There is something to be said of the merits of a shared table. Conversation is fuelled by food, and wine makes for a brilliant social lubricant; it’s where friends are made and ideas are born.
A few weeks back, I had dinner with a group of old and new friends at Popteno, the temporary home of those clever guys at Porteno. Here, I met Glenn Dickie, one of the folks behind Sounds Australia, which is Australia’s music export initiative . It was quickly established that music, food, wine and events were a few of our favourite things, so it was no real surprise we got along very well.
After bottle of wine number 2 (or was it 3?), he was telling me about a major event he organises globally called The AUSSIE BBQ, which has been running at SXSW (yes, THAT SXSW), since 2003. In a nutshell, The AUSSIE BBQ is a travelling circus event that promotes Australian music in all corners of the globe; in 16 cities in fact. Glenn mentioned that he wanted to have a stronger Australian wine focus at the event, which makes sense, though unfortunately what also made sense was the fact that certain national bodies couldn’t get their head around the idea.
I love this idea of pairing of music with wine. It is at the core of Pinot Palooza, and it gives punters some context for what the event is all about. Musical tastes are as varied as those of wine, so at the end of the day, it really all just comes back down to a matter of style.
Glenn and I started toying around with the idea of matching AUSSIE BBQ music acts with a wine regions and grape varieties, trying to work out if it was possible. Enter the Pinot Palooza SOMMELIER ROADIES. These talented somms ran tailored wine tours at each Pinot Palooza, showcasing 6 wines they liked in relation to the kinds of areas you’d find at a music festival – VIP, Chill Out, Jumping Castle, etc.
The brilliant results are below and I’ll be honest, I’m a little more than blown away. Just read the notes and you get an indication of the thought processes that have gone into these smart, piss funny and completely apt responses. The future of wine is strong with these ones. They just get it.
So what’s next? Me new mate Glenn is heading over to run a huge event in Canada later this year where the focus is on *drum roll please* Australia. Can’t wait to see the results.
(If you’re keen to be involved with cool and global events that fuse music and wine, drop me a line, will ya?)
Lisa Jenkins, The City Wine Shop (Melbourne)
BALL PARK MUSIC – So, I have to confess, I had never heard any Ball Park Music songs until today! But this is my take on them. Young, cool indy kids with melodic pop songs…’Surrender’ seems to be their most played song on YouTube. When I listened to the track and watched the band, I thought of well presented, clean cut new wave wines. Certainly not as wild and funky as the natural crowd peddling orange wine out of the Adelaide Hills. More like, wines from Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley, whom have a younger appeal, yet still commercial!
Tom Hogan, Harry and Frankie (Melbourne)
BLOODS – The inky dark pseudo punk sound of the Bloods is enough for any right minded Jo / Joe to take arms and rebel against the powers that be…to lighten the mood I’m suggesting the Gewürztraminer dominant blend Rock Dots from La Violetta in the Great Southern – the florals and Turkish delight aromatics will brighten any young punks day… 2014 La Violetta Rock Dots, Great Southern, WA
SAN CISCO – McLaren Vale, SA: Faux Pas Grenache, 2013
Tessa Murray, SUPERNORMAL
CLOCKWISE – I have chosen the 2013 Mt. Majura Graciano to match Andy Clockwise’s music (mainly to his latest song ‘Dancing world’), his low key indie techno has a classic edge. Like in his song Dancing World the classic violin reminds me of the elegance and fragrance that Graciano typically adds to the red Rioja blends from the northern Spain but here in Australia we encounter this variety on it’s own. Grown just outside of Canberra of the volcanic/limestone soils of the Mt. Majura vineyard is a small parcel of Graciano vines. The 2013 is Mt. Majura’s 8th release of this variety and the result is superb – brimming with dark cherry fruit, an earthiness wound around a tightly woven structure of acid, tannins and spice, makes this wine edgy but classic and I love it! Big burgundy glasses, friends, Sunday roast and listening to Clockwise – happy days!
STEVE SMYTH – Ar Fion Pinot Noir ‘Prices Ridge’ Yarra Valley 2013
Profound, a little rustic but overall Steve Smyth’s music and Dave Mackinstosch’s wines possess a finesse and elegance. Careful, thoughtful winemaking and beautifully crafted music – no reason that these two aren’t a perfect match. The Yarra Valley is sometimes seen as one of the more polished regions of Australia but you have some pretty special characters making some smashing, thought provoking and delicious wines.
Mark Protheroe, Grossi Florentino (Melbourne)
THE GOOCH PALMS – The garage punk sounds of this Newcastle duo tells a story that is recurring in numerous wine regions around Australia. The rise of lo-fi, paired back voices that are stepping out from behind layers of post production effect. The message is confident, passionate and delivered with gusto. The task for them seems to be straight forward and the approach is one that requires their colours to be clearly screen-printed on to spandex outfits. Irreverent? yes. To everyone’s taste? I am going to say probably not. Approach this head-on with a thirst for life.
‘Romanee Tuff’ by Tommy Ruff Syrah 2014. A Syrah that is not easily linked to the glitzy, buffed style generally seen from the Barossa valley but delivers the message energetically.
Julia Sewell, Rockpool Bar & Grill (Sydney)
FRASER A GORMAN – Music that sounds like its been around for a while; tunes that you imagine you’ve already heard years ago – but then of course it’s very new and just sits well and comfortably. Like Langhorne Creek Tempranillo (& friends). Somehow at home in any environment; something anyone can like.
HAMISH ANDERSON – that crazy Gippsland Pinot stuff. need more be said? (Except, perhaps, ‘Moondarra’ and ‘Bass Phillip’…)
HIATUS KAIYOTE – The connection here was a little less immediate, but when I reached it, everything made sense. The tone is so very unfrenetic (a new word just for them?), but still clearly carefully curated. What else but Margaret River Chardy, of the new Si Vinters style…
LENKA – To me, though I count this opinion as entirely personal and therefore without any validity, this music is a little formulaic. Not without interest, and certainly not without many potentially likeable aspects. Quality; up-beat and peppy, but not my choice. Somewhat like Adelaide Hills Savvy B.
THE DELTA RIGGS – I agonised over this a while, knowing that I got a very strong sense of the exact wine from all their songs, but not quite being able to pin it down. It was the video for Rah-Rah Radio that brought me to it. Check it out and see for yourself. Beechworth Syrah – the glam rock of Aussie wine (which, btw, I do rather like).
GEORGE MAPLE – Definitely Tassie Pinot! Clear from the first few seconds of ‘Talk, Talk’. The sound gives an immediate sense of depth and brightness. Velvety without being heavy, and just so very enticing.
Samantha Payne, Wine Scribe (SYDNEY)
JACK LADDER & THE DREAMLANDERS – All deep voiced, husky twangs and sexy vocals. You want something elegant and bold at the same time. Like velvet sliding down your throat. Dark and yet vibrant. Something you want to get seduced by.
Wine Region/Variety: Malbec- Langhorne Creek, South Australia
Producer: Bremerton Estate
TKAY MAIDZA – Flirty and Bright. Twinkly background but with a hidden power in her voice. You want something easy drinking but with an unexpected complexity. Multi-layered and multi-dimensional, nothing simple about it. Just fucking delicious. Like the Oliver’s Taranga Fiano from McLaren Vale, South Australia
Peter Marchant, Consultant (Brisbane)
KIRIN J CALLINAN – Ecclectic. King Valley VIC. Lot’s going on here. Pizzini Arneis. Reminds of you of something but also new at the same time.
THE LOVE JUNKIES – A nod to the classics but with a new school spin. Mc Laren Vale, SA. Brash Higgins Shiraz. A tip of the hat, but not bound by the past.
Alan Hunter, ecco (BRISBANE)
REMI – Adelaide Hills, Pinot Noir. Serious Grape, but lets not take it too seriously in a conventional mould. Tarra’s or Anton craft a wines in tune with a younger generation without sterotypes too much in mind. It is what it is. Read into it if you wish, or just drink up.
Sarah Limacher, Keystone Group (Sydney)
TIGERTOWN – Listening to these guys do there thing on spotify im thinking cool, classic with a hint to the new school, a fresh and modern sound mixed in with classic nods to a sound from yester year, im thinking the Clare Valley. I love the history and the classics from the Clare I also love the wave of new guys coming through and mixing things up, this band are like the spiritual love child of Wendouree, Grosset and Keri Thompson. Get in me! Slinky and Sexy like Clare Shiraz with the Steely soul of Old Clare Rizza.
Matt Brooke, Crown (Melbourne)
BIG WHITE – Macedon Ranges – Curly Flat Chardonnay (en magnum)
SAFIA – Yarra Valley – Mac Forbes ‘Woori Yalloch’ Pinot Noir