In these unusual times, we all need a lift from time to time. As a change to my usual wine reviews I’ve decided to start a fun and irreverent series on matching wine and music. The basic idea is that I give participants:
- A piece of music –> they suggest a wine to go with it, with an explanation
- A wine –> they suggest a piece of music to go with it
It’s all for fun, so please don’t slag off anybody’s taste music (or wine!) Thanks to Michelle Williams for the inspiration – she has been matching songs to wine for years on her Rockin Red Blog.
The fourth part in this series is in the capable hands of Jim Dunlop, a canny Scotsman who loves wine but doesn’t take it too seriously. The wine I chose for him was a New Zealand Chardonnay that I love (and have recommended many times in these pages) and that he had enjoyed on a recent trip to New Zealand: Man O’War’s Valhalla Chardonnay.
The song I chose for Jim was one that holds a dear place in my heart due to hearing it played many times on family holidays when I was young: The Long And Winding Road by The Beatles. It’s only in the last decade that I’ve learned that Paul McCartney hated the additional strings and choir added by Phil Spector – and even cited it as a reason for leaving The Beatles. However, it remains my favourite version and – in my opinion – one of the best songs ever made by the Fab Four.
Man O’ War Valhalla Chardonnay
When Frankie asked me to put music to wine and wine to music, it seemed a good thing as usually our preference is open a bottle and have memories of the area it has come from.
The wine I know is one of Frankie’s favourites and we would not have tasted it had he not mentioned while on our recent (non wine holiday) circumnavigation to visit Waiheke island while stopping over in Auckland. We will ever be grateful for that tip as Waiheke is a rather special island and it was there at lunch we selected Valhalla from Man O’ War winery. The winery is located in a distant spot on the island and we did not have time to visit it. This is probably the finest example of Chardonnay we have ever tasted but there again maybe the view out to sea and the sunshine helped a lot. Frankie has assured me that in wet grey Dublin it is still a magical wine.
So I had many songs to choose from but in the end I came down for Sing a Song of Love to me by Chris Rea.
The second verse is just right for this Chardonnay:
Cause if you sing a song of love to me
I will always find a smile
That will warm my cold cold heart
Just for a while
The Beatles – The Long And Winding Road
The song Frankie selected was The Long and winding Road
Here it was easy to make a choice for it is truly a long and very winding road to get to the winery from any direction, coming from the north taking the Spluga Pass from near the source of the Rhine over into to Italy and down to Valchiavenna there to find the glorious Nebbiolo of Valtellina.
If you come at it from the east then you have the even more amazing Stelvio Pass. Both are squeaky bottom drives but most enjoyable. There are so many fine wines in this area but I have to make it one from our friend Mamete Prevostini and his wonderful Valtellina Superiore Riserva.
Words fail me on this beauty which should be given time to sleep and not many have heard me propose that about wine.
Jim is retired from a life involved with printing presses and packaging. He now enjoys the beauty of the world in “travels with Julia”, groundwork for a possible travel blog (that might happen if he ever gets round to it). Pre-COVID19 he seemed to be away on holiday more than at home, and even “non-wine” trips involved wine. Jim has semi-professional tasting experience in the wines of Northern Italy, Germany, New Zealand and the Canaries which he often shares on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.