By Rick Riozza
Wine has always been in a world of collaboration. Simple enough as when God provided the hardware and prompted man to tinker around, wine is a great example of teamwork, relationship, and alliance that provides joy to the world.
And besides a blending of human talents to the product, wine is blended in many different ways. At its most basic, vintners blend wine made from different grapes and different vintages in order to add more complexity to the aroma, flavor and texture of wine.
So jump to late August 2013 at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont where SAVED Wine was introduced to the world. SAVED brought together Scott Campbell, a famous New York tattoo artist, who has inked the likes of Johnny Depp, Jennifer Aniston and Kanye West, and, Clay Brock, the winemaker for Wild Horse Winery, to team up on a designed bottle of wine that utilizes Rhone and Bordeaux style combinations with California’s favorite Zinfandel.
SAVED is named for Campbell’s Brooklyn, New York tattoo studio. And now he has left his mark on wine bottle design that is the talk of the wine town along with the flavor profile of the vino itself. For sure, it’s a very tasty wine at around $20.
As the wine steward at Pavilions in Rancho Mirage, I see the recent popularity of Prisoner, a red wine blend I’ve written about—a previous Orin Swift wine that continues to be made and simply woos the red wine fanatics. It is wonderfully tasty, but comes with a $40 price tag. Now enter—SAVED.
So—I come dragging into Pavilions on an early Sunday morning (that’s how serious Pavilions is about their wine program when they have a wine steward around at that time!) and I see a wine enthusiast (yes—I can always tell when one has the luxury of browsing) shopping for wine and indeed picking up a bottle of SAVED.
Ironically, I was just sent a sample of this wine to review (thus this article), so I dashed up to the gentlemen, Javier—who recently moved down here with his family from Paso Robles, an area that houses its own share of great wineries, and asked him how did he know about this wine and he answered that his brother had recommended it and it is the “bomb”.
I agreed. Such a delicious wine with wonderful acidity: a wine that can be enjoyed on its own and accompany any sturdy dinner. Right out of the gate, I got a whiff of a European candy cane, then came the “Bordeaux” famous cassis scent, then black olive, then black pepper. On the palate, a nice tart cranberry with raspberry, red cassis, all around vanilla. Full-bodied and a smooth quaff with an extended finish of plush plum, coffee and oak.
The winery’s tasting notes include, “An eclectic blend of grapes deliver rich color and full-bodied flavors: red currant, black cherry and black olive. Soft tannins balance well with distinct oak flavors—French oak for vanilla and coconut; American oak for caramel, crème brûlée and coffee. 31% Zinfandel, 23% Carignane,12% Petite Sirah, 11% Malbec, 10% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, 2% Mixed Blacks,1% Ruby Cabernet, 1% Syrah. The alcohol level is around 15.2%”
The bottle is etched rather than having a label. Around the edged ring it says “Reverence of beauty, eradication of doubt through systems of superstition, adversities exiled by incantations of compassion and tenacity of heart”.
SAVED also makes a rosé wine. Campbell calls “a pink wine for tough guys,”
The following is an excerpt from pastemagazine.com from an interview by Lindsey Grossman of Scott Campbell:
As a collaboration between you and winemaker Clay Brock, how much of a say do you have in the wines? How much of a say does he have in the art?
Campbell: I think we are both very respectful of each other’s craft. He doesn’t direct me in the artwork and I am surely not about to tell him how he should make wine, but he certainly inspired a lot of the story and “juju” that went into the design.
I love the artwork on the bottles. Can you explain the meaning behind your designs?
Campbell: Oh man, there are so many little stories and references in there. Some about Clay and his craft, some about me and my creative process; my wife, Lake, gets a little nod in there somewhere. Altogether I just wanted to make references to the idea that whatever thoughts and intentions you put out into the world will manifest themselves in one way or another, so make sure they’re positive.
It says on your site that you’re inspired by the enduring symbolism that wine brings to our tables. That’s a beautiful sentiment. Can you talk a bit more about what you mean by that?
Campbell: I guess I like the role wine has played throughout history as a symbol of romance and indulgence. Uncorking a bottle of wine is a sort of signal that everyone being poured is family. There’s no judgment being passed, so smile at whomever you’re with and don’t take anything too seriously from that point forward.
What’s your beverage of choice (when you’re not sipping on Saved)?
Favorite ink on your body?
Campbell: I have a small tattoo on my leg that a buddy of mine did years ago. He did it by hand, and it came out so terrible that he felt bad and tattooed “sorry” underneath it. It’s a perfect tattoo.
Rick is your somm-about-town entertaining and conducting at wine events and tastings. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org