Celebs make an appearance in your wine cellar
In “Miss You,” Mick Jagger promises he’s “gonna bring a case of wine.” Thanks to Marty Erlichman’s Celebrity Cellars, he’s a man of his word.
Celebrity Cellars is dedicated to creating wine for musicians. The Rolling Stones’ bottles are etched with the band’s tongue logo; Madonna’s is etched with art from her most recent CD, “Confessions on a Dance Floor.” A KISS bottle is the next release; offers are out to more than a dozen other acts.
While other musicians have declared their fondness for the grape (see chart below), Erlichman is more interested in the bottle than what it contains. Whether you order red wine from Madonna or the Rolling Stones, the bottles’ contents are the same: a 2002 Armida Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
“Mick’s a connoisseur, so I know he would not have allowed this if he didn’t like the wine,” Erlichman says from his mid-Wilshire office, its walls lined with boxes of celebrity wine bottles. “But it is really about the bottle, making it as attractive as possible and retaining its value as a collectible.”
A veteran music manager, Erlichman first dipped his toe into wine business in the 1990s with the Grateful Dead’s no-alcohol Dead Red Unwine. The 35,000 bottles proved to be more than the market could bear.
He proceeds more carefully now.
Erlichman produces limited-edition lots of 1,000, with a different design on each bottle — a way to create a sense of exclusivity as well as to encourage buyers to collect complete sets. He’s also tracking the legal status of interstate wine sales as well as talking with wholesalers about taking what’s now an online business to retail outlets.
In celebration of Wednesday’s Grammy Awards, Variety Weekend tasted a collection of musicans’ wines. Unfortunately, none possessed the star quality of the talent for which they were named.
Artist: Andrea Bocelli
What’s in the bottle: Alberto Bocelli Rosso Toscano 2002 ($50)
Notes: “If People Used Their Hearts.” Old World nature with a nice acidity and structure yet a deceptive body. Tastes more Montepulciano than Sangiovese.
Artist: Bob Dylan
What’s in the bottle: Fattoria Le Terrazze
Planet Waves 2002 (Rosso, Marche, Italy) ($68)
Notes: “Tangled Up in Blue.” Initially disjointed, wine took some time to come together. Still, winemaker aspirations exceed the result.
Artist: Jerry Garcia
What’s in the bottle: Clos du Bois Sonoma County Cabernet 2001 ($16)
Notes: “Dark Star.” Jammy without going over the top, a pleasant and well-made wine.
Artist: Frank Sinatra
What’s in the bottle: Kahn Winery Santa Barbara County
Merlot 2001 ($16)
Notes: “I’ve Got a Crush on You.” A nice red wine with bright aromatics of candied apple and some nuttiness.
Rolling Stones Celebrity Cellars
What’s in the bottle: Armida Alexander Valley Cabernet 2002 ($100 for etched bottle)
Notes: “Mixed Emotions”/”Into the Groove.” Nice herbal notes and tastefully integrated oak. Very slick but lacking in soul.
Tasting panel consisted of Weekend staff, wine marketing specialist Dan Fredman and Lou Amdur, who will soon open Lou, a wine bar on Vine Street. Wines were tasted blind.