The Harmony of Wine and Music
One of the most satisfying things in life is pairing great foods with great wines. Doesn’t it satisfy your ego when you have found the right wine for a meal you created or chose an amazing wine at a nice restaurant? It really is fantastic! But how about if we go one step further? Many of the words you would use to describe the nuances of a wine could also be used to describe music. Words like bold, smooth, lively, soft, or dark could be used if you were to describe a wine or even the type of music you are listening to. And who doesn’t like to have a little music while you are enjoying your favorite wine? Go to most any winery on the weekend and there is usually a band or musician playing while you are sipping your wine. Why? Because there is a synergy between wine and music that you just can’t deny! You have five senses (six if you are a psychic), and wine provides the sight, smell, and taste you enjoy so much. Music gives you sound and you can definitely “feel” the beat through your heart and soul when your favorite music is being played! So together, they have completed a balance for you, “The Complete Circle”. So having all five senses going at once between wine and music could bring you to Sensory Heaven!
Here is a humorous, yet serious analysis as we pair wine styles with different music styles. We believe these pairings are the grooviest but everyone has their own tastes and opinions so let’s see if you agree with this cool playlist:
Sparkling Wines with Dance/Electronic Music – The vibrating music, constant motion, wave after wave of sound building into an explosive finish! The experience is thunderous and turbulent as you dance between people, light, and sound. It is always a party when you are dancing to the beat and even better with a glass of sparkling wine in your hand. Champagne and sparkling wine brings its own party with bubbles, fizz, and motion! Dry or sweet, French or California, electronic music and sparkling wines are both universal and we can’t think of two better dance partners than this wild pair! DJ’s like Carl Cox, Tiesto, Deadmua5, Moby, and Paul van Dyk paired with a bit of bubbly will keep the party going ‘til dawn!
Pinot Noir with Jazz – Smooth jazz with an elegant, Pinot Noir can smooth the edges of a long day. Jazz music is said to be America’s classical music and does have a very distinctive sound. Pinot Noir is usually described as being fruit forward with flavors of cherry, damp earth, tea-leaf, and worn leather. It is the most difficult grape to grow but makes for an amazing wine if all conditions take place appropriately. Jazz music can be intimate, sometimes unrestrained, and layered with life experiences that can motivate you or humble you. It is very creative, artsy, and there is a lot of improvisation when played live. Jazz is always evolving like a Pinot Noir evolves with changes in the vineyard and weather. Keyboards, saxophones, trumpets, clarinets, and a full range of horns set the stage for some great music and wine sipping. Pinot Noir is sophisticated, classy, confident, and smolders with passion. Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, Dave Koz, Benny Goodman, and Miles Davis would have appreciated such a sophisticated wine! Pinot Noir would have been one of John Coltrane’s “Favorite Things”.
Red Zinfandel with Blues Music – Deep and mysterious, dark and intense describes both the wine and the music! Honestly, Red Zinfandel is all that and a rack of ribs! Zesty, dark fruit, pepper, bold, smoky, and full bodied. It’s been a hard life for Red Zinfandel and Blues music. Red Zinfandel has been living in the extreme heat of Lodi, California for months with hardly a drop of water. Blues music has its own woes of love going bad, desperation, and big problems at work. Guitar, piano, and harmonica tell the whole sad story. You would assume both were “Born Under a Bad Sign” but the Blues does have its songs of jubilation and celebration. Listen to some Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughn, BB King, or John Lee Hooker with a bottle of Red Zinfandel and you will have your own “Pride and Joy”.
Chardonnay with Country Music – New country music is feisty, fun, rocking, and even has a bit of humor. Songs of love, love gone wrong, getting even, family, fishing, dogs, and just being open to life and experiences. Chardonnay is vibrant, carefree, buttery, and super zesty! It has “Big and Rich” flavors of citrus, apple, vanilla, and oak. Unoaked versions bring more apple, pear, pineapple, and other fresh flavors. New country music is fresh, fun, and full of rambunctious excitement that explodes from the soul. Country music and Chardonnay both promote living life to the fullest with no regrets. Chardonnay would be in perfect company with Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift, and Willie Nelson. We all have “Friends in Low Places” but hand them a glass of Chardonnay and you will see the sun shine!
Red Blends (Meritage) with Alternative Music – Alternative music is a genre that was influenced by Rock music but is considered to be more cutting edge since it doesn’t follow the usual Rock ‘n Roll rhythm. Alternative music will impress you with its bold, masterful riffs that are catchy, fun, and sometimes mystifying. Flavors that are unique, pronounced, and balanced. Red blends are always thought of as the winemaker’s favorite since they are blended to what the winemaker felt was the best flavors possible. Rich, deep, jammy, sassy, and sometimes mysterious. These wines will pair well with BBQ, pasta with meat sauce, sharp cheeses, and Mediterranean foods. Turn up some Foo Fighters, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, or Fiona Apple with a glass of a Red Blend and Bob’s yer uncle! Alternative music has many different styles but it is impossible to forget its unique sound.
Cabernet Franc with Hip Hop/Rap – You knew there was a rebellious brother in the mix of that Bordeaux blend. But actually, he is one of the two parents in producing Cabernet Sauvignon! Cabernet Franc is bold, sassy, with flavors of bell pepper, spice, tobacco, raspberry, and plum. Relating to the feelings of unrest of Hip Hop music and that brings out a spicy mood. Hip Hop music demands a voice, wants to be heard, and wants to be part of the action. Just like Cabernet Franc. It always wants to be heard and for you to know it is part of that elegant Bordeaux blend. It can be a subtle part of a red blend or running the show on its own. Pair a great Cabernet Franc with some Eminem, Run-D.M.C., Tupac, Grandmaster Flash, or the Beastie Boys. Snoop Dogg may love his “Gin and Juice” but a peppery Cabernet Franc would work just fine.
Riesling with New Age – Sit down with a glass of any type of Riesling while listening to New Age music and you will know what relaxation means. Riesling is fruit forward, soft, lush, rich, and the sweeter versions has a smooth, honeyed finish. Flavors of sweet apricot, ripe pear, and citrus soothe your palate. Relaxing, inspirational, artistic, and positive, describes New Age music the best. It is great for meditating and being absorbed into deep thought. Riesling is smooth and lush and washes the cares away after a long, stressful day. Enya, Kitaro, Yanni, and Steven Halpern are just a few musicians that will smooth out the edges along with a lush, fruity Riesling.
Merlot with R & B (Rhythm and Blues/Soul) – R & B was born from jazz, blues, and gospel roots and is known for its soulful beats, suggestive lyrics, and steady rhythm. Merlot is also very soulful with flavors of ripe plum, dark berry, and chocolate. There are some are lighter style Merlots but also some very sophisticated Merlots that are definitely deep and rich. Steady, dependable, smooth, and flavorful. If your heart and mind wants something soulful like Mary J Blige, John Legend, Toni Braxton, Madeline Peyroux, or Marvin Gaye, then Merlot is your “go to” wine! Merlot will bring out the passion with its full body, rich mouth-feel, and flavors that touch your palate, heart, and soul. You have probably “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and it’s true that R & B and Merlot are a perfect pair.
Sauvignon Blanc with Reggae – Toes in the sand, the sound of waves, steel drum music in the background, and a big glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand. A match made in Heaven! Sauvignon Blanc was made to beat the heat and can also keep the beat to some wonderful reggae rhythms. Tropical notes, citrus, lemongrass, herbs, and gooseberry just screams sun and fun! Sauvignon Blanc may not be as politically driven as reggae music but both represent something good for the distressed like peace, staying positive, and being upbeat. Sauvignon Blanc and reggae are both lively, vibrant, and spirited. If Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, Steel Pulse, and UB40 could enjoy “One Love” together, Sauvignon Blanc could be that love!
Malbec with Latin music – Malbec has beginning roots in France but when Argentina adopted it, it quickly became a sensation! France used Malbec mainly as a blending grape but Argentina gave it the spotlight as their main grape and the rest is history. South American Malbec’s have softer tannins and stronger fruit flavors, opposite of French style. Malbec has a medium to full body with eloquent flavors of blackberry, plum, dark cherry, and milk chocolate. Latin music is eclectic, refined, and has style because of its jazz influences which is fun and upbeat. So why not try to tango, samba, salsa, or mambo to it? Dance the great Latin dances and pair with a sophisticated Malbec to the sounds of Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, Shakira, and Buena Vista Social Club just to name a few. Spicy, sassy, sometimes edgy, but blending those smooth moves with a smooth wine, it is perfection.
Pinot Grigio with Pop music – Pinot Grigio is lively, enthusiastic, spontaneous, with a “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” attitude. Pinot Grigio makes pop music….. well…. Pop! Pop music was derived from the word “popular” and is the type of music you hear everywhere because of its celebrity status. Pinot Grigio has gained so much popularity of its own over the years and is right on the heels (or roots) of Chardonnay as being the world’s most popular white wine in the world! But pop music and Pinot Grigio being popular has nothing to do with their shared characteristics. Both are fun, lively, crisp, and they “walk into the party like they just walked onto a yacht”. Flavors of pear, bright fruit, citrus, and its low acidity makes it very easy going and palatable. Pinot Grigio can be grown most anywhere but mainly comes from Italy, Oregon, Washington State, and Burgundy, France. Enjoy a great Pinot Grigio listening to some Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Elton John, or Maroon 5 and you are bound to see “Fireworks”!
Syrah/Shiraz with Rock ‘n Roll Music – They are both complex, electric, with layer upon layer of guitar, beats, and flavors. Rock ‘n Roll is undeniably its own blend of sounds, feelings, and emotions fused together to make the amazing sounds that it does. You should have a great amp and set the volume to 11 for the best experience! Add in a provocative Syrah and you will experience the partnership that these two comrades have enjoyed for years! Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape variety but Australia is the one place on earth where the Shiraz name is preferred. Fantastic Syrah’s are universal but more renowned from Australia, California, the Rhone region of France, and even the “Dark Side of the Moon”! These Syrah’s and Rock music have no barriers and take no prisoners. Listen at your own risk because both can be quite addicting! Pair with Syrah which can also be bold, serious, sinful, and seems to have a mysterious aura about it. Syrah flavors are peppery, chocolaty, mesmerizing, sometimes brooding, and is bursting with dark black fruit, currant, and as zesty as rock music itself! So “Break on Through to the Other Side” and find a rockin’ Syrah to pair with some Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Sex Pistols, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Bob Seger, and the list goes on for eternity. Syrah wine and Rock music really are the “Stairway to Heaven”. Long live Rock ‘n Roll!
Cabernet Sauvignon and Classical Music – We all know that classical music as well as Cabernet Sauvignon both has its share of masterpieces! Cabernet Sauvignon has a symphony of flavors and most that you will not soon forget. Classical music and classic Cabernet Sauvignon are both age worthy, powerful, therapeutic, and together they deserve a big “Hallelujah”! Classical music can float like a butterfly or be as intense as a bee and uses violins, cellos, flutes, clarinets, drums, piano, and more. Music played with precision that excites the mind and soul can also fill your glass with some of the most memorable flavors in the world of wine. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Handel, and Wagner are just a sampling of what composers would pair well with an elegant Cabernet. Classic wines can come from any grape variety but if you are a betting person, put your money on Cabernet Sauvignon. Balanced and in harmony, perfectly structured, full bodied and full flavor would describe a great Cabernet. Classical music and Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect pairing and should be enjoyed together in all “Four Seasons”.
Music has a myriad of sounds that transcend the soul and when paired with the right wine will tease all five senses to create a Complete Circle. So “take those old records off the shelf” and put together your own concerto of music and wines and give your five senses the experience of a lifetime! IPod, vinyl, radio, 8-track, cassettes, or reel to reel will all work with a glass of wine in hand. Add some great friends into this mix and your “Complete Circle” will be “The Perfect Circle”! You will find that the marriage of wine and music are one of the main keys of life. Cheers!