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All—Time Grapes

sustainable viticulture: ecologically sound grape production



Quick: What do Merlot and Mick Jagger have in common? The query is a field day for armchair comedians who would have fun with any combination of the words "bottle" and "aging," but it has a serious answer. Fans of America's best-selling red wine grape and the Rolling Stones' multiplatinum, raisin-skinned frontman can now indulge both passions in a single glass. Forty Licks Merlot, named after the Stones' 2002 40-year retrospective, headlines the Wines That Rock series, an ongoing partnership between the music management firm RZO (which represents David Bowie, U2 and Jagger and Co.) and the Mendocino Wine Co., a pacesetter in California's green viticulture movement (the vintner has twice received the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, or GEELA). The opening salvo, which also includes Woodstock Chardonnay and The Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet Sauvignon, aims to reconnect wine-quaffing baby boomers to the classic-rock iconography of their youth, with a healthy bit of greenwashing as bait. But supporting sustainable-minded vintners like the MWC supports sustainable viticulture on the whole, so the $16.99 purchase of Forty Licks Merlot (or $50 for a three-pack) can be easily offset on the carbon-karma footprint scale. The biggest disappointment is that co-founders Ron Roy and Howard Jackowitz — who purportedly blasted records in the wine cellar during vinification to "[capture] the attitude of the music" — couldn't dream up punnier connections. Be patient, The White Zinfandel Album: Your time will come.

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