Wine + Music

The Frankly Wines & Friends Wine & Music Series #5 – Penny Sadler

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.

Part 5 of the Frankly Wines & Friends Wine & Music Series is in the capable hands of Penny Sadler. As the wines available in her home city of Dallas differ a fair amount to those in my home city of Dublin, I wanted to choose a nice, recognisable and widely available wine. Bollinger’s excellent Special Cuvée Non-Vintage Champagne fit the bill perfectly!

One of the albums I recently included in my all-time top 10 list is the seminal Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. It has been a favourite of mine since the early ’80s, and most people of my age from the UK will remember John McVie’s bass riff introducing Formula 1 coverage. The band’s line-up has changed frequently over their 53 year (and counting) but retained the same rhythm section. I had the pleasure of seeing them live in November 2003 and June 2019.

Just as an aside, Deep Dish (two fantastic deep house artists / DJs from Washington DC) did a “cover version” of Dreams but kept it authentic by having Stevie Nicks rerecord her vocals for their version – check it out here.

Bollinger Special Cuvée NV

Bollinger Special Cuvée NV

The wine Frankie chose for me is Bollinger Special Cuvée NV. I have to say that I wondered for a moment if Frankie had hacked my email, because at the time I was writing a newsletter and blog about sparkling wine.

Bollinger is one of the oldest and most revered champagne houses in France. All of their wines are aged twice as long as is required by the rules of the AOC. They’ve survived phylloxera, WW2, and a lot more. The Special Cuvée is made with 65% Pinot Noir grapes. I feel the dominant Pinot Noir gives the wine more depth, more layers, and more fruit forward aromatics, which I like.

The Bollinger Special Cuvée is meant to be drunk young, though you can cellar it for a few years. But, as it’s already aged for at least thirty months instead of the minimum fifteen, I say, go for it.

I had a hard time choosing between a song that was fun, energetic and bubbly, like Champagne, or a song that was a classic, just as Champagne is a classic drink, marking so many important events in our lives.

As it turns out, I got both, in the song Dancing In The Street. Originally written by Marvin Gaye and performed by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas in 1964, it’s a catchy song that reminds me of travel and good times. It’s just a fun song! It became a number one hit in the U.S and the UK, and is one of only fifty sound recordings preserved in the Library of Congress National Recording Registry. Just like the Bollinger Special Cuvée, this is a special song.

Dancing In The Street has been recorded by a number of different artists over the years. Mick Jagger and the late, great, David Bowie recorded it as a duet for Live Aid, in 1985. These two iconic singers put their own riff on the song calling out the names of places around the world––Tokyo, South America, Australia, France, Germany – challenging everyone, to dance in the street. I’m pretty sure we’re going to see a lot of that when we’re all able to travel freely again!

They’ll be dancing, dancing in the street
(Dancing in the street)
It’s an invitation across the nation, a chance for folks to meet
They’ll be laughing and singing and music swinging
Dancing in the street

Can’t you just see yourself drinking a class of Bollinger Special Cuvée and then, no matter where you are, “dancing in the street.”

Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac, a British American pop band released the album Rumours in 1977, with four singles. One of them, Dreams, became the #1 selling single from the album and the only #1 song for the band in America. 40 years later, the album is still wildly successful and has sold over 45,000,000 copies.

Frankie asked me what kind of music I liked and though I gave him quite a few options, he picked one of my all time favorites. Dreams is a beautiful melody written and sung by Stevie Nicks. She said she wrote it in about ten minutes with just her keyboard. The song is about her breakup with band member and boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham. Nicks also said that even though they were both really pissed at each other at the time, when he heard the song, he smiled at her.

I remember listening to Rumours obsessively as my BFF and I primped and crimped ourselves for a night out. It wasn’t uncommon for us to leave a few broken hearts in our wake, which fits with the theme of the album. Not only Dreams, but every single song on the album is about relationships gone awry between the band members. It remains to this day a ’70s rock classic.

When I started thinking about what wine to pair with Dreams, I thought, well, what was I drinking in 1977. Wine wasn’t a big thing in my life in those days, and frankly (Frankie), there wasn’t much available that fit the budget of a high school girl. However, instead of taking a different approach to the wine pairing, I stuck with the period theme. I recall the only wine we drank was Soave, a light, Italian white wine. Aptly, as an adult I’ve become a frequent traveler to Italy and lover of great Italian wine. But in high school I was drinking the cheap stuff, by Bolla.

bolla soave classico

I wouldn’t call Bolla Soave a great Italian wine, but it has stood the test of time; for only 10 dollars a bottle it is quaffable. But, no, I haven’t had it since 1978.

Penny Sadler

Penny Sadler is a travel and wine writer and student of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, an internationally recognized certification and credential in wine and spirits.

Penny has traveled extensively to some of the world’s most interesting wine regions. She’s picked grapes in Barolo and Emilia Romagna, visited a 2000 year old wine cave in France, and led winery tours in Napa Valley.

A native Dallasite, Penny spent a year in Napa Valley learning the ins and outs of the wine tourism industry. She writes creative content for the travel and hospitality trade as well as assisting others with travel planning and hosting wine tastings. You can keep in touch with Penny via her website, Adventures of a Carry-on, a travel and lifestyle blog. Or follow her on Instagram @Adventureofacarryon or Twitter @PennySadler

Opinion, Tasting Events

Frankie’s Single Bottle Review #05 – Rizzardi Costeggiola Soave 2014

Soave-Top

Rizzardi Costeggiola Soave 2014 (12.5%, €15.45, O’Briens)

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – most Soave is swill.

Well, to be fair, most is technically drinkable, if fairly simple, but lacking in flavour. It’s what you see on the label of the cheapest whites at your local convenience store. Over 85% of Soave production is made by co-operatives, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when prices are fairly low then production targets are nearly always based on quantity rather than quality.

After a fantastic Amarone masterclass given by Count Guiseppe Rizzardi, we were treated to a glass of Rizzardi’s Soave with the first course of lunch. It is produced from a single vineyard on the hill of Costeggiola in the oldest part of the Soave wine region, just to the east of Verona. The soil is volcanic and the slope of the hill is steep enough to require terracing – add all of this to a southerly aspect and you have the right ingredients for some serious wine.

06WITA014-Rizzardi-Costeggiola-Soave

The blend is 70% Garganega (the minimum stipulated by the DOC regulations) and 30% Chardonnay (with other varieties also permitted). The vines are between 10 and 40 years old, a good indicator of potential quality. As is the norm the wines do not see any oak during fermentation or maturation.  2014 was a cooler vintage in Soave, meaning a longer growing season.

The 2014 is clean, tangy, with appreciable texture. It has citrus, tropical and stone fruit notes – it’s a complex, versatile, enjoyable wine.

Suffice it to say that I popped to my local O’Briens store and cleaned them out of this wine!