Sound Sommelier: pairing wine with music
Wine? You can listen to it. Paolo Scarpellini (born in 1953) has declared himself a Sound Sommelier, after 20 years as a music critic and another 20 as a judge and reporter for various newspapers. His creed? To consider wine as “music to drink” and music as “wine to listen to”. Here are some pairings between Italian wine and music suggested by our Sound Sommelier. For information: www.psmusicdesign.it
Art Rock | 2001 Occhio di pernice, Vin Santo di Montepulciano DOCG – Avignonesi
With Frank Zappa – Torture Never Stops. A seemingly unprecedented pairing between the iconoclastic Italo-American musician and an elegant Vin Santo di Montepulciano: Avignonesi’s 2001 Occhio di Pernice. The hypnotic rhythm of the music, with just the bass, drums and distorted guitar, conveys sensual aromas of caramel, biscuit, liquorice and Cuban coffee to the nose. The smoky voice and fluid keyboards envelop the taste in a dense vortex of music and wine, which covers the palate with thick layers of cocoa, candied fruit and dried figs. The unusual length of the piece, almost 10 minutes, effectively balances the compact and stubborn length on the palate.
Listen to Frank Zappa – Torture Never Stops
(from Zoot Allures, 1976)
Songwriter’s song | 2007 Vigna Quintodecimo Taurasi Riserva – Quintodecimo
With Avion Travel – Dormi e sogna. This sophisticated band comes from Campania, as does Quintodecimo’s elegant 2007 Vigna Quintodecimo Taurasi Riserva. Upbeat guitar arpeggios and drums lead off while a first glance at the wine reveals a bright ruby-red colour; the theatrical male voice, with its mantra of repeating precise key words, releases elegant whiffs of plum, liquorice and sweet spices on the nose. When the light refrain comes along, punctuated by bowed instruments and violins, we catch the fresh taste and solid body of Aglianico, with silky and supple tannins. The musical finish? Lingering and elegant, both on the ear and palate.
Classical | 2004 Cuvée Annamaria Clementi Franciacorta – Ca’ del Bosco
With Gli Incogniti & Amandine Beyer – A.Vivaldi, The Four Seasons: Winter, Largo. A very famous score in the lively version by the French violinist and her ensemble, ideal for Ca’ del Bosco’s 2004 Cuvée Annamaria Clementi Franciacorta. The movement begins and ends with a calm pizzicato of violins: for Vivaldi the sublime idea of beating rain, for us the effective rhythmic base that underlines the continuous and very fine perlage in the glass. The smooth, material melody of the violin solo acts as a leitmotiv to accompany the aromas (almond, yellow peach, citrus fruit) and taste (creamy and caressing palate, well-balanced acidity): the class of an elegant harmony of wine and music.
Mediterranean Fusion | 2015 Chardonnay – Planeta
With Khaled – Aïcha. A hit by the famous Algerian musician with a successful Sicilian, Planeta’s 2015 Chardonnay. In the first 30 seconds (instrumental), the keyboards paint the golden straw-yellow in the glass. The first intense vocals hanging on the guitar, bring aromas of a field of flowers by the sea, with roses, daisies, chamomile and wet iodised spray. When the solid rhythm (bass and drums) accompanying the sunny refrain stands out, all the creamy roundness and balanced “tangy sweetness” of the wine come through on the palate, right up to the long, fresh and almondy “auditory taste” finish.
Listen to Khaled – Aïcha
Swing | 2012 Tignanello – Antinori
With Ella Fitzgerald – Begin the Beguine. The superb voice of the first lady of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, in harmony with Antinori’s 2012 Tignanello. The soft start, with a muted trumpet base, can be likened to the first glimpse of the wine, with its intense ruby-red colour and purplish highlights. The assertive vocal attack stimulates aromas of red and black fruit on the nose, mixed with spicy and balsamic notes, while the explosion of high notes and rhythm from the wind instruments and drums, fills both your ears and palate, which is besieged with a well-orchestrated body, in an exemplary silky tannic balance. At the finish, the full orchestra with stringed instruments reveals fleeting hints of fruit and spices in the mouth.
Listen to Ella Fitzgerald – Begin the Beguine
(from Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Songbook, 1956)
Bossa nova | 2009 Perlé Brut – Ferrari
With Astrud Gilberto – Fly Me to the Moon. A well-known standard in the bossa nova version by Astrud Gilberto, teaming up with Ferrari’s 2009 Perlé Brut. It starts off with the delicate Brazilian voice dubbing the trumpet, while the golden-yellow in the glass becomes brighter and livelier, with a fine and continuous perlage. The refrain arrives hand in hand with the intense bouquet of white flowers, Golden Delicious apples and crusty bread. While the soft rhythm from the drum brushes supports the elegant and velvety palate, overtones of apple reach the palate from the piano, while almonds arrive from the trumpet. When the song abruptly finishes, the wine, in contrast, lingers.
Listen to Astrud Gilberto – Fly Me to the Moon
(from The Shadow of Your Smile, 1965)