Yesterday I had a crazy experience. I had a winemaker come in before noon to show me some new wines. (This is a normal part of the wine business as it’s good to be exposed to as many different wines as possible.) Instantly I knew that this tasting was going to be different… and awesome. The very second he walked in, he was behind our turntables digging. He was digging for a few albums that he thought we should listen to while we drank (I’m sorry, tasted) his wines. Sure enough… literally within about one minute, he had picked 3 or 4 albums and we were jamming. Out came the wines, and we were off! It was a cool tasting. Probably the most fun I’ve had in a while. It was like I was in the back seat, and my taxi (sorry, Uber) driver was going 100 miles an hour to show me a places I’d never been or seen.
As I sit here writing and thinking about the bigger picture of this “Sip & Spin” blog, I’m encouraged. In my logical mind, the idea of a wine and music pairing is BS. But, somewhere in my creative and adventurous heart – if given the chance – I know it is possible for people to experience something really amazing. There is actually some studies done, to show the affect that music has on the was we taste! (You can read one of the articles here.) I suppose… hypothetically…. it would be feasible to say, “when you drink this, listen to this”, but for most people, that’s not very practical. I totally get it. It’s WAY more complicated than just putting down a needle and pulling a cork simultaneously. Seriously, it would be next to impossible (and stresses me out to even think of) to give a track-by-track correlation of what is going to happen to your tastebuds along the way. If I did, the funniest part would be towards the end of the record, while you (the listener) would be pretty dang happy from just simply trying to keep up (volume-wise) on the wine-side of things. What I’m hoping to accomplish, is give a little information on some wine and music I’m particularly jazzed about at the time, and hopefully choose two that compliment each other stylistically. At the end of the day, “you the reader” may think, taste, and hear something completely different than me. Love it or hate it, you checked it out, and I succeeded. I just hope to get people trying new stuff. If you sip the wine and spin the record at the same time, my hat is off to you. Please let me know what you experience!
Alpha Omega II
The beginning and the end. That’s what Alpha Omega means. It’s where the old becomes new and in the wine world, what started in Bordeaux is (arguably) being continued in the Napa valley. The winery even put together a winemaking team that reflects this type of heritage: Jean Hoefliger from Newton Winery, and Michel Rolland (as put in The Wine Snob’s dictionary): “celebrity winemaking consultant, based in Bordeaux…”. Both bring something to the table. One brings energy and passion, the other experience and history. The winery was started by college baseball player and grape grower Robin Baggett who married lawyer and hospitality consultant, Michelle Baggett. Since their inception in 2006, they have spared no expense in terms of their fruit, winemaking, and barrel program. Alpha Omega has their own estate wines that are mainly sold at the winery, wine club, and fine restaurants, but their second tier, the II, was made exclusively for wine bars and restaurants like us. This red, a blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, also has Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc to give it incredible complexity. At 14 months in 40% new French oak, this is a beauty. Cherry-vanilla on the nose, and smooth red currant in the mouth. Absolutely stunning in it’s balance and beauty. Bordeaux restraint and acidity, meets Napa’s fruit and structure.
London Grammar “If You Wait”
Classical. Inspired. Brooding. Unexpected. That’s what comes to mind when thinking about this band and record. Lead singer Hannah Reid seems to take her inspiration from the past and breathe life into sounds and emotions that are familiar and nostalgic, yet seem to come from a position of creativity and freshness. The small three piece band (including Dan Rothman and Dominic ‘Dot’ Major) has incredible depth and maturity way beyond their years, and shouldn’t be judged on their date of birth. The album “If You Wait” was released in 2013, and while they’re working on their second full-length project, the band members are all still in their 20’s. What’s super surprising to me, is that when you listen to the record, it’s like you’re transported to a more mature Annie Lenoxx and Jessie Ware, or somewhere between Florence and the Machine, and Imogen Heap. We have loved this record for quite awhile now, and highly recommend it!
If you are wanting to sample both before you buy, we have the bottle ready to be open, and the vinyl ready to be dug.
“Do I give wines and music points? Judge them on a numerical scale? No way! Our mouths and ears are all unique. What we consume with these things weren’t made for scores or ratings; they were made for our enjoyment.”