Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pairing Wine and Music: 2 Tasted of 2

Old Man River
Steve Shanahan, @BottleDJ, is a wine aficionado with a difference.  His bent is matching a wine with a musical genre: pop/classical/folk singer, classical/jazz orchestration, hiphop, rap etc. and within the genre a specific 'track'. I'm not sure when I stumbled upon his blog and, finding the approach interesting, trying my own matching. At the time the distraction didn't last as 'strictlytasting' was my main focus.

Tweets of October 27th introduced a piano solo of 'Old Man River' by jazz pianist Keith Jarrett at Soundcloud . Suggested by Tim Atkin , @Timatkin, as a track to be listened to on a quiet Saturday evening I became engaged once again with this pairing notion. Sitting back at my computer with the sound fairly soft I started imagining, in the quiet of Saturday evening - sometimes I lead a solitary life - but I could not link a wine with the music. However, @BottleDJ  could and did genre to genre or, in this case, Old Man River to a Vouvray or South African Chenin Blanc. 

Now I was driven, literally... to the local Outlet which provided two wines priced low and high and listed below. They became my initial training ground for an attempt at acquiring this pairing skill. I expect to find it to be a mental exercise made more enjoyable by the beverage. At this point, I'd say I'm mentally challenged.  

If you find yourself having a solitary moment try it!  Start with a music interlude or a wine on hand with the objective of finding a match within your cellar and music library. You can't tell how many pairings you'll have for each attempt. This could lead to a wonderful party game, couldn't it? You can always drop by BottleDJ  for encouragement.

Salut, Ww

WINES to PAIR with Old Man River , piano solo performed by Keith Jarrett

  • Simonsig Chenin Avec Chêne Chenin Blanc 2009, *92-1  -- V, Stellenbosch, South Africa, #282772  $28.95
  • Bougrier Vouvray Chenin Blanc 2011, 87-1  --  G, Loire, France, #253229  $12.60
Soundcloud - Keith Jarrett, Old Man River

With the headstart from @bottleDJ  I found, mysteriously, the extra flavours of the Simonsig went nicely with much of Keith Jarrett's jazz solo. The spice and subtle crème brulée scent added a fullness during the intro. Later stanzas built depth and intricacy on the base melody as did the Simonsig build character through layers of textures, tastes and aromas.

On the other hand, the sweetness of the Vouvray had an initial allure but quickly faded. Pleasing as a sipper, without a substantial nose it failed to link from the start and also as the solo progressed. There's a yin-yang between music and wine that builds on each other as the piano solo introduces variations, from playful staccato, melancholy minor, upbeat crescendo, etc.

As the bottleDJ says "Wine and music matching is not about measuring qualities, it is a leap into the great unknown and the pursuit of value in each wine being paired with music."   

I figure it's a start.

Afterthought: Being able to translate a symbionic relationship into words needs a vocabulary, in this case tools that more comfortably describe `music`.  Two websites that, at this stage, might help: Oracle Thinkquest  and Classics for Kids .

Now... what wines would you suggest for the following?

Cheers, Ww


Tasting was planned around two pizzas: Smoked salmon on a thin whole wheat crust and a second topping of anchovies, both with finely chopped Enoki and Brown mushrooms, and Dill Cream sauce spread evenly to the edge. The Simonsig spice and full flavour was up to the task supporting nicely the salmon and even the anchovies.

SIMONSIG CHENIN AVEC CHÊNE CHENIN BLANC 2009, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 14.5% D 5.1g/L, #282772  $28.95  (Tasted October 29, 2012) CS
Released by Vintages on September 29, 2012.
Vintages Description: As its title suggests, the 2009 Chenin Avec Chêne is aged in 400-liter French oak barrels for 11 months of which one-third are new. The nose shows great varietal character with wet wool, dried honey and a touch of lanolin with fine delineation. The palate is very well balanced, polished by that new oak (although personally I might have used a little less.) Nevertheless it has an irresistible finish of honeycomb, pear and white peach that is entrancing. Drink now-2017. Score - 93. (Neal Martin, Aug. 2011)

The Match: Smoked Salmon Mrooms Mozzarella
My notes:  An 'old gold' taint to a mid gold and a faint tangy crème brûlée on the nose. The film is thin and quickly sheds long legs from a lacy rim. The first sip has a number of things going on: bright threads of acid, a silky texture and flavours of honey, pear and lemon, each being distinct and overall, a prominent blending.  Finishes dry and mildly puckering. Best paired with seafood dishes or white fowl.  Cellaring for several years not likely to improve further.  92* (Added pts on retaste for cellar potential and complexity)

BOUGRIER VOUVRAY CHENIN BLANC 2011, Loire, France, 12.0% M 25g/L, #253229  $12.60 (Tasted October 29, 2012)  CS
A General listing.

LCBO Description:  Light gold colour with aromas peach, pair and mango, slightly off dry, good acidity, light-medium body. Serve with chicken stir fry, mango salad.

My notes: A crisp mid gold with a taint of green. The thin film glides slowly down the glass as a continuous ring and grassy aromas of citrus have a tender touch. Light pear, butter and tart lemon flavours are surprisingly sweet to the palate then slowly fade to a tangy layer of sugar as an ending. This could introduce an appetizer tray to the table or complement a spicy Thai, Bento Box or a cracked Lobster entrée. Cellaring for several years may add more complexity - it's a pleasing summer sipper or off-dry drink-now.  87

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