine is made in a true “blanc de Noir” fashion where the juice is pressed from the skins before the fermentation process begin making a mostly white wine, though small amounts of color do bleed out into the wine giving it its soft rosé hue. As the folks at cline noted, ““A fun and festive rosé, with floral raspberry and vanilla aromas and user-friendly watermelon, cherry and spice flavors.” I wouldn’t disagree and the good part is that it is sold all over. The wines from Cline have always been great and sold at great values, but the Rosé is young, lively, and fresh just like Drake Bell.

Ready Steady Go! Is a great record and I highly recommend it with a glass of dry rosé. There is young energy pouring out of both using old vessels; the sounds of the 1950s and wine styles from the old world. Is it nice to see the youthful exuberance take hold of older styles. So do yourself a favor and go out and pick up both at your local shops and keep the needle droppin’ and cork poppin’.