You don’t expect to end up on the dance floor with the proprietor at the end of a wine tasting, but that’s what happened at last Sunday’s wine and music matching event at Green and Blue. The concept seemed simple enough – six wines to be tasted, each one with a specific piece of music matched to it by a guest DJ or musician. But, the enjoyment of both music and wine can be a very personal, subjective matter – I wasn’t sure whether someone else’s matches would resonate for me, or not.
Green and Blue’s owner and driving force, Kate Thal, provided typically passionate and eloquent introductions to the wines. Balearic DJ Cedric Woo was perhaps a less comfortable orator but clearly passionate about his choices. What I missed was insight into why Cedric had selected particular tracks to go with particular wines – some of the matches felt immediately evocative and natural (Lucio Battisti with a Provencal Rose), others were less clear. It seemed like a missed opportunity that neither Thal or Woo shared their thought processes when they had been collaborating closely on choosing the music/wine matches.
Of course, this being Green and Blue, the selection of six wines was eclectic and fascinating, taking in everything from a superbly waxy, taut Alsace Riesling to a quite feral and “out there” sparkling Grolleau from Loire producer Olivier Cousin. I didn’t like all the choices, but they were anything but boring. I’ve listed and reviewed them below.
The music was also varied and enjoyable, from the strutting funk of Syreeta to a very late Louis Armstrong recording (The Creator has a Masterplan) – and if not everyone was sure whether to listen in fervent concentration or just chat to their friends, that didn’t hinder my enjoyment too greatly – those of us who felt suitably enthusiastic gradually found ourselves upright, and in motion.
Perhaps not suprisingly for such an innovative idea, this session wasn’t fully formed or assured, but felt like a tentative step to evolving something interesting. Not everyone present seemed to know exactly how to treat the session – was it a serious affair, tutored wine tasting or just a fun night in a bar? In part, it was all those things.
Whichever the case, I can heartily recommend attending this innovative “work in progress”, it’s fun, unstuffy and very typically Green and Blue. Just don’t forget your dancing shoes.
Music and Wine matches, from the 30th Sept 2012 session with Cedric Woo and Kate Thal
This exemplary, bone-dry and slightly herbal provencal Rosé was a perfect match for the summery, chilled out Battisti tune. Perhaps an obvious image, but it transported me straight to a beach bar in the med.
I loved the waxy, honeyed character of this wine. Super elegant and complex. The music match didn’t work for me – I wanted something more angular, or even “classic” to pair with it.
A fascinating and quite fleshy white blend of Favourita, Arneis and Cortese (Gavi, anyone?). I got everything from green apples, tarragon and even toffee apple on this. The music match, with quite slick/commercial funk from Stevie Wonder’s wife didn’t gel with the much left-field, almost rustic edge to the wine.
As Kate intoned, with wine number #4 we were now “deep in the wilds of Natural wine territory”! This “petillant” (lightly sparkling) red from the Loire had a distinctive, rather dirty/feral nose. The bretty overtones masked the sappy raspberry/loganberry fruit a bit, but the soft texture of the mousse was attractive. Again, I found myself wanting more “rustic” music to pair with this. Woo introduced the Steve Mason (ex Beta-band) track as “bittersweet”, yet Kate positioned this wine as more of an uplifting party choice.
A soft, supple Loire Cabernet Franc, with a slightly scary “bovril” nose.
I enjoyed the match with this very late Louis Armstrong performance – neither wine nor music giving up their charms too easily, but both with considerable interest – and arguably acquired tastes?
A ripe, vibrant juicy Grenache/Carignan/Merlot blend, earthy and herbal but also with a certain suave nature. That was perfectly matched with the music – a nicely hypnotic, slinkly groove.