Primal Roots III

Primal Roots 2

 1970’s Led Zeppelin III & a 2010 Primal Roots Red Blend

III-2My day went pretty well today. On my way home this afternoon I stopped in one of my regular vinyl haunts here in Austin (End of An Ear) and came across a missing piece of the vinyl collection. Every time, over the past few years, that I’ve come across Zeppelin III, it has been an utterly thrashed copy. Beaten, abused and loved to death you might say. Today however, I found this gem! A VG+ condition, US gate-fold edition, complete with volvelle intact. A copy of what has to be one of my favorite Zep albums of all Zep albums. It’s an album that I refused to settle for a dilapidated copy of. I might add, it was not a bad price considering what many of the thrashed versions I’ve seen have been going for. Today, I reap the vinyl reward and pair this gem with Primal Roots 2010 Red Blend.

Primal Roots 4I’d been studying the Primal Roots label for some time trying to decide what vinyl would be the best to pair it with. Their website describes the wine as “Provocative, Sensual & Luscious”. This sent me down a few paths before deciding on the Zep. If I had any Robert Johnson on vinyl I would have probably gone with that instead. Yes, the holes in the vinyl collection are endless I suppose.

I also contemplated other more “provocative” artists such as Prince and Sly Stone but I kept coming back to the “Roots” in the name of the wine and to me there has to be some type of blues reference there. So after the days purchase, and knowing what I know about the evolution of rock and Zeppelin’s influences, I felt this album certainly maintains some primal roots and deserves the pairing. It’s not a far stretch to call this album Sensual & Luscious by any means. The second sides’ acoustic numbers alone have enough sexuality to breed what should be, an enjoyable night by the record player with your companion and this bottle of wine.

Primal-Roots-3The wine is a blend of Merlot, Zinfandel and Syrah that tends to linger a bit on the sweet side for my palate. It’s a bit of a surprising start as you’re hit with a flourish of the sweet Syrah and Zin, followed by a more mellow earthy vibe from the Merlot in the finish. It did take a glass to settle into the ride. It’s a bit of a roller coaster really but that can be a fun adventure for any wine enthusiast. To actually be surprised by where a wine takes you is part of the joy of tasting a wonderfully crafted wine. Blends can certainly have that effect and this tasting adventure is much like life itself.

III gatefold

Life is a ride and you never know where it might take you. The year is still young and we have so many new adventures awaiting us. I’m truly excited about what all life has on the horizon and as for Vinyl Pairings, well let’s just say the voices are growing and things are about to expand significantly. Very exciting stuff. I’m off to blast “The Immigrant Song” one more time!

Until next time my friends! Cheers!

III

Primal-Roots

Afterglow takes Root for the New Year

Afterglow takes Root

Black Country Communion’s 2012 release “Afterglow”
& a 2010 Root:1 Cabernet Savignon from Chile

It’s been a couple of months since our last post. We truly hope that everyone enjoyed the holiday season and is ready to rock and roll through 2013! It’s time to take Root in a New Year and we’re kicking it off with a bang, pairing a Chilean Cabernet Savignon with the super group that is Black Country Communion and their release Afterglow.

Black-Country-CommunionBlack Country Communion, for those that don’t already know, is composed of bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes, guitarist and vocalist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham, and keyboardist Derek Sherinian. This band has the chops and they truly show them on this release.

From the lead off track “Big Train” all the way through to the finally “Crawl”, this album delivers exactly what you would hope for. Bonamassa is a monster on the guitar and Hughes sounds better than ever. Bonham, well do you really have to say anything other than “Bonham”? He’s laying it down in true family fashion.
I can’t say enough good things about the musical performances that are recorded in the grooves of this vinyl. Many a new band could learn a thing or two from these veteran performers. Glen Hughes as so much depth and grace on this record, it’s truly amazing, in my opinion he outshines the others a tad on this particular release, the bands third album. Hughes is a top notch rock and roll vocalist of the highest caliber and his bass playing on this record is phenomenal. My personal favorite stand out tracks, “This is Your Time” and the title track “Afterglow” on side one and the second sides’ “The Circle” & “Common Man”. Chops galore! Truly not a dud on the entire album and well worth the price of admission.

The Root:1 Cab Sav (average price around $12.99) gets its name from the fact that it’s crafted exclusively from grapes grown on the oldest root-stock system in the world. This original ungrafted root systems tended by the master winemaker in Chile gives the wine a rich, pure, fruit flavor and aroma. It’s a very well-defined and well bodied wine. A supple nose and a silky cab body that truly makes for an enjoyable wine.

Pure Ungrafted Rock and Roll and a Pure Ungrafted Grapevine

As we let the “Afterglow” of 2012 fade behind us, we look ever forward into the New Year with excitement and anticipation for what the future has in store for us all. Keep those Roots planted and until next time when we can again savor the fruits of life via some tasty tunes and some tasty wine, cheers my friends!

Afterglow-Collage

 

Blood Red Wine

A 2011 Curious Beasts California “Blood Red Wine”
& the 2012 collaboration “Storm Corrosion” Happy Halloween!

The Storm Corrosion pairing is one that has been coming for some time. A conclusion to the trilogy of pairings that started with Steven WIlson’s solo album Grace For Drowning, continued with Opeth’s album Heritage and now concludes with the collaborative effort of Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth & Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree, in the form of Storm Corrosion.

Truett-Hurst Winery’s Curious Beasts brings us one of the most fun packaging displays that I’ve seen and paired to date. To begin with the wine is packaged in a marvelously decorated day of the dead style paper bag that immediately lets you know you’re getting something more than just a flavorful wine, you’re getting a real experience popping the cork of this gem. Once you’ve removed the bottle from the bag, you reveal a wonderfully designed label, complete with drips of blood on everything from the sku on the back, to the cork that’s in the bottle. Pretty freaking awesome if you ask me.

Truett-Hurst, the Sonoma County wine company and trendsetter, along with critically acclaimed package designer Kevin Shaw, of Stranger & Stranger (New York and London), identified 22 buying occasions and created brands in a packaging format that commands a powerful shelf presence. With the added paper real estate, the wraps allow for more copy, recipes, and engagement among consumers in a way that a tiny back label cannot. The Evocative Wrapped Bottles present a major opportunity for gifting.” – From PR Newswire The wine was developed to be sold at Safeway grocery stores. I found it locally in Austin at my Randalls which is a division of Safeway.
 
To say I had high hopes for this album goes without saying. Were my expectations met? Well, not entirely but it is still a solid album if you like spooky progressive rock. That’s really all I come away with after listening to it a few times. It doesn’t always hit the mark for me and instead of sincerely being spooky, it comes off a bit campy at times, ala Edward Scissorhands or something. So as for the hopes of a divine trilogy of albums I find myself perfectly content to stay with the first two albums.
 
As for the actual wine that is inside this unique and inventive packaging, I absolutely loved it! The Blood Red Wine blend is marvelously and masterfully done. A blend that is supple to the palate, extremely well-rounded and balanced. A bit sweet and fruity at first but once it opens up it truly blossoms into a well rounded blend. I highly recommend this wine for a gift to take to your Halloween party or Day of the Dead festivities.
 
Here’s to a safe and happy Halloween everyone! Cheers!

Everybody Loves Somebody

A Justerini & Brooks Blended Scotch Whiskey with a splash of Shasta Club Soda
paired with a Mexican import edition of Dean Martin’s “Everybody Loves Somebody”

Talk about classy entertainment. There haven’t been many like Dean that have come around. An all around entertainer, Dean did it all with style and grace and usually with a glass of scotch and soda in his hands. According to his son, when he did drink was it was typically what you see here, J&B blended scotch whiskey and a splash of soda.

His son Ricci Martin is quoted saying the following, “While it was true that Dad drank, the drunky routines were an act. On stage, and later on the set of his TV show, Dad usually had a J&B scotch and soda he nursed through the performance. It was almost always a weak scotch and soda. Other times it was just apple juice. I never saw Dad drink a martini, although the martini glass logo was frequently used in his TV show promotions and there have been countless martini bars christened in his honor. I suppose much of the association came from the last name he took, but he was never much of a martini drinker.” So there you have it, from a source that should indeed know the story.

As for the J&B blended scotch, just the fact that this company began making whiskey in 1749, and are still producing the same classic blend should tell you something.

From the distillor: Each time you sip J&B RARE, 42 different whiskies pass your lips. They are carefully blended together to create a subtle, smooth and complex flavour. The delicate balance is what gives J&B RARE its distinctive character. If we took even one whisky away you would taste the difference.

The heart of J&B RARE is formed by Speyside Malt Whiskies. They provide the fruity, fresh quality you can taste, and give J&B its light colour. Speyside is recognised as the superior area in Scotland for making malt. Added to that are some of the finest grain whiskies Scotland has to offer. They help reveal the individual flavours of the various malts, unveiling the pleasant, smooth character of J&B.

The two in my opinion are indeed timeless. Dean’s character and his music will always be around and I would imagine that J&B will be around making scotch whiskey for quite some time to come as well.

Here’s hoping that all of us can enjoy it as long as we want and truly do so with someone that we love! Till next time! Salute!

 

Deep Purple

A 2009 Lodi Deep Purple Zinfandel from Cali
& 1972’s Deep Purple Machine Head from Great Britain

This is one of those pairings that was truly “way to literal” to be much of an intriguing success, but it’s also way to literal to go with much of anything else, so there you have it, Deep Purple meet Deep Purple.

The Lodi Californian Zinfandel is a truly tasty Zin and if I’m not mistaken, it is the first Zin that I’ve paired here on Vinyl Pairings. I guess this makes it fairly obvious that Zinfandels are not the first types of wine that I go for. Luckily, this one caught my eye for obvious reasons and I had to give it a shot and pair it up with one of the most classic rock and roll albums of all time.

Still to this day, I have to imagine, that anyone starting to learn how to play guitar is bound to start with a riff from this album. “Smoke on the Water” is still one of the first things anyone interested in rock guitar learns how to play. It’s pretty much the vowels and nouns of guitar chords.

For such obvious reasons we’ll keep this blog short and sweet. The Zin is divine and the Machine Head is sublime. It doesn’t get much better for anyone looking for a tasty Zinfandel and some classic heavy rock and roll.

Cheers Everyone! Until the next cork is popped. Hope to see you soon my friends!

Born to Run

A 2009 Indelible Wines Vintage Ink Deepest Merlot
& 1975’s Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

“Baby this town rips the bones from your back. Its a death trap, it’s a suicide rap, we gotta get out while were young. `Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run!”

Deep Rooted Tradition Meets Ground Breaking Technique

A 2010 Noble Vines 181 Merlot & 1965’s A Love Supreme by John Coltrane

“Deep rooted tradition meets ground breaking technique”, this is the motto of Noble Vines and the obvious title for this pairing with John Coltrane. This is the second time we’ve paired a wine from Noble Vines Winery, the first being our pairing with “The King of Limbs” by Radiohead. Let me just say that the 181 vine brought from Bordeaux and transplanted in California seems to be doing just as well as it’s sibling the 337 Cab Sav. This is one delicious bottle of wine. From the first hint of the nose just moving the glass in front of me, I could tell they have another winner here. The nose, the palate & the finish of this wine is top-notch Merlot and by all regards, a French Merlot at heart.

From the 181 Merlot to the 180 gram reissue of the masterpiece that is “A Love Supreme”, how can you say what needs to be said about this definitive album? Often listed amongst the most influential jazz albums of all time, this puppy sings of the universe and is life incarnate in the modern movement of what would be defined as the medium of jazz. As further testimony to the recording’s historic significance, the manuscript for the album is one of the National Museum of American History’s “Treasures of American History”, part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Put it this way, if you are not familiar with the language of jazz, you would be doing very well to start here.

So for another “Winesday” / “Humpday” pairing, we leave you with a bit of the prayer John included in the liner notes of this grand gatefold.

May we never forget that in the sunshine of our lives, through the storm and after the rain – it is all with God – in all ways and forever.
ALL PRAISE TO GOD.
With love to all, I thank you, – John Coltrane

Tattoo You!

A 2008 Napa Valley Cab Sav by Castle Rock
& 1981’s Tattoo You by the Rolling Stones

We’re making a return to Castle Rock winery with this pairing! We were so impressed with their Monterey County Pinot Noir that when I came across this Napa Valley Cav Sav, I had to pick it up for a taste. I’m truly amazed by the variety of grapes and the variety of regions Castle Rock manages to cover. They’re obviously “all in” when it comes to covering the many bases of winemaking.

The Stones are a band that you could easily say the same thing about; they are a band that knows how to cover the bases of rock and roll Tattoo You is a good example of this since it’s primarily composed of a variety of outtakes from previous recording sessions, a little of this and a little of that, some recordings dating back a decade, with new vocals and overdubs, it covers a lot of ground. Which might be why it’s still one of my favorite and in my opinion, most underrated, Stones albums. Sure it has their last #1 US hit “Start Me Up” but it’s songs like “Worried About You”, “Tops”, “Slave” & “Waiting On A Friend” that are at the core of this release.

This is another vinyl that I’ve had, almost since the day it came out and I can still remember the day I bought it in 1981. I was just a kid, not even a teen yet, but thanks to the early days of MTV (thanks Martha Quinnn you are awesome!), this particular Stones album ended up in my collection early on. Yes, it was my first Stones album, but obviously not my last.

The Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley is an extremely well-rounded wine. Maybe I’m just more partial to a Cab but I think if I came across both the Castle Rock Pinot Noir from Monterey County and this one at the same time, I’d go for the Cab Sav myself. It’s truly delicious and loaded with flavor. It’s got a nose that’s more to my preference with earthy nuances that seem to bring out the tannins of the wine in a more well-rounded fashion. Of course, many may say that’s just the difference between the Pinot Noir and the Cab Sav.

Regardless of the how’s and why’s, let me just say that this is a fabulous wine, not too expensive and well worthy of a trip to a friend’s house. Tattoo You is an album that many should go back and listen to again if they haven’t heard it recently. In fact grab it and take it along with a bottle of Castle Rocks Cab Sav to your good friends house and have a toast or two. Keep on rocking friends!

Austin Soul

Independence Brewing Company’s Austin Amber
and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Soul to Soul

A pairing for National Drink Beer Day. Although it’s the first year I’ve heard about it, I did indeed indulge in some local craft beer to celebrate this year along with another local love, some Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Austin Amber is made right here in Austin, right off of Todd Lane close to where I used to live in town by Amy and Rob Cartwright at Independence Brewing Company.

The Amber is a yummy brew top to bottom. The brewers quote, “A beer as laid back as Austin, our American Amber is smooth and refreshing.  The specialty malts lend caramel sweetness while American hops add balance and a crisp finish that will have you tipping that glass up for more.”

Austin Amber Stats

Style: American Amber
Alcohol by volume: 4.8%
Original Gravity: 12°
Bitterness units: 32
Yeast: American Ale/Chico
Hops: Nugget, Cascade
Malts: American Two-Row, Belgian Special B, Caramel 20, Chocolate
Availability: Year Round, Draft & 6-packs
Food Pairing: BBQ pork, grilled salmon, roasted chicken, burgers

Soul to Soul is one of those albums that I first only ever heard on CD and quite frankly, I never really thought the album sounded that great. Turns out it was just the digital rendering that didn’t do this particular album justice. When I finally heard this album on vinyl my opinion of it changed drastically.

Truly the CD sounds terrible compared to the quality of the analog mastering done when this puppy went to vinyl. It’s a night and day difference and another great case for vinyl’s superiority.

Bringing these two Austin classics together made for a pleasurable Texas evening of sounds and suds to wash back the week with. Signing off from Austin! Cheers!

For Those About To Rock!


A 2009 Bodega Norton Malbec & 1981’s For Those About To Rock by AC/DC

A wine that starts with a little smack of graphite deserves a vinyl that also careens with a smack of metal and ends with the thunderous rock and roll of cannons, Angus Young’s guitar and the rest of the boys from down under that are AC/DC.

This Norton Malbec is a stout and hearty malbec grape with deep red color and hints of purple. Expressive on the nose with notes of ripe black fruits, violets, and tobacco. This wine has round and sweet tannins, ripe red fruit and figs followed by a long finish. “With a serious, generous opening of graphite, cassis and wild berry aromas, this Malbec is in good shape. It feels full, round and just right, with dark berry, spice and licorice flavors playing off one another. It’s sweet, ripe, dense and a touch woody on the finish.” 90 Points – Wine Enthusiast

As for the AC/DC, well we are all indeed about to rock. The vinyl pictured in this pairing is showing its age and certainly the amount of time it spent getting handled is apparent on the sleeve. A little worse for wear but the ragged shape of the cover only helps to compliment the blazing hard rock that was melted into these grooves. I can still remember the day this album came out. I rode my bicycle down the road to the Fred’s dollar store and bought it. I couldn’t wait to get back home in eager anticipation of the rock and roll that was within and once I did, the air guitar sessions began in earnest.

The AC/DC catalog is truly a testament to doing one thing and doing it really well. You will never hear a ballad from AC/DC, nor would you ever expect it. They are primal rock and roll, nothing less and nothing more.This album was the follow-up to the highly successful Back in Black (which we are sure to get around to pairing at some point, if not Dirty Deeds as well) but FTATR stands on its own as yet another masterpiece. The album became AC/DC’s first US No. 1 album and after its release the band embarked on its first arena tour of North America (late 1981 through early 1982). For the title track, large cannons were placed on stage, set to go off in accordance with the song on the album. Fire!

Well there you have it. A lovely hearty wine and a lovely heavy vinyl to get the weekend started off right. Here’s hoping you are indeed all about to rock!!
If so, we Salute You!!

Wish You Were Here

A 2010 Vino de Eyzaguirre Merlot from Chile
and the 2011 reissue of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

When I first started getting back into collecting vinyl records a few years ago, the thought crossed my mind soon after, that I sure would love a 180 gram version of some Pink Floyd to replace all of my thrashed copies from back when I was younger. Well it wasn’t much longer that Pink Floyd announced the reissue vinyls to coincide with their immersion box sets and the remastered digital releases of the albums for the first time to add into the iTunes black hole.

Naturally I was more excited about the vinyl editions. Even more so than the immersion Compact Disc box sets with all the extra material. For me it’s not about the extra stuff, the demos, the alternate takes, the leftover tracks, whatever; all of that was left off for a reason. The final product is a masterpiece and obviously the band, producers and engineers thought so enough to leave all the other hyperbola where it belongs. In the draft bin. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big of a Floyd fan as you can get but as a vinyl purist; I’m still really only interested in the final version, the full release on 180 gram pristine virgin vinyl. That’s all I need. Well, that and the cool poster that came with it as well as the groovy post card, all rekindling the memories of the original release.

At first glance you’ll notice that the wine bottle is wrapped in a burlap sack. A truly easily identifiable marking for remembering this wine but it does have more significance and history behind it than just being a nifty marketing ploy. Evidently the tradition stem from monks living near the village that would transport the wine for the bumpy horse carriage ride back to the monastery, by placing the jugs of wine in burlap sacks to prevent them from breaking. The tradition caught on and still continues to this day.

As for the wine in the bottle, the Merlot is an extremely smooth and super palatable wine that is well-defined and well bodied with an elegant subtle finish that is perfect for sipping on its own or for pairing with a dish of your choosing. I would recommend it for a nice evening chilling at home or for a picnic in the park.

This particular pressing of Wish You Were Here is truly high quality, as is the packaging, simply top notch. The biggest difference for me here lies in the mastering of the audio. It’s a bit flatter than the original 1975 release, but we are in the digital era so this is not too surprising. I have no doubt that this particular print was pulled from a digital environment at some point and then went to vinyl. Luckily the deep rich 180 gram pressing allows for you to get some pleasing quality but it still remains a bit flat when compared to the earlier pressings. While I’m thrilled to have this reissue amongst the stacks; I won’t be getting rid of my older more thrashed copy anytime soon.

Until next time folks!
¡Salud!

Castle of Destiny

A 2009 Pinot Noir from Castle Rock and “Sad Wings of Destiny” by Judas Priest

We’re breaking out the classic metal tonight to pair with this super fine Pinot Noir from Castle Rock wineries. This particular Pinot is from Monterey County and it’s my understanding, now that I’ve done a bit of research, that there is another Pinot that they have released from Mendocino County that gets even higher marks than this one. That said, the Monterey County Pinot is in no way anything to turn your nose up at, although it does have a very sweet nose. Much sweeter than the flavor and palate of the wine. I could truly imagine this wine going quite well with an Italian family style feast or a hearty beef fillet.

Sad Wings of Destiny is the second album release by Judas Priest released in 1976. It’s a surprisingly blues infused album that has a crossover vibe with the operatic vocal stylings of Rob Halford and blues rock musical themes. There’s even a few songs that feature the piano predominantly. Not exactly what most people think of when you say Judas Priest.

When all these genre’s merge, what you have is a very diverse album compared to their later releases. I for one really appreciate the blues and classical influences of their early material. Long before the leather and studs, yes friends, Judas Priest, much like Black Sabbath, started as a blues band and for a period of time, these influences still had a strong presence in their music.

These lingering influences of the blues make for what is in my opinion some truly powerful music. Now, that’s not to say that their later music isn’t powerful. Quite the contrary, Judas Priest remains relevant even to this day as a powerhouse metal band still evolving and adapting with the times.

This particular edition of Sad Wings of Destiny is a brand new limited edition 180 gram gate fold reissue by Koch Records. It is an excellent pressing and has such a low noise floor that it truly allows you to crank this puppy up super loud and enjoy all of the stellar vinyl quality. One of the things that I love most about 180 gram reissues is the super low noise floor. When you break open one of these releases and place it on your turntable for the first time, in super clean form, the noise floor is superior to that of a compact disc. Truly not even in the same universe as an mp3 or streaming internet media. In short, it will spoil you fast!

Together these two products of stellar craftmanship provide for a premium rock and roll evening. So until next time, bottoms up everyone!

 

Aguaribay Graffiti

A 2010 Aguaribay Malbec from Argentina
& 1975’s Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin

It’s about time we got the Led out, don’t you think? How could we celebrate vinyl without eventually getting to the Zep monsters. In a bit of fitting timing, to coincide with the news today regarding a certain new feature film hitting theaters soon, we present the evenings pairing. Led Zeppelin returns! Maybe not for the live tour we all hoped for but a tour of a single filmed show none the less.

Physical Graffiti has always been one of my favorite Zeppelins but then again, ya know, every album they ever made has a place amongst my favorite albums. Side three of this album especially holds some serious memories for me. I rank it amongst one of my most influential sides of vinyl of all time. I first discovered this particular album during my high school days (many moons ago) and it seriously struck a chord with me. It’s an album that has such universal depth that it floors me every time I hear it.

On to the wine! The Aguaribay Malbec is truly a pleasant wine and well worth the price, It’s not an expensive wine (we typically stay in the affordable price range for our wines) and certainly won’t break the bank at around $10 a bottle. It’s also not one of the heaviest Malbec’s I’ve tasted and I consider that a good thing. Many Malbecs for me these days can be a bit too heavy on their own. Lately I’ve grown to prefer them in a blend, that tends to mellow them out a bit and keep them under control. This particular Malbec is fairly mellow though. Maybe it’s the vintage or maybe it’s the particular vineyard; either way it’s the kind of Malbec that I truly prefer these days. It’s not one that will have you calling for the antacids in the middle of the night.

Together the senses of the two bring together a cacophony of universal bliss. The sounds of Zeppelin merge quite well with the flavors of Argentina in the grapes and earth of this particular Malbec. I can’t imagine much not agreeing with the soulful rock and roll sounds of a band such as Zeppelin but at this moment this particular bottle of wine is providing exactly what is needed.

Until the next pairing, we bid you a great weekend!
Cheers, Salud and Good evening!

Yoshimi and the Yamazaki

The Yamazaki 12 year old Single Malt Whisky
& 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips

Do you realize that everyone you know someday will  die?
And instead of saying all of your goodbyes
Let them know you  realize that life goes fast
It’s hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don’t go down
It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning ’round

So I’ve had a run on pairings the past few days but today was my birthday and I got this awesome bottle as part of the celebration so what better way to finish out the evening than to do a little work? Right? Well, it is a Monday night birthday, so we decided not to paint the town. Who am I kidding? This isn’t about work, this is all about the things I love, so on with the pairing!

Tonight, I’ve paired another Japanese whisky. This is the second in my sampling of fine whisky from the land of the rising sun. The Yamazaki is a single malt barley based whisky that I must say, even though it’s price is a bit less than the Hibiki I paired a few months back, it has a more buttery, peppered flavor that seems to be resonating with me much more than the Hibiki did. It’s sultry and it’s silky, much as the Hibiki was but with this rich and buttery under current; well it has me wishing I could fairly sample the two side by side. Since I can’t do that, I think if I had to pick between the two 12-year-old versions of these whiskys from memory, I’d probably have to go with the Yamazaki right now. Of course, it is the one that’s sitting in my glass in front of me at the moment, so I think that may be swaying the favor in its direction for sure.

This edition of Yoshimi and the Pink Robots has been issued on a beautiful red colored vinyl and sounds absolutely fantastic. It’s truly yet another one of those vinyls that I can’t imagine not having in my collection. I’m super thrilled every time I pull this album out and place it upon the platter. The Lips have a way of stretching the dynamic range of a composition to the point that you think your system is bound to start distorting and the speakers smoking at any moment. It truly rocks! The synth sounds on this album alone are worth the audiophile experience of playing it through a decent system on vinyl. Not to mention the freaking great songs that are on this release. Always one of my favorites from the Lips, Yoshimi certainly seems to coincide beautifully with the Yamazaki SIngle Malt.

All in all, it’s been a wonderful birthday and I have much to be thankful for. As I head into another year, I’m reminded of all of the experiences, joys and journeys this life has to offer us all. I truly hope you are all savoring it up like a whisky refined and aged for a decade or so to be sipped and enjoyed on a special occasion as each day is.

Many would say this blog is a fluff piece that has nothing to do with nothing but I suppose it’s all in how you look at the leisures of life. Are they fluff or are they inspiration? Are they necessary or are they distraction? For me personally, the pleasures such as wine, spirits, vinyl records, art, music and love are the things that inspire daily and remind us all of what we are here for. Believe me people, it isn’t politics and self-imposed borders that matter.

Matters of the heart get us through the day. It’s not bank accounts, jobs or family lineage that define us; it’s about how we choose to live our lives day by day and how we choose to treat each other. This is what defines us. It is what becomes us and it is what we reflect into the rest of the world about who we are, what we want and where we come from.

To me, it’s all just the stuff of life, which I truly hope we all have a chance to taste and enjoy, each and every day of our lives. The time is now because… do you realize…?

Until next time my friends! Cheers!

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!