Weary of Big, Bold Reds? Never!

“Oh she may be weary, young girls they do get weary…” Drinking the same big, bold, red wines…

Big, bold red wines, oh how I love them! Cab, Bordeaux, Petite Syrah, Zinfandel, Brunello di Montancino… week after week, these are my “go-to” vintages. I totally know what to expect from each of these wine types and can purchase bottles with confidence, knowing the grape varietal in the bottle rarely disappoints me. 

Never get tired of that view...

Never get tired of that view...

For my husband’s 50th birthday party, I hired a sommelier to entertain and educate our small group, asking him to pair wines with each dinner course. We’ll call him “Bill”. Actually his name is Bill - no need for anonymity here! I explained to Bill what our wine preferences are, presented the menu and listed my suggestions for each course. He threw out every one my choices of the big, bold reds and expertly paired the food with varietals that would actually enhance the meal. “Have an open mind”, he said. “Get out of your comfort zone.”

I explained that most of our friends also like big, bold reds and that I was concerned that people would be disappointed with the rosé and white selections that were to dominate the evening. That was what I told Bill. In reality, I knew that everyone would enjoy the meal and the carefully paired wines. I was worried about ME not being satisfied with an evening full of “inferior” wines!

Just to prove that I am capable of giving up control (those of you who know me can stop laughing now…), I set out, list in hand, running from wine store to wine store, spending a small fortune on wine I was sure I wouldn’t really enjoy and wondering if it would be in bad taste to open a bottle of my beloved big, bold reds and hide it under the table during dinner… Sensibility prevailed. 

We started with a delicate, dry rosé from the south of France, made from Grenache and Syrah, principally. It had floral and mineral notes, was very pretty in the glass and was appreciated by everyone… even me.

Next up was an Italian white Soave made from a grape I’ve never heard of (Garganega). Party guests raved about this wine with its balanced acidity, peach and mineral notes. It was a very elegant wine indeed, but by this time of the evening, I found myself longing for a little something different, a little something… red. 

The next course did offer us a choice of red or white… the only problem was the red selection was a (drum roll please…) Pinot Noir. UGH. Did I mention I like big, bold reds? Pinot Noir is generally neither of those things.

Course number 4 brought with it a St. Emilion Grand Cru – at last! Full on big, bold flavor from Merlot and Cabernet Franc. I felt like banging on the table screaming “Yes, YES!” like Meg Ryan did in When Harry Met Sally. THIS is what I had been waiting for the entire evening.

I can honestly admit that I did enjoy stretching my palette and trying new wines. (I am so fortunate to have the chance to do this very thing every trip to Napa when planning NVJG!) The evening and the company were perfect and the wine selections really did enhance the food (which is the point of paring the two together, right?). But in the end, I have to be honest… I will never grow weary of my big, bold reds.


The Napa Newbie Diaries - You Might Be Becoming A Wine Snob If…

Hey there Getaway Family,

I can’t believe that August is almost over -- NVJG 2014 seems like just yesterday! Since returning to “normal life” after NVJG 2014, I’ve found it increasingly obvious that I’m becoming a bit of a wine snob. It’s an occupational hazard (working with this festival) to be around premium product, and my palette is starting to notice. Over the weekend, my friend brought over a bottle of Pinot Noir and a bottle of Zinfandel to share with a group of us while we watched some exceptionally terrible movies (good wine + bad movies = lots of laughs). As we opened the bottles, I poured a taste for each for us. My friend asked the natural question:

“They’re both reds. What’s the difference?”

Wine education courtesy of Riedel and Mi Sueno.

Wine education courtesy of Riedel and Mi Sueno.

Wine education courtesy of Silver Oak.

Wine education courtesy of Silver Oak.

I proceeded to describe the wine itself (this Pinot being much thinner than the Zin in color and tannins) and said something about Pinots not being as intense as Zins.

She sort of stared back at me like I was speaking French.

Then she asked, “Can I go wine tasting with you?”

I just had to laugh. One because I probably sounded pretty pretentious in that moment, and two because of just how much my wine education has been shaped by this festival over the past couple years. One of my favorite things about NVJG is how much I learn about wine, and I love being able to bring that knowledge back with me and add a little NVJG to the everyday.  For example, I recently bought a bottle of Black Stallion Cab for a family member as a thank you gift, and it was really special to be able to share that this was the wine we served at the Welcome Dinner back in June. Needless to say, she thought it was delicious.

The Black Stallion Cab.

The Black Stallion Cab.

NVJG 2014's Welcome Dinner at Black Stallion.

NVJG 2014's Welcome Dinner at Black Stallion.

So in these months when we aren’t in Napa, I hope you also have these little tidbits of NVJG to hold you over until next summer. It may seem far away right now, but it’ll be here before you know it.



GRAMMY Foundation Spotlight

Hello Getaway Family!

We are just two days away from the start of NVJG '14! While enjoying the amazing adventures that await you in Napa, there will be an opportunity to give back to a great cause: music education.

Last year we raised over $65,000 at our annual wine reception and silent auction to benefit The GRAMMY® FoundationWe hope to raise even more money this year through your generous contributions.

The event will be held at the Lincoln Theater on Friday, June 13th from 5:30-7:00pm prior to the "Friday Night Funk Night" concert and will feature a performance by the Vintage High Jazz Combo from Vintage High School, Napa CA plus complimentary wine tastings from some of the best wineries in Napa Valley.

Here's a sneak peek at some of the items up for bid:

* Roland Keytar played and signed by BC *

* Earl Klugh’s Weekend of Jazz at Kiawah Island VIP Package for 2 *

* Kirk Whalum & Ernie Watts signed tenor saxophone *

* Various autographed artwork and vintage vinyl by several artists *

* Napa Valley Wine Basket with various signed bottles *

* “XII” Drumhead signed by BC and Chris Miskel *

* Various Winery Private Tastings and Tour Experiences *

* Handwritten "Dreams" Sheet Music by BC *

...and much more!

Some items from the NVJG 2013 GRAMMY Foundation Silent Auction

Some items from the NVJG 2013 GRAMMY Foundation Silent Auction

A packed house for the 2013 NVJG Silent Auction

A packed house for the 2013 NVJG Silent Auction

BC speaking at the 2013 GRAMMY Camp.

BC speaking at the 2013 GRAMMY Camp.

Brian is very proud to be associated with this wonderful cause and has dedicated countless hours to help create awareness and raise funds for music education throughout the country. As more and more school districts cut funding for the arts, it is up to us to keep music and the arts alive.

We're also excited to have two live auction items that will be auctioned off by Brian to benefit the GRAMMY Foundation during the show on Saturday night:

* 57th GRAMMY Awards Platinum Ticket Package with Rehearsal Access *

Autographed Gibson 335 Guitar by ALL NVJG 2014 artists *

Participating Wineries:

Castello di Amorosa
means “Castle of Love” in Italian, their internationally acclaimed wines are primarily Italian varieties that pair well with foods from around the world.

As a pioneer of sparkling wines, Chandon has built an expertise in the region that now includes still wines from their prized vineyards.

Chimney Rock
Sample wines that are pristine and authentic in terms of varietal character accompanied by a velvety taste and astounding softness, balance, and cohesion.

Jamieson Ranch Vineyards
Home to Reata Wines, Light Horse and Jamieson Ranch's own label, each takes a unique approach to particular varietals.

Jessup Cellars
Sourced from the finest vineyards throughout Napa Valley, Jessup Cellars has earned a loyal following for its ultra-premium wines of distinction.

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Mi Sueño
Offers superbly made handcrafted wines by owner Rolando Herrera. Their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are some of the finest in Napa.

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Napa Smith Brewery
is the only production brewery in Napa Valley. They create beers using proprietary recipes developed by Master Brewer Don Barkley, who has over 30 years in the craft brewing industry. Only the finest domestic and European hops, two row barley, and malted wheat are used in their beer.


widely acclaimed as a California wine trailblazer, Newton Vineyard was one of the first wineries on Spring Mountain. They produce 3 types of artisanal wine: The Puzzle, unfiltered wines and Red Label wines.

Prager Winery & Port Works
produces three table wines, two late-harvest Rieslings and three vinegars in addition to their famous port.

Rutherford Hill Winery
Offering an outstanding selection of hand-crafted wines, Rutherford Hill Winery allows you to try classics, including their legendary Napa Valley Merlot, or winery exclusives such as the Reserve and Limited Release wines.

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Silver Oak Cellars
Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons are crafted with a single-minded focus on Cabernet excellence. By sourcing from only the highest caliber fruit and using an extended aging process, Silver Oak creates delicious wines that are eminently drinkable upon release.

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Twomey was founded with the same philosophy that has guided Silver Oak since 1972: make food-friendly wines that are deliciously drinkable upon release. They work small, focus on quality and carry out their mission of making handcrafted wines.

Tickets to the Friday night silent auction and wine reception are available as part of theFriday Night Funk Night single-day ticket or as part of the 4-Day Gold Package.

If you have any questions about this or any other Getaway event, please contact René Ralston our Guest Services Manager at napavalleyjazzgetaway@gmail.com.



ACCESS CARD Spotlight -- Wine Down #4

Hello Getaway Family!

We're almost there! NVJG '14 starts next week!

Take a look at what we have planned for our fourth and final Napa Valley Jazz Getaway Wine Down Event at The Westin Verasa Napa.

Held Thursday through Sunday afternoons (June 12th-June 15th) in the courtyard of The Westin Verasa Napa, Wine Down Events will feature complimentary wine tastings, giveaways and special appearances by several artists. Participating wineries will have order forms and delivery options for purchases and you are always welcome to visit their tasting rooms during your stay in Napa.

Sunday, June 15th at 1-3pm


Brian Culbertson

“I’m going to tell stories and play several songs from my new CD ‘Another Long Night Out’ that I don’t play in my regular show so come on out to have some more “Culbertson” Pinot Noir and hear some ‘album’ cuts.”

Brian worked with many amazing artists in making "Another Long Night Out". Here are a few photos from the recording sessions:

David Benoit and BC

David Benoit and BC

Nathan East of Fourplay

Nathan East of Fourplay

Jonathan Butler

Jonathan Butler

Candy Dulfer and BC

Candy Dulfer and BC

Featured Winery:

Jamieson Ranch Vineyards
Located in the gateway to Napa Valley, the 300-acre vineyard estate represents over 100 years of farming, ranching and gracious hospitality. Visit and experience their artisan-crafted wines paired with culinary delights drawn from their local bounty. Wine varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gringo and Syrah. Many of these wines are very limited production and available exclusively at the winery.

"Culbertson" Pinot Noir
Jamieson Ranch Vineyards is now home to Brian’s own “Culbertson” Pinot Noir by Jamieson Ranch Vineyards and Reata Wines! 

Brian describes his wine as a light, smooth and vibrant wine that will pair extremely well with lots of different types of food. "It was a lot of fun blending this wine and I hope to continue this new ‘Culbertson’ label for years to come.”

Luke PIerce, BC, David Britz, Kim Zimmer, and Kyle Novak of the NVJG Team

Luke PIerce, BC, David Britz, Kim Zimmer, and Kyle Novak of the NVJG Team

Only VIPs and Gold ACCESS CARD holders gain entry to the Wine Down Events. Gold ACCESS CARDS are exclusively available with the purchase of a 4-day Gold Package. Click HERE for more information and to purchase multi-day packages or single-day tickets.

If you have any questions about this event or any other Getaway details, please contact Rene' Ralston our Guest Services Manager atnapavalleyjazzgetaway@gmail.com.




ACCESS CARD Spotlight -- Lyall Family of Stores

Hello Getaway Family.

Just 15 more days until NVJG 2014! 

Who loves to shop? Well, if you answered a resounding "I DO!", you'll be happy to know we have added three upscale and unique clothing and shoes establishments as 2014 NVJG ACCESS CARD partners: 

- Helen Lyall clothing for women

- Scott Lyall clothes for men

- Marie Lyall Shoes for him & her

Helen Lyall clothing for women

Helen Lyall opened this gem on Main Street in downtown Napa in 2010. The 2,700 sq.ft. boutique houses dresses, evening wear, furs and accessories, and features some of the world's greatest designers. Experience a most unique, elegant shopping experience which includes personalized service, wardrobe consultation, lunch, free gift wrap and more. 

ACCESS CARD offer: 10% off in-store purchases

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Scott Lyall clothes for men

Following his mother’s passion (owner of Helen Lyall clothes for women), Scott Lyall opened his store for men in 2011 offering contemporary casual sportswear with innovative color and style for the fashion conscious man with a sophisticated lifestyle. The laidback spirit of the clothing seamlessly blends with the ambience of the store. It is not unusual to shop while lounging, watching the latest sports game on the big screen TV or listening to a variety of funk, soul and R&B music while sipping a glass of wine and visiting with Scott.

ACCESS CARD offer: 10% off in-store purchases

BC says....

"Great blazers, shirts & more! I'm even gonna wear this velvet 'wine' colored jacket
for one of my shows during the Getaway."


Marie Lyall Shoes for him & her

Marie Lyall Shoes is the newest member of the Lyall family clothing stores, known for providing a warm ambience with a classic urban vibe. You’ll find that same relaxed atmosphere in Marie's shoe store.

From well-known designers to high-quality, lesser-known labels, you can look forward to a fine selection of men’s and women’s shoes, including Stuart Weitzman, Aquatalia, Donald Pliner, Marc Joseph, Arche, Calleen Cordero, Ilse Jacobson, SeaVees, BM Stretch, Nomad, Yoshi Samra, Blundstone and Tom’s. In addition to shoes, the store offers accessories including jewelry, belts, handbags, hats, scarves and HUE hosiery for her along with some leather and canvas bags for him.

ACCESS CARD offer: 10% off in-store purchases

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NVJG ACCESS CARD offers are good from June 9 – 20, 2014. Only NVJG VIPs, 4-Day Gold Package and 2-Day Silver Package attendees will receive ACCESS CARDS, which cannot be purchased individually. Click HERE for more information and to purchase multi-day packages or single-day tickets.