Sunday, 18 May 2008

Red Red Wine

Philosophers throughout the ages have generally concluded that a life of debauchery for most men (and presumably some women) can be reduced to the required elements of wine, women and song. And who am I to argue with such venerable thinkers? All three components seem to work very well together but to take just two is a little less satisfying. Wine and women still seems a reasonable proposition but women and song could be a bit dodgy. It depends on who does the singing, I suppose.

The effect of the final combination of wine and song is perhaps the most antisocial as can usually be seen at the end of most parties and pub closing times but I am indebted to my friend Alan, who has directed me to an article in the Telegraph which claims that scientific research has shown that there may be a more subtle connection. It is now claimed that music can affect the way wine tastes and can thus enhance its flavour by stimulating various parts of the brain. Therefore, by playing the correct music it is possible to increase your appreciation of any given wine. Sounds good to me.

The research goes further and actually suggests the following favourable combinations, viz:
Cabernet Sauvignon – ‘All Along the Watchtower’, Jimi Hendrix. I take it that this means something heavy and forthright. Presumably any sort of heavy rock would do.
Merlot – ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’, Otis Redding. Clearly this is a more laid back wine which requires a more introspective frame of mind. Either that or it needs to be drunk near water.
Chardonnay – ‘Atomic’, Blondie. The classic example of bubbly feelgood pop so anything from the dance charts would probably be OK.

Thus wine and song have a subtle link which you ignore at your peril. I must admit that I’ve always thought that ‘Agadoo’ can sound quite acceptable after a bottle or two of Chianti, so perhaps there is something in it. I notice that there is no suggestion for my favourite grape, Sauvignon Blanc. Perhaps it’s more acidic character requires something like P J Harvey or even Billy Bragg.

The logical conclusions to be drawn are that a) branches of wine merchants like ‘Threshers’ or ‘Oddbins’ should open a CD department with recommendations posted on wine labels and b) wine tasters should expand their vocabulary to include band names in their flowery descriptions. For example:

‘A touch Tina Turner on the nose, with distinct overtones of the Stereophonics and a lasting James Taylor aftertaste’. Makes more sense than their usual indecipherable drivel.


Alan said...

I would just like to make it clear that I do not buy the Telegraph ( heaven forbid). However, I saw the headline for the article, plus a photo of Hendrix, over someone's shoulder on the train to work and looked up the article on the web edition.

What worries me is that they can only recommend one song for each grape type. As my 45 rpm copy of "Dock of the Bay" runs for 2 minutes 38 seconds, this suggests that I should either:

a) not drink much Merlot, or
b) drink my Merlot very quickly, or
c) drink at a reasonable pace but play the record on some form of repeated loop.

Option (c) sounds most promising but while it's a very good record, I may just tire of it before the end of the bottle.

Perhaps someone should start releasing a series of albums like "Now That's What I Call Pinot Noir"

musicobsessive said...

Hahaha! Good point! Of course current government policy would tend towards option (a) as a method of curtailing those dreadful middle-class drinkers. No doubt we will start seeing Dept of Health sticky labels on CDs of the 'Too much Otis Redding is bad for your health' variety?