A step-by-step guide...1. AppearanceMC Hammer – U Can’t Touch This Checking out the appearance of wine is kind of like judging a book by its cover. Is it a shitty romance novel from the 80's that you probably don't want to read anymore or the latest Gillian Flynn novel? Look for things like brown color, haziness. If you see them, consider asking that cute bartender for a new glass (though this doesn't always mean they're bad–more on that later). Hint: lighter colors tend to indicate youth aka the opposite of how we feel when looking back at these old videos.2. NoseNirvana – Smells Like Teen SpiritStick your nose in there. Swirl your glass to let some oxygen get cozy with your wine to bring out its aromas. Do you smell the grungy basement featured in Nirvana’s video? Again, maybe want to ask for a new glass. Do you smell fruits, flowers, spices, veggies, oak, etc. etc.? Take ‘em all in and make sure it aligns with your expectations - does this smell like a Golden Corral buffet or a 5-star meal coming at you?BOTTOMS UP! Let’s start drinking already...3. PalateUsher – Nice & SlowHere’s the fun part. Start drinking! And in the words of our dear friend, Usher, you ain’t gotta rush. Take it nice & slow, baby. Use both your senses of taste and smell to break down what you’re savoring. The next five songs will take us through what to look for while we taste.4. SweetnessTyrese – Sweet Lady90% of the time, you’re not going to be finding your “sweet lady.” Even if you’re tasting flavors that generally remind you of sweet things, most wines are dry, aka not sweet, aka don’t have sugar. Just like that word you’re trying to find to describe what you’re tasting, sweetness is most easily identified on the tip of your tongue. 5. AcidityTLC – WaterfallsDoes your mouth start watering like your dog’s on a 90 degree day? Bam: that’s acidity! It’s what makes lemons sour and wine taste refreshing. Acidity helps cut through things like sweetness and fat.6. TanninsDarude – SandstormThis is a cheat guys ‘cause the song technically came out in 2000, but let’s be real, it’s 🔥. Do you drink black tea? You know that feeling your mouth gets from it? Like your mouth is literally filled with sand? That’s the tannins. They come from the skins of the grape, so you typically find ‘em in red and orange wines. They’re most easily sensed at the back of your mouth or on your gums and their strength depends on the amount of skin contact during grapemaking. ;) 7. BodySir Mix A Lot – Baby Got BackDoes this baby have back? The easiest comparison to help you guess the body (light, medium, full) is to compare to milk. Does it feel super light like skim milk or more like straight-up cream? A lot of factors contribute to a wine’s body, but alcohol is one of the bigger ones. Fun party trick to know how boozy your wine might be without checking the label.8. FlavorsSeal – Kiss from a RoseMariah Carey – HoneySpice Girls – Spice Up Your LifeWe’re going in on the song variety for this one because this is the part where you just attempt to rattle off whatever you’re tasting. Spices? Floral notes? Herbs? Honey, creaminess, dairy notes? Earth? Animals (yes, seriously)? Colors of the world? And most importantly, do you actually like these things you’re tasting?9. FinishThe Cranberries – LingerNotice if the flavors linger and hang around like your deadbeat ex boyfriend (but in a good way this time) or if they’re gone in a flash like a one night stand. Sometimes they can be like that one guy you dated who turned into a completely different person overnight.Now’s time to act like Simon Cowell and give this guy a brutally honest final verdict. 10. BalanceThe Verve – Bittersweet SymphonyIn really, really good wines, all of these things – flavor, acidity, finish, body, tannins – are going to come together in perfect harmony. Does one seem out of whack like Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions? Or do you feel like Reese Witherspoon driving down the highway in the convertible during the end credits when you drink this?11. LengthFoo Fighters – EverlongWe visited the finish above. The longer the finish, typically, the better quality the wine.12. IntensityBackstreet Boys – Larger than LifeHow intense are the aromas you smell and flavors you taste? If they’re larger than life, that often indicates good quality.13. ComplexitySarah McLachlan – Building a MysteryIs there so much going on with this wine in terms of flavors that it feels like you’re unraveling a mystery as you drink it? Complexity is a solid indication that this wine is like a boss. 14. Final ConclusionChristina Aguilera – What a Girl WantsN*Sync – Bye, Bye, ByeCongratulations, you’ve made it to the end of your glass and better news: there’s still a whole bottle to go. So tell us: Is it “what a girl wants” or is this “bye, bye, bye?”
All Stories in "vinomusic"
The Doors provide one of THE best soundtracks for wine - simple as that. They just sound better with it. I mean, as one of the pioneers of 60's psychedelic rock, their music is created by (and meant for) altered states. Get the right kind of vino with Waiting for the Sun on vinyl and, yo, you're having a hell of a day.In fact, Waiting for the Sun features "Yes, the River Knows" - a jam penned by the band's guitarist, Robby Krieger. There's a line about "drowning myself in masticated wine". Or is it "mystic heated wine"? In any case, it's a damn good time if you get past the morbidity of it all.Pro tip: playing The Doors outside is awesome. Something about their L.A. roots makes the sun and a cool breeze the perfect companion. And for that you'll want some refreshing California grape juice.The wineLet's go bubbles. An appropriate select is the Chronic Cellars "Spritz and Giggles" straight outta Paso Robles in the 805. This California sparkler is well-aligned for those late summer transitions into early fall. That time where the air is starting to get a bit crisp yet the backyard is still ripe for lounging.You're going to get a lot of fruit on this one. Fresh-cut apples and some sneaky citrus will find its way on your tongue. Despite its fruit dominance, the bubbles aren't overly sweet nor dry. There's a bit of spice that will remind you fall (the season, not your balance) is on the way - all without ruining your day in the sun with The Doors. And at $15 a pop, you can easily stock a few in your chiller for a groovy afternoon.As referenced by their cheeky branding and unique label designs, the brothers who run Chronic Cellars produce wine that is true reflection of themselves. Zany, humble, and original. They come from a family legacy of winemaking and team up with their childhood friend, Joe Kalionzes, on all things design.Much like the creative output of The Doors, Chronic's aesthetic and product are woven together to create a richer tasting experience. Blend the music and juice together to give all of your senses a ride!
Wine ain't just about the alcohol (well, that's often not true). It's a journey of sorts that unites taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch for a sensory occurrence that few other indulgences can match. In fact, every good experience you can think of can only be made immensely better with the right wine. I like this grape. talks a lot about pairing a specific wine with a particular artist (helloooo #VINOMUSIC). But have you ever zoomed out and wondered which varietals would go with a certain genre of music? Today, to help you drink to the sound, I present the ideal wine varietals for your favorite type of tunes: La Marca Prosecco This versatile sparkling wine from Italy is fresh, crisp and clean, and requires a fresh sound to go with it. Pop on some Michael Buble and let his smooth voice and upbeat style serenade you all evening. What’s great about Buble is that he is one of the few singers today whose voice is filled with old soul. For some variety, try Norah Jones, Harry Connick Jr., Jamie Cullum or Matt Dusk. You’ll be in for a treat. Cabernet Sauvignon One of the most popular types of red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon comes in cherry, plum, spice and blackcurrant flavors. It's often the preferred choice to unwind and recuperate after a busy day at work. Come home, kick back with a glass, and you’ve got a slice o' heaven. This red wine is great for both celebrations and chillax, thus deserves the right music to back it up. If you’re a fan of Bob Dylan, you’re in for an amazing evening. The combination, a classic grape meets classic story, will let Dylan’s poetic lyrics mesmerize you. For a more modern spin, we can’t recommend Australia’s Courtney Barnett enough. Her rambling, witty album is strong evidence why she just might be the heir to Dylan’s throne. Jason Isbell, Laura Marling, Jake Bugg, Cold Specks and Jessica Pratt make awesome companions too. Slovenian Orange Wine This innovative wine is for hip-hop fans. Just like how hip-hop redefined music, Orange Wine packs funky flavors and boasts an army of passionate fans. 90’s kids, your playlist would consist of legends like Tupac and NWA, while younger wine enthusiasts would fine Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Drake, Iggy Azalea and Eminem to go great with Orange Wine. Chardonnay What can we say? Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wines in the world. Complex taste, rich, moderate acidity and fruity are all fitting descriptions for this amazing drink. Some of the fruity flavors include apple, watermelon, pineapple, peach and pear. This sipping wine blends well with many types of food. If you've been bingeing too much Netflix, open up a good book, slap on some Bach (the classical composer; not the Skid Row frontman) and you won’t even feel the time whizz by. Easy-listening music works well with Chardonnay. Josh Groban is an option. Other fantastic choices would be from the likes of Taylor Swift (the older cuts), Jason Mraz, Mary Juane Clair and Lighthouse Family to name a few. Just typing out these names made us want to stop all work and reach for that bottle. Pinot Noir “Distinct, smooth and laid back with no shortage of character”, is how 5th generation winegrower Karl D. Wente describes Pinot Noir. Featuring flavors such as classic berry, currant and cherry, this wine’s silky textures blend beautifully with smooth jazz. Pinot Noir is best enjoyed with jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, John Coltrane or Miles Davis. The likes of Marquis Hill, Craig Hartley, Theo Croker and David Sanborn keep doing justice to their predecessors. Definitely worth being on your playlist as you kick back with a glass of Pinot Noir. Try out the above pairings and drop is a line telling us what you think. We are always on the lookout for awesome pairing options that help enjoy the wine experience. We’d love to know what you're experimenting with. About your author David Wilson David Wilson is a wine professional with over 20+ years of industry experience. His love for wine has seen him travel and work in various locations throughout Australia, a four-year stint in the USA and a lot of trips to New Zealand. He spent eight years with one of Australia’s largest retailers before working for the fourth largest wine producer globally; he is the owner of Block78 an Australian online wine company based in Australia. If he could be a wine, it would be Shiraz!
Ah, springtime in Italy. It's that window of the year where Vespa-saddled adventurers in the Tuscan countryside don't sweat from blazing summer heat nor tremble from winter's icebox. It's stunning weather, even better scenery and, of course, some of the best vino you've ever had the fortune of staining your teeth with. Primavera Italiana is also the time of year where both reds and whites go well with the Tuscan climate. You're not going to find the maniac fruit bombs of California zinfandels here. The snow-loving Gewürztraminer? Forget it. Instead, you'll be getting into some rustic, herb-driven flavors that have been perfected over a long legacy of winemaking. A sip (or gulp) of history, if you will. Under the Tuscan sun The very essence of Tuscan wine is Chianti Classico. A sub-region of Chianti that sits just south of Florence, Chianti Classico carries the flag of historic Italian wine. And it's highly regulated. You'll know by the rooster accompanying its labels that it's the good shit. And by that I mean you'll be drinking a government-mandated 75%+ Sangiovese (at least) and some other flagship reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot thrown in there. Anything produced outside of the Chianti Classico neighborhood: no rooster for you. Picture yourself on the roof of a 17th century home, overlooking the rolling hills of Siena. It's late afternoon - you're aching for some Classico and the perfect jams to go with it. Let's go: The drink Pop the cork out of a 2013 Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Classico. This 100% Sangiovese is full of ripe, forest fruit on the tongue and spice on the nose. The balance of its fruit and tannins gives off elegance that is pure Tuscany - the ideal choice for drinking in, literally and figuratively, your surroundings. The 2013 is tasting really well now and should be for the next couple of years. The Fèlsina brand is highly revered as a Chianti Classico producer. The family took over the estate in the mid-60's when Italian wine production was in a lull. The land, however, has been producing wine for 1,000+ years, which allowed the family to bring its storied flavor back into the deserved limelight. Fèlsina has perfected the art of squeezing genuine Italy out of an exclusively Sangiovese-driven Chianti Classico. Siena bathed in light The tunes Oklahoma-bred Other Lives will suit the occasion nicely. Their sultry, atmospheric vibe provides a solid soundtrack for almost any chill time. Blend with the twilight beaming against the backdrop of Siena's resplendent buildings and those rolling Tuscan hills - you'll enhance that experience tenfold. And with Fèlsina's superb take on Chianti Classico? Supreme bliss. The Other Lives sound can often times feel haunting as well. Matched with seductive undertones and, to me, you have the Italian aesthetic at its core: sexy, transcendental and rich in history. I suggest going right for their 2015 release, Rituals. A couple of tracks, 2 Pyramids & Reconfiguration, are standouts but the album in its entirety should be ingested in parallel with your Berardenga Chianti Classico. Even if you can't make it to Siena in the near future, flipping on Other Lives with your 2013 Fèlsina deliciousness will quickly transport you there. At the very least, you'll get to enjoy some stellar Italian vino and therapeutic melody to go with it. Cheers! (Featured image courtesy of Emily Ulmer)
Are you familiar with Californian Syrah? It's that inky, peppery grape flavored up on dark fruits and topped off with a generous heap of oak. How about Petite Sirah? Another opaque colored wine that blankets your tongue with vacuum-like tannins ("petite" is the irony of it all). Blend these two varietals together and you have some crazy good black magic - or as Karen McNeil, author of The Wine Bible, says about Syrah by itself, "Like wearing cowboy boots with a tuxedo. Rustic yet elegant". Petite Sirah adds the spurs and 10-gallon hat. Now, has Shiraz or Durif ever touched your lips? Well, you may or may not know these two grapes are actually the Australian (and South African) equivalent of Syrah and Petite Sirah. Same grapes, different location. Australia's sun-kissed terroir gives their version a little bit more fruit. In either case, both varietals thrive in dry, hot climates where wide-brimmed hats are fashionable AND functional. A wine that is spicy, bold and punchy like a Shiraz/Durif blend deserves an equally rugged soundtrack: The goods Let's crack open a bottle of 2016 The Black Stump Durif Shiraz, created by winemaker Alan Kennett. This beast's grapes are grown in South Eastern Australia, which is notorious for its distant vineyards and producing the country's best wines. In fact, "The Black Stump" often refers to the Australian Outback where going "beyond the black stump" means heading into a remote or uncivilized area. A pretty killer fit for the label, right? This wine will come at you with Durif leading the charge at 60% and Syrah's peppery fruit rounding it out at 40%. The result is a spiced jam hit that is brawny yet easy to drink - like a bodybuilder serving a savory but light breakfast. It'll finish dry but carrying a smooth chocolate undertone with it. In other words, a solid select for easing into the "grippy" world of earthier wines. For less than 14 bucks to get a bottle, this is a pretty easy call. Also feel free to rack it for a few years. The tunes Austin's The Black Angels are an excellent choice to complement the Durif/Shiraz. These Texans exude a psychedelic sound that is rugged while ethereal in its delivery - much like The Black Stump's peppery foundation that leaves your mouth with a souvenir of dark fruit and chocolate. Imagine kicking your feet up on the fire pit (not too close, dammit!) on a chilly night in Joshua Tree. You've got the sprawling, minimalist desert landscape ahead and nothing but time on your hands. The Black Stump will bring out the harsh terroir in front of you while The Black Angels' trippy vibe will do the same. You'll easily get lost in your own head. The combo translates well to a chill hangout just as much as it does a rowdy night dancing around said fire with friends. Joshua Tree The Black Angels have a new album this year, but I'd recommend going back to roots with their 2008 release Directions To See A Ghost. The psychedelic tone is thick on this cut and marries with the Australian Durif Shiraz incredibly well. Turn it up, pour it out, and enjoy!
Music and Wine should be paired. Both can transport you to another time, place or memory. Some artist are just naturally gifted with a voice, with a melody with the talent to excel in music. One such artist is Alicia Keys who writes her music, has an unparalleled voice of beauty and can play the piano at a concert pianist level. It's only natural to pair the beautiful voice of Alicia Keys with a glass of 2012 Fume Blanc from Grgich Hills Estate in Sonoma. The Fume Blanc is 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes grown naturally, without artificial pesticides or herbicides - all natural baby! Give it a shot while listening to Alicia Keys and snacking on a warm Sunday afternoon - what could be more natural. Listen: ALICIA KEYSExplore: 2012 Grgich Hills Fume Blanc