by Claudia Melatini

Joss Stone“Spoil me.” These are wise words for an eighteen year old songstress from Devon, England. Hearing Joss Stone’s soulful voice pour from various speakers around the house transports me into the mellow, relaxed mood I need after facing the demonic roadways of interior Los Angeles. To top off the wonder of Joss’ smooth voice, I suggest trying a bottle of Beaulieu Vineyards Coastal Estates Merlot. ($8.69 at Cost Plus World Market)

Swirl, sniff, sniff some more, swirl again. Much better. With subtle hints of black cherry, herbs, and dark chocolate, the sumptuous taste of this rich wine lingers on your palate and eases you into the night, like the velvety flow of Ms. Stone’s voice. Feel comforted knowing this Coastal wine holds the famous Georges de Latour stamp of approval, and can be paired perfectly with richer pasta dishes, grilled chicken, and bold, hard cheeses. Indulge yourself with a night you will not soon forget, and do not want to leave behind.

Joss’ memorable night of 2005 was her Grammy performance of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” with Melissa Etheridge, which truly put her on the map. Many times compared to her idol, Aretha Franklin, Stone was exposed to the sounds of American R&B soul artists at a young age. Her earthy vocal tone suggests a maturity beyond her years, achieved by hard living and life on the road, ironic, given her tender young age.

Her mentor, Betty Wright, calls Joss’ talent “a God-given gift.” I liken her unforgettable voice to the infamous ‘Rutherford Dust,’ the supposed secret ingredient of all BV wines, according to famed Napa winemaker, Andre Tchelistcheff.

The Coastal Estates Merlot is one of my favorites, because of its distinctly rich taste. Its versatility serves any purpose, for it complements a variety of dishes, and it will not break the bank. Pair it with any track from “Mind, Body, & Soul,” Joss Stone’s second album (S-Curve Records 2004) and you will be in for the extravagant experience you so deserve. A night with BV Coastal Estates Merlot along with the sultry music of Joss Stone reminds me, not just of good conversations with great friends, but also truly being able to master the art of lingering. Lingering over what, you say? Does it really matter?

“I’m hopeless when it comes to you. I’ve been spoiled. Yeah, yeah … ”

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