If you're a writer trying to land a book deal, there's a good chance you'll learn you need "a platform." That's publisher-speak for a following via Web, Twitter, TV, radio, or whatever. The more well known you are to start, the more likely a publisher will be to invest itself in making you better known.
The same holds true for new consumer brands, including wine.
Tyler Florence certainly has a platform, and now he has a wine as well. It might be more accurate to say he has a blend, or recipe if you prefer the parallel to his day job. "I love experimenting with different ingredients," says Florence. "Turns out its one of my favorite things about wine-making too." Now those wines are in bottle and market.
Celebrity brand wines can be excellent, but you can't expect the celebrity to get too involved in the nitty gritty of growing grapes and making varietals. Instead, they tend to step in at the point of blending to determine the final outcome and flavor profile of the wine they had experts create.
In Tyler's case the experts are Michael Mondavi and his family, who met Florence in 2009. Together, they have launched two lines, the "food-friendly, everyday" Tyler Florence line and the "limited-production" TF.
As it's our goal to find you Norcal wines that retail for $40 or less but drink like more, we tried the Tyler Florence wines.
Tyler Florence Blend #4. Sauvignon Blanc 10
Ultra pale in color, Blend #4 is a light Sauvignon Blanc in the nose with a modest hint of the fresh and green. In the mouth, it's mid-acidic and lightly tropical, suggesting grapefruit. It is pleasant, light, and mild, and it won't offend anyone who is opposed to the overly green and grapefruit pith of many more assertive Sauvingon Blancs, but isn't opposed to the Sauvignon Blancs themselves. This straight forward simple sipper sells for $19.99 and drinks like a wine of about that price.
Tyler Florence Blend #5 Cabernet Sauvignon
Colored the rich red of polished garnet, Blend #5 greets the nose with a soft scent of cherries and mocha and a touch of pepper. All this carries to the mouth, resulting in a pleasant, easy drinking, friendly wine that will give your friends nothing to complain about. Expect whatever is poured to be drunk, and isn't that the point? A solid wine for the price. This sells for $25, but drinks like $35+.
For now wines are available by-the-bottle at the TF Kitchen Store in Napa, and by-the-glass at Florence's Wayfare Tavern. Bottles will be coming to SF retailers soon.