While collaborations between celebrities and winemakers are nothing new, musician-wine crossovers are rarer but not-so-rare for DJ Muggs of Soul Assassins and Now-Again Records founder Egon. Following their 2021 success pairing a natural rosé with a vinyl record entitled “Holy Ghost,” featuring songs inspired by the mysteries of wine, the pair have again partnered for wine-music coupling.
This time, Muggs and Egon teamed with Berkeley urban winery Broc Cellars and owner/winemaker Chris Brockway to launch a unique wine label and album pairing. Under the “Notes & Tones” label, inspired by the book of the same name by the late, great jazz drummer Art Taylor, they complemented Brockway’s wine with music sourced from the landmark catalog of cosmic jazz musician Sun Ra, with all samples cleared by his estate- a “Soul Assassins x Now-Again” collaboration.
Brockway, a leader in native fermentation and organic farming, worked closely with Muggs and Egon to conceive, ferment, taste, blend, and bottle this homage to naturally made, skin-contact wines. As huge proponents of the natural wine movement, Muggs and Egon wanted to create something with Broc Cellars to open the world to what natural wine can be, especially for those unfamiliar with the style.
Brockway recommended organic Tocai Friulano and Trebbiano grapes for the project, both grown at Fox Hill Vineyards located in Menodcino’s Talmage bench in primarily sandstone-rich soil. The region yields fruit that produces elegant wines with high aromatics and low tannin. A truly collaborative process, Brockway “tasted” Muggs and Egon through various iterations, ultimately choosing the perfect blend- 90% Tocai Friulano and 10% Trebbiano.
As with all Broc Cellars wines, the Notes & Tones blend was fermented using only native yeasts. The wine was left on the skins in sandstone “jarres,” a type of “amphora” reminiscent of ancient Greco-Roman pottery, to ferment before being basket-pressed back into the jarres to age for six months. This wine had no sulfur added during fermentation, aging, or bottling. The result is an uplifting and approachable natural wine, perfect for every day, anytime drinking. It carries aromas and flavors of mandarin, jackfruit, and white jasmine on the nose, while freshly picked oranges and lychee fruit linger on the palate.
Notes & Tones will be available with limited supply from Broc Cellars, at the Soul Assassins’ website, and at Rappcats beginning on March 7, 2023.