A Brief History Of: Beautiful & Damned - Rosé of Grenache
I do a lot of tastings throughout L.A., and have realized how valuable the stories of my wines are to the people that encounter them. For that reason, I wanted to take a minute and tell you the story of Beautiful & Damned – our rosé of Grenache.
The idea for this wine came from a day of sun-soaked day-drinking during a Memorial Day holiday in Palm Springs. We wanted something that was bright and crisp with a bit of fruit, but wouldn’t give you heartburn after a few bottles like some of those cheap French rosés often do. In short, we wanted sunshine in a bottle.
We’re constantly influenced by the rich and complex history of Los Angeles, especially the late 60’s and early 70’s music scene along LA’s legendary Sunset Strip. The Hollywood Palladium cut a long shadow here, and during the fall of 1974, played host to a mythic concert dubbed ‘The Death of Glitter’. Celebrating the rapid rise and fall of the glam rock scene launched by Rodney Bingenheimer a scant two years earlier, this concert brought the New York Dolls and Iggy Pop together under one roof, as a sendoff to the eyeliner, stretch pants, and general androgyny that defined this era.
In describing the kids that were lined up outside to get in to this show, Nick Kent wrote, "If it wasn’t quite The Beautiful and the Damned it was certainly the pretty and the damned – everyone was, you know, 'going to hell' and nobody cared.”
Hooked by this idea of the ‘Beautiful & Damned’ - it just felt so wonderfully Hollywood - I did a little more digging only to realize that it was actually referencing a book of the same name by F. Scott. Fitzgerald. That story celebrates the tragic excess of Roaring Twenties New York – pretty much sealing the deal for me.
When it came to designing the label, marrying the name we had to the ferris wheel and roller coaster rides on Santa Monica pier felt like a no-brainer: there’s something about amusement parks in general that have this aura of weird, tragic, nostalgic beauty to them. Especially when they’re hit by that magical late afternoon light of Los Angeles.
Plus, you know those glam rock kids were probably driving to the pier after a night of partying to sit on the sand, drink cheap Gallo jug wine, and watch the sun come up. I’m sure most of us have done some version of that as teenagers. We’ve all had our Beautiful & Damned phase in one way or another, I’m sure.
Our grapes come from what I like to think of as the punk rock wine mecca of the modern era: The Central Coast. Unexposed to the corporate, post-IPO billionaires that are speckled across Napa and Sonoma like a bad grape virus, this winegrowing region has been able to mature in a much less audacious way. Here we’ve found a friend and ally in Andrew Murray – a legendary Central Coast guru - and the 25 year-old vines he tends to.
His vineyards sprawl over a gently rolling stretch of hills tucked up off of Zaca Station Road, lovingly known as Jurassic Park. Without going too far down the ‘terroir’ rabbit hole, I’ll simply say that this pocket of paradise is ideal for growing ‘Rhone’ style grapes. That is, grapes like Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache that thrive in the Rhone region of southern France where rosé-making has become an art form. The climate in Los Olivos happens to mirror the Rhone quite nicely – and hence it’s a great place to grow our Beautiful & Damned grapes.
Grenache, like it’s namesake, is beautiful. The grape is really thin-skinned and bloody difficult to get color out of, which makes it perfect for the crisp, fresh, ultra-pale-pink wine we want. Last year we picked it on September 14that 22º brix, had it all crushed by about 8:30 in the morning, and then let it soak for about 4 hours before we pressed it into tanks to start the 4 month winemaking process. The wines were originally scheduled for bottling on January 10th, but due to the downpours and devastating landslides in the Santa Barbara area, we had to push the date to Jan 12thto wait for power to come back on at the winery.
We often tell people to pair B&D with a pool toy and your favorite songs, but if you want to try it with food we suggest lighter seafood dishes, chicken salad – or just grab a dozen oysters and drizzle a little rosé in the shell before you slam them back. Yummo. Whichever way you like, I’m sure you’ll love Beautiful & Damned rosé of Grenache.