JAMES NEVISON James Nevison is an award-winning wine writer, educator and the co-founder of HALFAGLASS. He is the wine columnist for The Vancouver Province , where his column “The Wine Guy” appears each Thursday. James is the co-author of seven best-selling books on wine in Canada, including Had a Glass 2015: Top 100 Wines Under $20 . Follow his wine musings @hadaglass.
Whether it’s a punchy intro or a torrid riff of acidity, there’s a whole concert of rock ‘n’ roll reds waiting to be enjoyed.
T here’s nothing wrong with pairing wine with food, but what about matching wine with tunes? Music is another of life’s important accompaniments, whether it is complementing a meal, or simply bolstering a conversation. That said, music genres are as diverse as wine styles, so to try and pair wine with music broadly would end up being, well, as subjective as wine and food pairings! But to stake a claim, here it goes, nothing beats a rock ‘n’ roll red! What makes for a rock ‘n’ roll red wine? Is it a state of mind? Well, kind of, but it’s also more. Grapes have distinct traits and characteristics, and when coupled with winemaking process and technique, can certainly come across edgy and energetic. Whether it’s a punchy intro or a torrid riff of acidity, there’s a whole concert of rock ‘n’ roll reds waiting to be enjoyed. Proto-Rock (Soul Era) & GSM Rock ‘n’ roll certainly has roots in R&B. Up-tempo, beat-heavy rhythm and blues tracks couldn’t help but get listeners rocking, rolling and grooving. Of course, these proto-rock tracks didn’t yet feature thundering guitar licks, there was more of a soulful edge. Much like a robust yet smooth GSM or Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre blend. The
Syrah/Shiraz brings the heat (or at least the peppery spice), while Mourvèdre adds an earthy, soulful hit. Which is all polished by smooth, fruity Grenache— providing a melodic tune overall.
Rhône regions, Syrah from Crozes- Hermitage may be less polished, but still delivers gut punches of flavour and elegant tension, staccato peppery notes and a rebellious attitude overall. Stadium (Arena) Rock & Malbec Of course, there are times when you just want to rock out with a crowd. To let your hair down and turn the power chords up to 11 (in a friendly kind of way), massage and awash the rock ‘n’ roll in melody and slick production. Enter Malbec. It’s often ready for a party; its fulsome and typically approachable stance always ready to please a group, while the wine’s dark fruit and leathery savouriness is gunning for rockstar status. Heavy Metal & Zinfandel When is too much “too much?” To the casual listener, heavy metal may come across as heavy-handed, all overwrought guitars and thrashing drums. Similarly, Zinfandel—with its potential to hit high levels of alcohol and almost jammy fruit—may at first seem overblown. But take another listen (and another sip). When in tune, heavy metal and Zinfandel both show beauty and artistry, walking a delicious ledge between too much and masterful control.
Classic Rock & Chianti Classico
Timeless. Vibrant. Catchy and easy to get into. These are the traits that make classic rock, well, classic. And from a wine perspective, the same can be said for Chianti Classico. The Sangiovese grape is like a searing guitar lick, providing vibrant acidity that helps the wine sing. Plus there are the back- up grapes of Chianti—the Canaiolo, Colorino and Merlot—ready to add bass and catchy snare. Not to mention the longstanding food pairing prowess of Chianti Classico, this Tuscan red hasn’t met a tomato-based sauce it can’t groove to! Punk Rock & Crozes-Hermitage Some red wines want to scream more than sing in the glass. All leather, animal, wild herbs and spice. Such are the Syrah of the Northern Rhône. But we’ll leave the highfalutin Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Cornas to the fancy wine types: Crozes-Hermitage is the punk rock of rock ‘n’ roll reds. Less appreciated than the other Northern
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