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

Too Fast For Love

A Tres Rios Añejo Tequilla & 1981’s “Too Fast For Love” by Mötley Crüe

Tonight’s pairing comes to you, in big part, thanks to Mr Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe. Vince has taken upon himself to go into the tequilla business! (as many rockers do these days) We decided it was time to give his Tres Rios a try while we blow the doors down with Mötley Crüe’s debut album Too Fast For Love. Crank! It! Up!

In November of 1981 when Too Fast For Love began to circulate in Los Angeles, no one had ever heard anything quite like it. Like em or not, the Crüe did define a generation and played a major part in birthing the LA metal seen that followed in the 1980’s. This is the album that started it all.

Too Fast For Love took the punk rock attitude of bands like the New York Dolls and gave it a glam metal sheen that was pure LA. They really could have easily called the band the “LA Dolls” at this point in my opinion.

It’s another one of those band debuts that just screams hunger. It’s a no holds barred, take no prisoners, leave no man standing, album of angst and aggression. Put it into a blender with the attitude of punk, add some big 80’s hair, a touch of leather, some lipstick and makeup, mix it all up and what you’ve got is pure Motley.

My opinion of this album when it first came out was that of “what tha?!”, it was like being blind sided with something so new that you weren’t even really sure how to categorize it. It was as much a punch in the face as Nirvana’s Nevermind was some ten years later. “Too Fast For Love” signaled the rise in popularity of the metal scene in LA just as Nirvana skyrocketed the Seattle scene onto everyone’s radar a decade later.

As for the Tequilla, this is a special limited run numbered bottle and I was lucky enough to find bottle number 094604-C from batch 2001. 100% Pure Agave Añejo Tequilla produced in Mexico. Let me just start by saying, it would be a sin to shoot this tequilla and an even bigger sin to mix it into any kind of mixed drink. This is a tequilla worthy of a slow sip and savor. Keep a little lime and salt on hand to compliment it, but to just throw it into the back of your mouth and swallow it without savoring it, well in my opinion you’d be missing out on the divine decadence that is the Tres Rios Añejo.

“Aged to perfection after eighteen months in charred wooden barrels, this Tequila displays a deep, intense caramel color that embodies its complexity. The unmistakable taste of sweet vanilla and smoke imparted by the ageing enhances the original fruit. The result of this exclusive technique is a complex taste, balance, and character that form a symphony for the taste buds.” – http://www.tequila.net/tequila-reviews/anejos/tres-rios-tequila-anejo.html

The 180 gram reissue pressing that I garnered for this pairing is much like many of the 180’s that are coming out these days, it may not have the same depth of some of the original pressings, but it’s far superior to my older thrashed copy from the 1980’s. Pretty much with any 180 gram reissue you get these days, while well worth having if you’re a serious fan of the album, they do typically lack something that the original pressings had. Maybe it’s generational, maybe it’s digital remastering, maybe both; nonetheless, any fan of this album that doesn’t have a copy on vinyl will do quite well with this reissue. The Crüe reissued all of their early catalog on 180 gram a few years ago and they’re not too hard to find but they are becoming a bit more and more scarce as the days go by. Such is one of the groovy things about vinyl. It is a finite resource.

Bringing together the music of Mötley Crüe and the tequilla creation Vince has imparted to us was a great time. Sipping tequilla and jamming to some Crüe is a fine way to get a party going indeed. Here’s to the Agave plant, here’s to the Crüe and here’s to you!
Salute!

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!

Wild Is the Wind

Nina Simone – Wild Is the Wind and a 2002 Vinasoro Merlot

A Winesday night pairing to get ready for the weekend? Why not?! This vinyl came in the mail today and you can probably guess if you’ve been following the past few weeks pairings how I came to this particular vinyl. The thread has gone from Jeff Beck to Jeff Buckley and now to the queen herself Nina Simone. Lilac Wine to Lilac Wine to Lilac Wine. It’s a song that’s seriously resonating with me these days. So much so, I’ve learned it and will probably be performing it in the future.

Yes indeed this song has taken me on a journey into the deepest of soul music and this particular album from Nina, while it is evidently a leftovers compilation from her days on the Phillips record label, it actually meshes quite nicely as an LP and provides a nice glimpse into this multi talented performer. The highlight without a doubt is the title track followed closely by the tracks “Four Women” and the aforementioned “Lilac Wine”.

The Vinasaro opened with the bottom quarter of the cork breaking off while opening. Luckily any real damage was averted by using another corkscrew to lift the broken cork out of the bottle. Upon pouring the first taste to ensure the cork was not compromised, seeing how it was so brittle, I noticed the strong aroma of this 13.5% alcohol content Merlot. The Vinasoro is a wine that truly needs to breathe on the counter for a minimum of fifteen to twenty minutes before you can truly get a taste of the grape.

Once the Merlot opened up and revealed itself, at about the start of side two of this luscious vinyl, I realized that what I had on hand was one truly robust and well nurtured Merlot. While it is an extremely dry Merlot, obviously from the high alcohol content, there is enough of the grape flavor there to still enjoy the wine at the finish. It’s a woodsy stout finish that would be perfect with a pairing of a red sauce based pasta or pizza.

While I would probably recommend the vinyl more than this particular Merlot, if you crave a hyper dry Merlot that is held up by a stout Merlot flavored grape, then this wine would fit the bill for many occasions and meals. Nina is pretty fine anytime. If you are not familiar with this classically trained pianist and bluesiest of the jazz singers, I highly recommend you search out her work, you will not regret it. Fans of Billie Holiday or Etta James will surely find solace in Nina’s work. Just remember, when you hear that awesome piano; that’s her as well!

Till next time! ¡Salud!

Purple Haze

 Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced &
a 2010 Alex Elman Malbec from Mendoza Argentina

There are lots of Malbecs out there that I find a bit too strong. They have me reaching for the antacid before I can even finish a glass. This particular Malbec is one that is quite pleasing and so well rounded without the harshness or acidity of many Malbecs. Still, it’s a very hefty wine with a pleasingly smokey grape nose that once it opens up, truly just screams “yummy”! There’s a haze of licorice and currants that runs deep but the grape always rolls out on top in the end.

Perfect for gaucho style Argentinian grilled cuisine this is truly one of the better Malbecs in its price range that I’ve experienced lately and it is just that, an experience ;).

So without further ado, let’s get to the vinyl for the evening. Without a doubt it is one of the most quintessential rock albums of all time. Truly an album that changed the game, changed history and laid the groundwork for what rock and roll was to become. Along with the likes of Jim Marshall, James Marshall Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix) reinvented the nature of what is expected from the electric guitar as an instrument of rock and roll. He was a master of the blues and a purveyor of the infinite universe. The man had soul and he knew how to pour it into his music.

When Jimi came onto the scene he changed the game and influenced everyone else that was making the scene at the time. He became the scene.

This 180 gram reissue of Are You Experienced is a true treasure for any Jimi fan with a turntable. The sound quality is pristine and the track list of this album, well, as many of you well know, every song is a classic, start to finish. An encyclopedia of rock guitar.

As a guitar player myself, I’m a bit surprised that there hasn’t been a Hendrix pairing yet, there are surely many more albums by Jimi in my collection that are worthy of a pairing but it seemed appropriate to start at the beginning.

Released in 1967 this album was #2 on the charts next to Sgt Peppers. In March 2000 a poll from Guitar World Magazine named Are You Experienced the greatest album of the Millennium. Later, in 2006, a reader’s poll from that magazine placed the album at #3 on a list of the greatest guitar albums of all time. “The Jimi Hendrix Experience are a musical labyrinth—you either find your way into the solid wall of incredible sound, or you sit back and gasp at Hendrix’ guitar antics and showmanship, wondering what it’s all about,” a review from the article “Walker Surprises” by Keith Altham from the New Music Express Magazine on April 8, 1967.

All in all, this album and a tasty bottle from Alex Elman is truly a safe bet for stirring up the haze and getting the emotions flowing. Third Stone From the Sun, we should be so thankful for such awesome wine makers and master musicians that allow for such evenings as this.

Until next time! Cheers! Salud!
Enjoy!

 

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…

Single Barrel Emotion & Commotion

 Jeff Beck Emotion & Commotion paired with a 10 yr old Eagle Rare Single Barrel

I’m going to start this pairing off talking about the bourbon; this has to be one of the best deals out there for a single barrel bourbon right now. The Eagle Rare is easily on par with bottles thrice it’s price. At $22 for a whiskey this refined, it’s truly hard to beat. Excellent when served neat to get the full body and flavors of this amber, honey, topaz libation or when served over ice to cool yourself down, the bourbon still remains assertive and expressive even when chilling over rocks.

The Eagle Rare was recommended to me by my friend at the local Beverage World and I’ve already been back to pick up another bottle. So with this pairing the beverage came first, then Jeff Beck found its place first and foremost just based upon the artwork alone. These two elegant works of art when combined make for a truly wonderful merging of auditory pleasure and flavor, as the eagle leaps from the front cover of the album into this bottle of Kentucky gold.

Jeff Beck’s album Emotion and Commotion has got to be one of his greatest masterpieces to date. It’s an album of immense maturity and restraint and showcases a talent that knows talent and knows how to assemble together the most world class musicians on the planet to produce a truly glorious album achievement.

The first name that has to come up here, rather surprisingly, is Jeff Buckley. Beck performs two songs that Mr. Buckley also recorded during his unfortunately short career on Emotion and Commotion (Corpus Christi Carol & Lilac Wine), and in true Jeff Beck fashion, he makes these masterpieces his own. I’m a huge Jeff Buckley fan as well, so to hear a master guitarist like Jeff Beck paying homage to one of the most talented and yet short lived performers to emerge in the 1990’s is a real treat.

I was living in Memphis at the time Jeff Buckley drowned where the Wolf river meets the mighty Mississippi river and it was truly a devastating occurrence. I visited the site where Jeff was last seen diving under on numerous occasions when I lived in Memphis and it always served as a reminder for me to our mortality and how one mistake, just one bad call could end it all.

In the liner notes of the album Beck says, “When I heard Jeff Buckley’s album, the simplicity and the beauty of the way he sounded amazed me.” This is not only what pulled me into Jeff Buckley’s music, but  it’s also what has kept me enamored with Jeff Beck’s music for decades.

Jeff Beck has always been a master of less is more and it’s one of the things that still floors me to this day about his playing. Beck is the master of the slightest nuance and a true example of a player who’s tone and vibe is more about the touch that is in his hands, than it is about what kind of equipment he plugs into.

Other highlights abound on this album such as the vocal work of Joss Stone bringing a youthful, yet wise beyond her years, amount of soul and vibe to the songs “I Put a Spell on You” and “There’s No Other Me”, the rhythm section on the later of those tracks featuring Tal Wilkenfeld and Vinnie Colauta, lays down one of the most masterful fusion grooves I’ve ever heard. Perfection.

This album has got to be one of the most perfectly produced, engineered and mastered recordings, start to finish that I’ve ever heard. Ever. Nominated for five grammy awards it’s safe to say that there are others that probably shared my opinion. It’s not an easy feat to listen to a recording of an orchestra and a rock band, as an audio engineer and not hear the recording mechanics of how the album was put together. Most of the time with a recording, once you’re ears are trained, you can hear technically how many albums are recorded but with this recording all you hear are the natural sounds of the instruments. This is not an easy feat to achieve when trying to put all of those instruments inside of two speakers and it’s ultimatley what every audio engineer is striving to achieve. This album delivers just that, it is an album that manages to not sound produced at all but instead sounds like a natural representation of the performances that were captured, as if you are in the studio with Jeff, the band and the orchestra. Steve Lipson and Trevor Horn both deserved Grammy’s for this feat.

The last track I’d like to mention is “Nessun Dorma”, the 2011 Grammy winner for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The song features Jeff Beck accompanied by the orchestral arrangement of Pete Murray. It is truly one of the most majestic pieces of modern music you will ever hear. Listening to it and sipping on a chilled single barrel bourbon from Eagle Rare… well, it’s just a little bit of heaven here on Earth indeed.

Cheers!

Stay Frosty!!

Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth & A “Frosty” Monks’ Ale

“Made with care and made with prayer” is the writing on this Ale’s packaging and indeed I’ve been praying for this album release since around 1986! Finally, a follow-up to “1984” that rivals any and all of the Diamond Dave era releases. Yep, I said it and I went there! This album has the same spirit and energy as their debut album when it came out in 1978. Containing elements of “Women and Children First” as well as “Fair Warning”, many would say this is because most of these songs were written back then. To that I say, who gives a shit when the songs were written! Did you listen to this album! In my opinion, this album is a breath of fresh air that has reignited my memories of youth and the spirit of rock and roll from days gone by.

Van Halen, you either love them or you hate them. When I heard the first single “Tattoo” I was honestly not expecting much from this release. What I truly discovered was that it was I that had changed and that I just wasn’t relating to the old Van Halen spirit anymore; that is until I had heard the entire album. Once I did, everything was back as it should be. It was as if a chapter of my life, finally had some sort of resolution. Upon the second playing of the album, I actually thought “Tattoo” was a pretty cool song. Still, it is probably the weakest song on the album but the fire that burns throughout the rest of this release, more than makes up for whatever may or may not be lacking from the lead off single. For the record (no pun intended) every time I hear the song “Tattoo” I like it a little bit more than the last time I heard it.

Deciding on the pairing for this album was fairly obvious. It’s not an album you want to sit back with a glass of wine to, it’s instead an album that needs a cold beer in a frosty mug and preferably a beach to go with it.

Van Halen has always been good time California Rock and Roll, nothing more and nothing less. Anyone trying to read anything more into it than that truly doesn’t understand where this band is coming from. So based on this, I went with the “Stay Frosty” theme and paired the album with a Monks’ Ale and a bowl of rice. Anyone that has already heard the song “Stay Frosty” will get this immediately. David Lee Roth is about 85% attitude and about 15% vocal and songwriting talent. Without the attitude he wouldn’t write what he does and it surely wouldn’t have the lighthearted wit about it that Dave’s contribution has always had. I truly missed him, there Dave, I said it and I said it like I meant it! 😉 They are a band that has the jovial off the cuff spirit and vibe of a 1920’s ragtime quartet (think “Big Bad Bill”) wrapped up in a monstrous locomotive called rock and roll. Van Halen music is music that never takes itself too seriously and is always about having a good time and enjoying life.

The Monks’ Ale is a smooth and creamy ale a bit on the pale side but not so pale that it avoids a rich body and silky follow-up. It’s more of a flavorful and full-bodied red ale that’s not so heavy as to weigh you down like you’ve eaten a loaf of bread. lol Actually made by Benedictine monks in New Mexico, all proceeds truly benefit the monastery!

I pre-ordered this vinyl the day the album was released and one of the coolest things about this pre-order was that you were able to also download the digital album immediately upon purchasing the pre-order! I downloaded the high-resolution mp3’s and straight away burned a couple of CD’s of the album, one for the car and one for the house. Having the digital version for a few months before the vinyl was released allowed me some time to get used to the material and know what was coming down the pipe once the vinyl arrived at the door.

I think this is a stellar way for the music industry to operate. Pre-ordering of the physical product in advance and upon ordering you get the portable digital version. The record label then knows how many to print, they have the money in advance to print it and the consumer gets to hear the music immediately, which is evidently what we all love about our digital music; immediate gratification. Even if it is a vague representation of the final product. 😉

Yet again, as I’ve been preaching allot lately, the mp3 version is nothing compared to the wealth of sonic information that is contained on the 180 gram double red vinyl. The intelligibility of what is going on is 1000% improved on the vinyl edition of this album. As with any and every album, vinyl is truly the preferred way to actually hear 100% of the music that the musicians are playing and the words that the singer is singing. Vinyl brings a natural clarity to the audio that allows the material to be represented without digital artifacts. Essentially, the vinyl absorbs sound waves much as our ears do, depending on pressure and amplitude, not one’s and zero’s.

Vinyl itself is a different kind of truth that I truly hope more and more people remember and return to or even discover for the first time. The younger generation is truly finding it out for themselves and I think this is a big reason for the resurgence in vinyl sales. It’s not just the older generations longing to reminisce; it’s the 15 to 20 year olds that have always driven music sales and they still do. Vinyl is no exception to this.

This blog is but one way I hope to remind and teach that truly wonderful recordings are still being produced today. There are tons of awesome albums coming out every year, it’s just that the end user’s playback format has degraded to the point that everything sounds somewhat lifeless. Still people say that the talent pool has degraded over the years and that this is what is wrong with the industry today. Baloney. I believe it is the extremely low quality of internet media that has degraded todays musical experience. There’s much more going on in your brain than one may realize when you’re listening to music. Digital media tens to fatigue the ears way more quickily than live or analog sources.

There is still an immense talent pool of musicians out there producing great music but the problem is that it’s rarely truly heard the way music “back in the day” was heard. CD was and is certainly light years better but it was made to create a compact format that now, the mp3 has blown out of the water.

Streaming media over the internet will never compare to an analog groove that was made by sound waves melting into vinyl. Period. I’m not saying streaming media doesn’t still have its place for marketing purposes but If you truly want to enjoy a bit of quality music listening from time to time, I highly recommend you reinvest (or invest for the first time) in a turntable that you can plug into your existing home entertainment system. You will not regret it!

Until next time, “Stay Frosty” everyone!! – John

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! 😉

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.

Valentines Day Pairing! Sparkling Strawberries & Soul

A Special Valentines Day Pairing
The Reverend Al Green’s masterpiece “Let’s Stay Together” paired with a batch of fresh dipped chocolate covered strawberries & a
Cordon Negro Sparkling wine from Sant Sadurni D’ Anoia, Spain
for all the hopeless romantics!

Let’s Stay Together is a 1972 album by soul singer Al Green, and is the follow-up to his moderate success Al Green Gets Next to You. It was recorded at Royal Recording Studio, 1320 S. Lauderdale, in Memphis and was a success, peaking at number eight on the pop albums chart and became the first of six albums to peak at number-one on the soul album chart (where it claimed the position for ten weeks).

Green Fairy Grace For the New Year


Absente Absinthe from Paris France & Steven Wilson’s Grace For Drowning

New Years Pairing! Happy 2012 Everyone

Grace for Drowning is the second studio solo album by Steven Wilson, producer, songwriter, and frontman of Porcupine Tree. It was released by Kscope Music Records on September 26, 2011.[1] The album received a nomination in 54th Grammy Awards for Best Surround Sound Album.

“Grace for Drowning” on 180 gram vinyl certainly resides within my top 5 releases for 2011. It’s Progressive Rock, meets Jazz, meets electronica and it’s a sonically stellar album that you can truly get lost in. As for the first taste of the green fairy, well I found this to also have a truly stellar pallet for the senses. I think it’s a drink you either love or hate and not much room for anything in between. I really anticipated that I would only have one or two cocktails for the evening and then move on to something else but I actually enjoyed the absinthe throughout the evening.

  • Lasse Hoile – photography, film director
  • Bettina Ejlersen – photography assistant
  • Carl Glover – art director

Dos Fincas Fez – Let Me in the Sound

 U2 – No Line on the Horizon &
a
DOS FINCAS CABERNET / MALBEC – BLEND 2010 from Argentina

The use of two separate vineyards in Argentina is a traditional practice to
safeguard against the threat of hail. For the Basso family, it also allows them
to make a more interesting blend by combining the attributes of two distinct
microclimates. The dark, powerful fruit from their vineyard in San Carlos,
matched with the softer, more nuanced fruit from their vineyard in Tunuyan makes
for a memorable wine.

No Line on the Horizon is the twelfth studio album by rock band U2. Released on 27 February 2009.
Fez (Being Born) Possibly one of the coolest U2 songs ever!

“Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound
Let me in the sound, sound
Let me in the sound, sound
Let me in the sound”