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In the opening of Haruki Murakami’s novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the author makes mention of the finest musical accompaniment to boiling pasta, Rossini’s Thieving Magpie overture under the direction of Claudio Abbado, and that idea has never let me go. I began asking a battery of questions: What album would I spin while making pasta, or more pertinent to this blog, what wine would I sip with that Les Paul Trio vinyl?

Dilemmas: what music pairs with an unctuous Petite Sirah from Unti Vineyards, or what wine is best served with the latest Cake single? There is a lot in a wine that could, or could not jive with an album like too many drying tannins with a Mahler symphony, making the music more emotional than need be, or not enough body in a Pinot Noir to support the bombastic clamor of Sepultura. How about matching the land and the artist, it is easy when we think of Tom Waits, since he hails from Sonoma County, a land replete with amazing wineries, but that theory falls apart when I think of Glenn Miller. Lots of pitfalls.

The concept of pairing music and wine extends itself to the restaurant scene. When I am in a restaurant, especially drinking wine at one of my favorite boutique eateries in Los Angeles—Lucques—I begin to study the choices, judging how well the mood is complimented by the non-invasive-indie-esque music. They are pretty effective at marrying the two and I hope my efforts will be as fortuitous and rewarding.

Enthralled by the sweet melodies of the Magnetic Fields and their 69 Love Songs (it is February after all), I instantly think of my first love. But more pressingly, what would I drink with Stephen Merrit’s irreverent lyrics? Maybe something French—a little culture behind the wine, to go with the thought of the one that got away and still espouse the music perfectly. Perhaps a wine from Bandol, made of Mourvèdre—rustic and charming—but then I remember something more apt; a wine to mend the memories of an intense heartache and one of my favorite bands—a Beaujolais cru from Morgon.

The 69 Love Songs are a collection of tunes that run the gamut of emotions, upbeat and frolicking carelessly to little more than macabre fantasies, and with that vast spectrum, a wine adept at handling the minutest change in mood would be required; a wine synonymous with versatility.

The Morgon Cru from Marcel Lapierre sprung to mind. I have written about it a couple of times, remarking on its uncanny ability to pair with Holiday fare and simple enough to enjoy on its own or in the company of a Valentine. I feel this wine would be an ideal fit for all 69 songs.

Now my first foray into pairing wine and music wasn’t so hard, rather successful in fact. What remains is the more daunting task of pairing a lot of my country records like Bob Wills, Hank Snow and even Kinky Friedman and his Texas Jew Boys to the vin de pays. Going forward, it will be challenging to pair the nuances in terroir with various forms of music (Pearl Jam and Red Devil Merlot?) harmoniously. Haruki Marukami’s literature is rife with musical references, something emotional and familiar to him, and in essence I am writing this post (and the future series) with intent of engaging you by sharing something personal of mine and hearing about your favorite pairings of wine and music. I am now taking requests.

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Wine of the Month

Roumier Morey St. Denis 'Clos de la Bussiere' 2008

Eatery of the Month


Jesse's Camarones Restaurant

Musical Accompaniment

Glenn Kotche’s ‘Ping Pong Fumble Thaw’  by The Brooklyn Rider Almanac