Story, photos by Cassie Hepler
We like people who travel. Why? Because it broadens and expands your mind through culture, experience and breaking through fear of the unknown. We also like wine. And rock and roll. So it only makes sense that we would write about this totally American former band tour manager who picked up and moved to New Zealand, studied wine making, now has his own label and comes home annually to share his wines. His name is Daniel Brennan of Decibel Wines (see what he did there?) and here is an exclusive Q&A session with him.
We caught up with him at a wine sampling/release party at his family’s homestead, McCrossen’s Tavern in Art Museum area and sampled the shit out of the wine, bar food and family friends. By the time we left, we felt like part of the McCrossen’s crew. We’re pretty sure that’s just part of the charm.
We were there for the Decibel Wines Pint Noir vertical tasting and sampled our way through the 2010, 2011 and 2013 Decibel “Single Vineyard” Martinborough Pinot Noir. We were not quick enough to taste the limited edition 2011 Decibel Hawkes Bay Malbec however, too much delicious wine left us foggy and slow on the tasting draw.
The decibel amplified was our favorite wine of the night. We love reds when they are this good (aka low/no tannins) however a staple of this delicious white could keep up sipping all night.
We tried the duck as instructed. It was meaty, fatty and went nicely with the multitude of reds.
Fried cauliflower in a huge bowl was surprisingly delicious. We could eat a whole bowl of that daily.
A photographer for the event was seen snapping away while we were eating, so we returned the favor. Where are those photos we wonder…
One does not go to a tavern without tasting the chicken wings. We tried the habanero, which were tangy, meaty and decent sized wings.
If nothing else, you must try the whipped ricotta wtih thyme, olive oil, piment d’espelette and grilled rustic bread. We may have fought a little bit over the last piece and whipped like heaven ricotta.
The gang was all there from older to newer, which we found Decibel had honed their wine making skills to the newest batches. The 2014 Pinot Noir just hit the U.S. shores in January and expect a release to the U.S. very soon. It should be out to distributors and on the shelves by March. In the meantime, here are the ones we sampled:
No tasting is complete without ice cream! This mint chocolate chip was a nice treat on a balmy September day and a nice compliment to all the wine (hint: sweet and sweets go together like peas and carrots, try it out sometime!)
Sample some Kiwi flavors at his family’s historic joint – McCrossen’s Tavern – a mix of the casual and sublime. Located in the Museum District in a brick building built in 1852, the menu offers a stepped-up fare that makes for the perfect spot for a casual meal in the dining room or at the handcrafted mahogany bar. McCrossen’s Tavern is also Philadelphia’s up and coming premier New Zealand Wine destinations.
Founded in 2009 by Daniel Brennan, New Zealand-based Decibel Wines is a collection of exceptional wines produced from fruit grown in Hawkes Bay and Martinborough region and distributed throughout the United States as well as abroad. Decibel Wines embrace an independent spirit with unconventional approaches to varietals, while staying true to the rich New Zealand geology. The soil, the climate, the uniquely sourced fruit all contribute to the organic New Zealand flavor of the wines, but Brennan’s unconventional techniques makes the wines truly outstanding. Decibel Wines includes Pinot Noir, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, among others. Decibel Wines are available at many wine stores throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, in select restaurants, and online nationally as well as worldwide.
For more information, visit http://decibelwines.com/ andhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Decibel-Wines/ or check out the free streaming podcast at www.decibelwinespodcast.com where Daniel interviews his peers and mentors in winegrowing. For free subscription and free downloads visit Decibel on Itunes.