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Wine to Sake

Eduardo Dingler, Wine to Sake: A taste of BottleRock

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“This was quite possibly our best BottleRock yet,” BottleRock CEO Dave Graham announced with excitement the day after the festival ended.

Without a doubt this year had a palpable vibrancy, driven by many factors but mostly the people. Both performers and attendees brought their best game.

The music was, as expected, diverse and meticulously calculated to deliver something for everyone. I like to think of the experience as walking through a museum full of legendary and familiar art works.

For instance, Friday’s headliner rock band Metallica reminded me of "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" by Rembrandt, while popular performer P!NK was more akin to "Music Pink & Blue" by Georgia O'Keeffe.

The band Spoon was more like a familiar and intriguing Rothko and newcomer Jake Wesley Rogers was more like a Palace of Versailles wall print with details, texture and colors.

Aside from the main musical attractions, let's not forget what puts BottleRock on another level: the food and wine!

The options for the concert-goers were endless and varied for the adventurous and not budget conscious.

There were a couple lobster options, Lobster Tots ($27) by the William Tell House and the Lobster Roll ($34) by the New England Lobster & Crab Shack. The Loving Cup offered an elevated poke experience with the Poke Nachos at $29.

Newcomer in the Napa Valley restaurant scene, Charlie’s, offered a caviar and onion dip decently priced at $15, and Compline offered a delicious Glazed Hobbs Pork Belly at $15 that satisfied the fatty-meaty cravings.

For the hungry attendees seeking a more homey alternative, Mamma, a new place opening in Davis offered a perfectly executed Fusilli al Ragu for $10 as well as vegetarian Penne a la Marinara at $9.

Pizza, as expected, was prevalent and well received, lingering in the $12 price.

Mustards Napa Valley was one of the main stars offering their popular Pork Tacos ($15) along with the Ling Cod Tacos ($18) and Truffle Fries ($14).

“My favorite was the Fried Chicken and Donuts from Boonfly Cafe ($18),” said city of Napa Vice Mayor Mary Luros. How could we not love this scrumptious delight?

“Goose & Gander delivered the goods with their burger, I went back for a second one,” said Darioush Napa Valley chef Sean Massey.

Personally, there was nothing more satisfying than the bacon-wrapped hot dogs that dominated the landscape at the end of the show. Lined up strategically along Third Street, and with a sticker price of $10 -- talk about the right place, right time. Salty, sweet and heavenly, I went back for more the next day.

A missed category this year was sushi, with the big absence of Napa staple Morimoto Napa and Hal Yamashita, and no one taking their place, unless I missed it.

A new addition to the festival was The Garden, a space dedicated to the growing category of cannabis. While partaking is not my jam, I’m sure it helped food vendors with elevated sales right and left.

As far as the beverage options, the beer selections were dominated by major and well recognized brands like Pacifico, Miller Highlife, Coors Light and Lagunitas but also a great array of smaller, more adventurous producers on the craft beer tent.

The wine lineup included some of the festival staples like JaM Cellars by John Anthony Truchard, Art House Wines out of Carneros and the Schramsberg Vineyards in their own tents, aside from offerings from Miner Family and Robert Mondavi Winery among others.

Kudos to the organizers and everyone that was responsible for the offerings, another successful event that continues to attract crowds from far and wide.

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