It’s a great honor to have a winery owner make an appointment to hand deliver his latest wine to me at my home. Now, lest you begin to think, what a fancy schmancy winery it is let me explain:
- Rebel Coast Winery is run by, well, rebels in the wine industry, including Kate Sieberlich, and winemaker Chip Forsythe. My visitor, owner Doug Burkett, whose business card reads “VP of Sales, Pro Mechanical Bullrider”, also has his cell number imprinted onto the corks. Doug is there for his customers, literally, and they call and text photos to him often.
- Doug is known to sell or give away wine, one instance involved newlyweds in a car next to his VW Van…driving on the freeway. He said he’s handed wine through a car window at least 30 times.
- When you see Doug pouring at an event ask him to saber off the top of a bottle. The organizers don’t approve, but, again, they are rebels. Or what Doug likes to say, “We’re not your parent’s winery.”
- Rebel Coast Winery bottles don’t have labels, instead they have the information screen printed in glow in the dark ink.
- Marketing “accessories” include car dent covers with a drawing of Chip’s signature mustache with sayings such as “Mustache: it’s like yoga pants for your face”, “Lets got wine tasting on the couch tonight”, “Who wants a Mustache Ride?” and “Don’t be a dick.” The dick reference is to all of Champagne, France, that complained when Rebel’s Pink Panda sparkling wine debuted, and though the bottle didn’t say Champagne the rebels used the term in their marketing.
- More accessories include banners and table talkers with photos of film and TV stars – again, no copyright infringement intended but the rebels will respond to an order to cease and desist. And my personal favorite, a bottle neck hanger that reads “Rated 95 Points” on one side and on the other it says, “By Your MOM! *Zing*”
- After Doug’s visit with me he also visited Newhall Refinery and Pinot’s Palette, so look for their new 2012 Reckless Love when you visit either. They are now in 9 states, including Canada. Their big clients at the moment are in Texas, Wisconsin and Ohio. And look for their tasting room in Sonoma Square to open in 8 months.
- Of final note, Doug said the perception of a winemaker is that they are somehow “untouchable” and the rebels are never going to want to be perceived that way.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley, Sonoma; and Syrah from the Westside of Paso Robles. 14 % (admitted) alcohol.
Back side: I don’t want to give this away completely, but I will say that the statements written on the bottle prompt the buyer to ignore their parent’s advice, kiss a stranger and enjoy a wild night of reckless love. Now, let’s see how the wine tastes:
Aroma: A bowl full of crushed red, blue and black berries, cracked black pepper, roasted meat, wet bark and milk chocolate. Not a bad combination.
Flavor: Good round mouthfeel, juicy, mild tannins, blueberry, blackberry, mid palate spice but fruit overpowered that, and then the spice comes back at the finish. Definitely drink now, be a rebel.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a guest judge for the L.A. International Wine Competition. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column.