By Ben Heskett
Everyone deserves a good stretch of weather over the summer. Sometimes this can be a difficult assumption in the Bay Area, so when it happens, even if there's some wind or the fog rolls back in at dusk, it's an event to be celebrated.
So I turn to one of my all-time favorite bands - The mop-topped, rock 'n' roll brilliance that is Oasis. Never a huge success in the U.S., Oasis is one of the iconic British bands of all-time. Period. What I like about their catalog is they've also adapted some of their songs to the acoustic medium, a welcome respite from some of their electric crunch.
Oasis is a potentially tough pairing. Certainly, they're more about epic partying and having a few pints with the lads than kicking back with a good bottle of wine. But their softer side, in particular, allows for some pairing exploration. Let's go with one of my favorite varietals, pinot noir, and a recent addition to the collection: a Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley.
What's also an interesting dichotomy about the band - fronted by the always battling Gallagher brothers - is though in public statements and at their shows they're often moody and of ill-humor, their music offers some of the warmest, most uplifting moments in music. This acoustic number is one of them. As Noel Gallagher sings: "Thank you for the Sun, the one that shines on everyone...who feels love." Enjoy...
By Joe Colgan
When you think of musicians that can represent what New Orleans is all about, many names immediately come to mind - Dr. John, The Meters, The Radiators, The Neville Brothers, etc… The list is lengthy and spans many decades and genres, but all the names can deliver a piece of NOLA's essence through their music in one way or another. They yield a certain 'Je ne sais quoi' that can transport the listener directly into the soul of NOLA, even if they're not singing about the city. When I hear musicians from the Crescent City I can taste the food, feel the heat, and begin to yearn for another trip back - asap.
Since 1985, Anders Osborne has made NOLA his official home and is one of those performers that is steeped in the culture and vibe of the city. Through the combination of Delta blues, rock, and a little homegrown NOLA funk, he utilizes his soulful vocals and blazing slide guitar to bring you right into the heart of the town.
With New Orleans being the focus here, we're going to appropriately go French with the wine. White Burgundy is a world I've only recently started exploring and I'm loving it's diversity and possibilities. These wines are on a completely different plateau as compared to their new-world California or Aussie Chardonnay offspring. Depending on the origination within the region, Burgundies can offer a varied experience - steel or barrel, $ or $$$.
It's summertime here in SoCal, and if you happen have a Catfish Po'Boy (with a little spicy remoulade) in hand, you might reach for a cold Abita. But, I'm going to suggest pouring yourself a chilled glass of Joseph Drouhin Saint-Veran, Maconnais, 2007 to match up with your Anders Osborne/NOLA experience. Pale in color, good acidity, and citrus burst on the palate with a nice finish. Retailing for about $15, this wine would make a great accompaniment to a hot summer New Orleans night.