The Lowdown on the Wines of Boz Scaggs

One of my all-time favorite movies was not a big hit with the critics.

It was called “FM,” and its plot dealt with the programmer of a successful rock and roll radio station in Los Angeles – the fictitious Q-SKY – battling with his corporate bosses, who wanted less music and more commercials (i.e., more money).

Q-SKY reminded me of my favorite radio station of my rebellious youth, L.A.’s KMET, located at 94.7 on the FM dial – or, as its deejays liked to describe it, “a little bit farther to the left” than its main rival, which was situated at the 95.5 position.

As it turned out, “FM” quite accurately depicted and predicted the “corporate takeover” of radio, which has resulted in a more homogenous sound across the dial and across the country, caused the decline of the “live and local” concept that differentiated stations and spawned radio’s most creative personalities, and generally gave people a reason to turn away from radio and embrace their own listening devices – starting with the Walkman and evolving to the iPod.

Rock radio once was a sanctuary for eager young listeners; now it’s a mortuary populated by uninspired playlists churned out by computers rather than music enthusiasts.

But I digress. Back to “FM,” the movie. While its soundtrack sounded more like the L.A. station at 95.5 (KLOS) than the one I preferred at 94.7, it nonetheless contained a good deal of great music.

There was the title track itself, along with “Do It Again,” by Steely Dan.

There was “It Keeps You Runnin'” by the Doobie Brothers.

There was “Lido Shuffle” by Boz Scaggs.

Not to mention great songs by Bob Seger, Foreigner, Tom Petty, the Eagles, Boston, Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffett, Queen and others.

So when I heard about a concert tour this fall by a “new” group called the Dukes of September, I just had to go. Why? Because the Dukes consisted of Donald Fagen from Steely Dan, Doobies alum Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs.

As I investigated concert dates and venues, comparing them against blocked-off dates in my Daytimer, I had a chance to read up not only on the group, but on its individual members. It was fun to relive old times and old tunes, and to learn what Messrs. Fagen, McDonald and Scaggs have been doing lately.

And it turns out that one of Scaggs’ projects has involved wine.

Specifically, wine made from grapes grown in a 2.5-acre vineyard on Boz and Dominique Scaggs’ property along the Mayacamas Ridge in California’s Napa Valley.

Boz and Dominique love the wines of the southern Rhone, so they planted their vineyard with the key varieties of that region: Syrah, Grenache and Mouverdre. They started the planting project in 1998, and nine years later added a few Cunoise vines to the mix.

Scaggs told the Napa Valley Register that they had no intention of turning their project into a commercial endeavor. Initially, they shared their wine with friends, and drank a lot of it themselves. But as some of the wine began to stack up in a warehouse, it was recognized that a commercial opportunity existed.

Today, 120 cases of a Rhone-style Rose and 250 cases of a “serious” Rhone blend are produced under the Scaggs Vineyard label. The Rose goes for $25, while the “Montage” retails for around $75.

Scaggs says he has no interest in the wines becoming just another celebrity vanity project, which is why he makes no mention of them at his concerts. He believes the wines should – and can – stand on their own.

And that’s the low-low-low-lowdown on the wines of Boz Scaggs.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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