Editor’s note: Wine and Tunes Pairing co-conspirator Joe Colgan is currently off the grid on vacation. His pairing will return next week.
By Ben Heskett
The world has innumerable problems. That much is certain. I don’t need to go through the laundry list of ills facing the Earth and its people. I would never compare the unfortunate situation I'm about to address to any serious issue, but it is ever-present. What issue is that, you ask? It’s the state of rock ‘n’ roll. I will resist a diatribe on the topic, but let’s face it – There’s just not enough good rock bands out there. Period.
Oh, the Foo Fighters may put out a decent song every once and a while and we can always count on some of our more indie-oriented sistren and brethren to contribute on occasion, but when was the last time a band literally made you open your eyes a little wider, made your ears prick up a little bit, and made you look around like you’re checking out a rare animal in the wild and you're making sure someone else sees it too?
I give you Rival Sons, a Southern, CA-based band I discovered while surfing music channels on television late one night. I was transfixed on the song posted below, called “Pressure and Time,” for its adherence to some of rock’s basics – A tough, world-dominating riff, a Robert Plant-like vocal performance, and a groove that can’t be ignored.
How to meld this type of song with wine could be a central topic for CORKZILLA until the end of time. It’s tough, but not impossible. Let’s face it, great rock ‘n’ roll played at a high volume does not necessarily make you think of a good bottle of wine. Beer? Sure. Whisky? Er, yup. But wine? To pair with a bone cruncher such as this, I think you need to delve into what you might be cooking while listening.
In my case, when I want it loud, I’m generally also wanting some sort of meat product – a steak or perhaps one of my famous pork chops. In that scenario, there is one call that rises above all others – A big, bold Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. For the purposes of this pairing, I’ll go with one of my favorites – the Heitz Cellar (Tasting room pictured above at left) 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet. I’ve chosen this one due to its cost relative to some of Heitz’s other Cabernet offerings (If you want to treat yourself, check out the Martha’s Vineyard vintage – Off the charts), but it still represents the best of Napa, with its dark berry fruit, tannins and long, velvety finish. This is a young wine that will only get better with age. If you can be patient, let it rest and evolve. If not, turn it up and pop the cork!