Noble Vines

2009 Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon & Radiohead’s The King of Limbs

Epic on a grand scale. The music on the vinyl, the taste and palate of the wine as well as the story of how they both came to be. Generational depth on so many levels making this a pairing fruitful enough for the nobility of kings.

Noble Vines winery who’s slogan is “Not all Vines Are Created Equal” have brought selected vines from France and transplanted them in California. Quoting from their website “Over centuries, vintners have carefully singled out the most admired vines, naming each vine with a unique number to identify its exceptional attributes. Here in California, we’ve planted a selection of these vines exactly where they will flourish best: in select locations on the red soils and cobblestones of our family-owned vineyard in Lodi and on the gentle slopes of our cool-climate estate in Monterey.”

So the pairing for the night takes vine 337, the Cab Sav, and pairs it with one truly epic release from Radiohead. The King of Limbs is a vinyl that once I purchased it; it did not leave the turntable for weeks. Still to this day when I put it on, I end up listening to it four or five time in entirety before I’m ready to swap it out for anything else. What may appear simple on the surface has so much depth. Depth which is truly only noticeable if you take the time to listen for it. One can dig as deep as they like into the layers of this masterpiece wall of sound that is The King of Limbs. I highly recommend headphones or to play it REALLY LOUD.

In much the same fashion as the vines for the wine were transplanted from France and then the grapes grown in California, Radiohead took their previous recordings, the vinyl releases of course, placed them on a turntable DJ style and sampled their own music to create the layers of musical bliss that are on The King of Limbs. In no way is this a technique you’d expect from a band known for Progressive Art Rock but the end result is a beautiful example of how deconstructing and reinventing that which has already existed can yield some very interesting new fruit.

The 337 is an amazing wine and I would have to say a real success. I may still be learning about the exquisite complexities that are present in French wines but to my meager nose and palate, I would have to say that many of the same qualities are present in this grape grown in California as the French grown sibling. It’s elegantly smooth and robust. It’s so well-rounded and seductive that the experience of flavor lingers lightly and long enough to make you think you can truly taste the south of France in the grape. A-maz-ing.

Not only are there vines and limbs present with this pairing but there are some serious roots involved as well to make both of these selections. What was before is new again and I have to say, to my ears and taste, both are masterpieces that blend together seamlessly and sound as solid as the ground beneath our feet. I’ll certainly pick up another bottle of Noble Vines creations next time I come across them and I’m sure to keep branching ever deeper into the King of Limbs.

Until next time! Keep the limbs and vines growing my friends! 😉 Salud!

Bohemian Highway

A Bohemian Highway 2008 Merlot and the 1967 Cream Classic “Disraeli Gears”

Tonight’s pairing takes us for a ride, reminiscing down the Bohemian Highway with an album in true bohemian form. The second album released from the British supergroup featuring Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce & Ginger Bruce. They deliver what has always been one of my favorite vinyls. Featuring such pivotal tracks as Strange Brew, Tales of Brave Ulysses & Sunshine of Your Love; this album still stands up amongst the best of classic rock albums. In 2003 the album was ranked number 112 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.VH1 also named it their 87th greatest album of all time in 2001.

The Bohemian Highway Merlot is an inexpensive bright ruby-red merlot that truly pleases the palate. As with any wine it’s better to let it breathe in your glass for a period to allow the wine to truly aerate and present itself. By allowing wine to mix and mingle with air, the wine will typically warm up and the wine’s aromas will open up, the flavor profile will soften and mellow out a bit and the overall flavor characteristics should improve. Once the Bohemian Highway catches some air, the resulting wine is quite fine indeed.

Paired with classic Cream the two make for a Friday night combo that hits the spot. After a long week at work, many of us are ready to dream about a weekend journey down the Bohemian Highway to sites unseen and destinations unknown. Happy weekend everyone! Cheers!

 

Lilac Wine

Jeff Buckley’s Grace and a 2010 TAZ Pinot Gris

I couldn’t help but follow-up my last pairing ( Jeff Beck – Emotion and Commotion ) with this selection. In that pairing, I began my conversation about Jeff Buckley and in this pairing. I’ll continue that conversation. As it should be.

About two weeks ago, I received an email from Amazon that had this album listed as “on sale”. It’s been on my short list of must have albums since I bought the turntable but I had never pulled the trigger; that is until this email arrived. The 180 gram vinyl edition of Grace for only $14.99!! Can you say one click purchase! Yes!  Done! I clicked and about a week later, I received, what is without a doubt, one of the best sounding vinyl records that now sits in my collection. Top 5 easy!

Jeff Buckley was one of those rare musicians that was so tapped into the creative source of our universe that he simply couldn’t hang around here any longer. Gone, at such an early age. Man but what little music he left us, truly has everything we could ever need or expect to have from an artist. Grace is a masterpiece start to finish. Every song on this album is “soul eternity” encapsulated. This album is like going to church only better because it’s Jeff, his guitar and his band resounding like angels in the throes of heaven laying it down for us mere mortals to catch a glimpse of what being there might feel like. He was already half way there when he made this album. Grace is like tapping into the potential beauty of what could be in this world.

Okay, yes my friends, I really like this album allot and I could probably enjoy it with most any wine. Yet, I’ll give the TAZ some props as well becasue it truly is a lovley, silky nice Pinot Gris that any Pinot fan should get aquainted with at some point. The chilled TAZ Pinot Gris has a lovely rounded palate that sings of buttery lemons. It’s a great wine for the patio on a summer night and yet; I’m truly right at home with it here in the living room with my turntable and “Grace” blasting as loud as my neighbors can stand it.

Happy Cinco De Mayo all!! A  “Lilac Wine” pairing that truly encapsulates how lucky we all are to be here now. In this space. In this time. So Real.

“Lilac wine is sweet and heady,
like my love
Lilac wine,
I feel unsteady,
like my love

Listen to me… I cannot see clearly
Isn’t that she
coming to me
nearly here?
Lilac wine is sweet and heady
where’s my love?
Lilac wine,
I feel unsteady,
where’s my love?

Listen to me, why is everything so hazy?
Isn’t that she,
or am I just going crazy, dear?

Lilac Wine,
I feel unready for my love…

Up on Paso Creek

A Remembrance Pairing for Levon:
A 2009 Paso Creek Cabernet Sauvignon and The Band – Cahoots

There will never be another like Levon. His vocals were always raw with passion, they were the sound of the lusty wildcat, the stern Southern preacher, the depleted Confederate soldier, the dirt farmer at the end of his day. His vocal delivery of “When I Paint My Masterpiece” on this album is but one of the many masterpieces that Levon left behind. Levon’s music and vibe spoke directly to your soul, you know he meant everything he put down. He embodied the music in a way few ever could. The fact he did it from behind the drum kit is just another proverbial icing on the cake to the level of this mans talent. Drumming is a tough enough to master on its own and there have been very few that could deliver a lead vocal from behind a kit.

“The Weight”, while not on this particular album that I paired this evening, has always been one of my all time favorite songs ever. It embodies everything you strive for as a songwriter. It encapulates an entire world inside those few minutes that transports you immediatley into a story. “The Weight” takes the folk music motif of a traveler, who in the first line arrives in Nazareth in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. (The band Nazareth took its name from this line.) Once there, he encounters various residents of the town, the song being a story of these encounters. Nazareth is the hometown of the guitar manufacturer C. F. Martin & Company.

Robbie may have been the main songwriter in the group but Levon was truly a vessel for its delivery. A vessel that had the touch, the style and the grace that left no room for doubt that he certainly meant every single word he sang and every beat he played. As a southern boy, Levon’s voice and style always resonated with me. It would stop me in my tracks and make me stop what I was doing, capturing my full attention. I just couldn’t help it. The night they drove old dixie down indeed.

I’d be a bushwhacker
Even be your hijacker
Keep your candle burning bright

When we cross that railroad track
There’ll be no turning back
Come tread softly through the night

Don’t leave me sitting here
Up on top of your fence
I’m like an alley cat up here, without a lick of sense

Volcano–I’m about to blow
Volcano–Gonna overflow
Volcano–Look out below

RIP

Levon Helm, May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012
Life is a carnival, believe it or not.

Resurrection via Heritage

 

Resurrection Reserve California Merlot & Opeth’s – Heritage

The wine label for Resurrection was painted by Phil Galatas world champion wood-carver and artist who was inspired in his home state of Louisiana by hurricane Katrina. The reflection of the fleur-de-lis suggests the devastation from Katrina, while the top represents the re-birth and growth. The golden oak inside the fleur-de-lis represents the strength and endurance of the people of the gulf coast.

The album Heritage by Opeth represents a true departure from their normal metal fair and instead reflects a band with a serious amount of depth that has yet to be tapped.

In a review for Allmusic, Thom Jurek called Heritage the band’s most adventurous album, describing the songs as “drenched in instrumental interludes, knotty key and chord changes, shifting time signatures, clean vocals, and a keyboard-heavy instrumentation that includes Mellotrons, Rhodes pianos, and Hammond organs”.

Mixed by Stephen Wilson of Porcupine Tree, this album is considered by many to be part one in a trilogy of albums involving Wilson and Opeth guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt. This album being the first, Wilson’s album Grace for Drowning being the second (a phenomenal recording not to be missed) and the upcoming collaboration entitled Storm Corrosion which is now available for pre-order, being the third part of this trilogy of esoteric thought-provoking metal, jazz & rock. So far the trilogy is two for two in my book and I can’t wait to hear the third epic conclusion of this saga.

The double 180 gram gatefold vinyl truly focuses on rebirth and new beginnings as is also reflected in the label for the Resurrection Merlot. This album is haunting and enchanted, which in my opinion gives it a real New Orleans kind of vibe. A gothic legacy of progressive metal that strays into ancient realms with the addition of some truly spooky instrumental arrangements. If you want to focus in and look up one song that defines this album, have a listen to “Nepenthe” and you’ll have a true taste of what the vibe of this album is like. I’m just sorry I can’t link to what it sounds like on vinyl. Streaming youtube videos is hardly my choice for quality audio but for those unfamiliar with this band, it will at least help to give you a taste. Just remember, each and every track of this album provides a new layer of depth. It is an album to be appreciated as an album and not as individual songs cut up on a digital hard drive. If you’re not convinced by “Nepenthe”, another one to check out is “Famine” a song that truly reaches new metallic heights with its Jethro Tull like flute glissandos while lashing out like an early Black Sabbath locomotive.

There is always a deep embroidery of a family tree behind each and every one of us, yet the world around us continues to change and each of us continue to adapt to it. Heritage, while maybe a basis for all that we have come from in the past, also represents the potential and possibilities for what is in store for each of us down the road as well. What once was will be again. We are all but a branch of the same tree.

A smooth, rich, fruity, robust wine that is barrel aged with grapes from Sonoma County and paired with a robust and adventuresome album. I recommend them both!
Let us all drink to rebirth and continual growth!
Cheers All! 😉

Dubber Dreaming

A 2009 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon by The Dreaming Tree
&
Dubber Side of the Moon by Easy Star All Stars

Since I have no Dave Mathews on vinyl yet and this is his wine collaboration, hopefully I did ok by him in pairing this wine with one of the coolest reggae vinyl’s of 2010, Easy Star All Star’s Dubber Side of the Moon. Which is an album of remix versions of their original Dub Side of the Moon album that was released in 2003 on fabulously sexy marbled green vinyl.

Dubber is an entirely new level from the original album. The remixes take more liberties whereas the original album was more about faithfully recreating the Pink Floyd classic in the reggae style. I truly love them both!

The Dreaming Tree Cabernet is an extremely rich and smoky cab, which makes perfect sense when pairing it with this extremely smoky reggae vinyl. Classic aromas of blackberry, cherry, and dry herb notes are wrapped by toasted vanilla and soft, mouth-filling tannins. Elegant and supple, it’s an easy-drinking wine with a lot of character.

Toasted but Not Wasting

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
&
a Toasted Head 2009 Barrel Aged North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon

A celebratory 2012 Grammy pairing of sorts for National Drink Wine Day 2012, as the Foo Fighters scored five honors, for Best Rock Album (Wasting Light), Best Rock Song (“Walk”), Best Rock Performance (“Walk”) and Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance (“White Limo”), and Best Long Form Music Video (“Foo Fighters: Back and Forth”).

Wasting Light was recorded in Dave’s garage (although a snazzy studio it is) all on old school analogue tape. The result is one of the best sounding vinyl albums (45 rpm 180 gram double album gate fold) that has been released in a long time. It remained in the analogue realm up until post mastering and the end product is warm and shimmering! It truly gleams with full body and attitude.This album is not for the faint of heart audiophile that mostly listens to laid back chill out music; this album rocks your face off!

Toasted Head is named for the age-old process of toasting barrel heads with fire, which is what helps to create the distinct tasty flavor in all of the wines. One certainly tastes the smoky hints that run through the body of this wine. I think this process also relates quite well to “Wasting Light”, which overall has an urgent plea for us all to quit waiting for our lives to begin and start living our dreams. Like a toasted charred barrel we all still have to rise from the ashes from time to time and savor the smoky perfumes that crashing and burning leaves behind. Life goes on. There will always be a before and after, all we can really do is just enjoy now.