Ghosts

GhostsAn Evening of Ghosts – Ghost Pines Pinot Noir and Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV

It’s been some time since my last post. It’s been a year of major personal revelations which when you finally move on feels a bit like leaving some ghosts behind in the past. We all move on in time and things are always in a constant flux of change. All we can do is hold on and hope for the best. In that spirit, I present the Ghosts pairing,

Aromas of blueberry and blackberry pie are framed nicely by salted caramel, spice and truffle notes. Rich and full-bodied, this blend offers chewy tannins and a long, luscious finish. Blend: 31% Zinfandel, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petite Sirah, 7% Syrah

Ghosts I-IV is the sixth studio album by this American industrial rock band. Reznor described the music of Ghosts as “a soundtrack for daydreams”, a sentiment echoed by many critics who compared it with the work of Brian Eno and Robert Fripp. The songs are unnamed, and are identified only by their track listing and group number.

Together this supple blend makes for a great companion to an album of alternative textures and ambient scapes that twist and turn and move you along a journey that spans a four record set. Eight sides of euphorically disturbing  Reznor imaginations and the 14.5% alcohol content actually went quite well together. :)

Cheers!

Pinot for Paws

pinot-for-paws-4

“Pinot for Paws”
A 2011 One Hope California Pinot Noir and the Beach Boys 1966 Pet Sounds

one-hopeThis pairing seemed pretty obvious. A great cause and one of the greatest audio productions of all time. Read more about One Hope Wine on their website. Lots of great causes and I can attest the wine is fine. The Pinot is light and yet lush like you expect from a nice Pinot grape. I truly recommend for both reasons, a great cause and a great wine. Cheers!

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!