By Joe Colgan
Happy Friday, Ya'll. We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday and enjoyed some tasty wines with family and friends. The holidaze season brings with it many parties, festive dinners, and all-around mirth and merriment - which makes it a great opportunity to discover new wines. This week I'm going keep it short and sweet and pair a musician who needs no introduction with a wine that I was recently introduced to.
Back in the late '80's, Keith Richards formed the band the "X-pensive Winos" in response to a personal and creative rift that had been growing between he and his long time band mate, Mick. With Keith at the helm, The Winos is comprised of some of the most bad-arse/serious musicians out there - Steve Jordan, Waddy Wachtel, Ivan Neville, Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker. In 1988 Keith released his debut solo album with The Winos, "Talk is Cheap", which went straight to the top of the charts. The album (and the band) is pure straight up rock 'n' roll. What you get is a lot of guitar backed by crisp and precise drumming provided by Steve Jordan. It's a nice mix of heavy riff-orientated groove tunes and substantial ballads supported by tasteful guitar themes. It's Keith at his artistic prime. The vid below is The Winos performing one of their rockers, Take It So Hard.
To pair with the man who, like wine, gets better with age, I'm going with a 2007 Duckhorn Merlot (Napa Valley) - 89% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, & 1% Petit Verdot. I'm familiar with many of Duckhorn's wines, but this was a new one for me. After a visit to the Spring Mountain AVA this past summer, the 'Zilla had a pleasant reintroduction to the Merlot grape. This Duckhorn wine is another reaffirmation of how good a Merlot can be. Black cherries, plum, coffee and spice offer fantastic aromas. The palette is medium bodied with a nice balance. It's a bit young still, but it's a nice wine for the holidaze.
By Ben Heskett
Chris Cornell has had quite a career. He fronts the heavy, Black Sabbath-soaked Soundgarden, spent a few years with the remnants of Rage Against the Machine in Audioslave, and dabbles in solo projects. His voice is certainly in demand – A rare combination of power and vulnerability. Cornell has been touring around the country doing acoustic shows for the past couple of years. This cover of the Led Zeppelin classic “Thank You” is a fine example of an artist interpreting a classic in his own way. Cornell’s voice remains in low tones except for the crescendos, rendering the treatment subdued, haunting, original, and powerful.
Only a wine from the Northwest could be paired with a tune by such a Grunge Era icon. For this tune, we’ll head south from Seattle, where Cornell’s career was launched, to the wine regions of Oregon just south of Portland. I was just able to sneak away for some tasting in Oregon and I came back with some additional favorites.
For this pairing, given the sentimental nature of the Zeppelin cover, let’s choose an extremely compelling Pinot Noir from Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. The 2009 Bella Vida Pinot Noir is a single-vineyard gem from the Dundee Hills with a typical Oregon Pinot nose, surprising creamy fruit notes and a luscious finish. A perfect combination for such a classic cover tune - Cheers!