Outside Lands has developed into one of the premiere annual rock festivals on the planet today. A big reason why is because it’s the only gourmet music extravaganza around. Instead of merely concentrating on a killer lineup of bands–and this year’s OSL was probably the most impressive yet–festival organizers worked hard to make sure that the food and libations available here were on par with the world-class live entertainment.
Although billed as a ‘music and arts’ festival, OSL might as well throw ‘culinary arts’ into its subtitle, because the three day event highlighted some of The Bay Area’s most delicious restaurants and vineyards. At the gargantuan Wine Lands tent, concert-goers were treated to dozens upon dozens of Sonoma and Napa favorites. For a few bucks you could enjoy tastings of all different types of fermented splendor: sparkling wines, Rieslings, Gewürztraminers, Pinots, Cabernets, and Chardonnays were all invited to the party. One of my personal favorites was Sebastopol’s own Claypool Cellars, offering a voracious Russian River Valley Pinot Noir colorfully labeled Purple Pachyderm. It’s big body was well suited to the lasting smokiness that it left on the tongue.
Other booths featured wine merchants, such as Berkeley’s Kermit Lynch where you could taste high-end wines from Germany and France and have them ordered directly to your door. Knowledgable vintners and pourers were in abundance, eager to share their expertise with anyone that was happy to listen. And with this much wine being poured, there certainly was no shortage of happiness.
Micro-vineyards were also all the rage at Wine Lands, where you could try a glass of sensational, small local wineries like Navarro that aren’t easy to get a hold of unless you make it directly to their Napa-based tasting room. Their 2009 Chardonnay showcased the bright, fruity characteristics of apple and citrus without overwhelming the palate with sweetness–a difficult balancing act, to be sure.
Wine Lands brought the tasting rooms to you this weekend and what better of a way to get the most out of your grape-fueled buzz than with good friends and great music? Click here for the full list of featured vineyards from OSL 2011 and remember that most of them are based right here in the Bay Area. So even though this fun-filled weekend is now just a memory, you don’t have to wait until OSL 2012 to get out and enjoy all of these delectable juices.