Fall Wine & Music Pairings: Autumn Sounds of Somms Playlist
A new season means a new chance to ask more wine professionals for their seasonal wine and song pairings. For fall, we asked our panel of professionals for a song pairing with one of their favorite medium-bodied red wines. The perfect accompaniment to a dip in temperatures, harvest festivals, leaf-peeping, and sometimes, a feeling of nostalgia.
Restaurant Sommelier at Amara at Paraiso, Miami, FL
Wine: Viñedos de Alcohuaz “Cuesta Chica” Garnacha, Elqui Valley, Chile, 2019
Song: Cigarette Daydreams by Cage The Elephant
Lisbet Says: When I think of the fall, I first reminisce back to my college days in northeast Rhode Island. I think of those cloudy, sometimes rainy, and cold days, which reflected some of the stress of my junior and senior years. Cage The Elephant was a popular band among my circle of friends back then. I personally felt connected to “Cigarette Daydreams,” because it has this lively beat, but at the same time, the lyrics express a little sadness, conflict with your own person, and loneliness. It was my perfect song to get through my last years of college.
Years later, I live in sunny Miami where I have one of the best jobs, enjoying and sharing great wines with everyone around me. My autumn is no longer a little sad anymore. I chose Cuesta Chica Garnacha because the first time I tasted it, it was joy on my palate. This wine has bright acidity, and it’s fresh and juicy with all the flavors I love in my reds like black and red fruits, soft spices, and floral and fragrant plant notes. It’s a wine that I look forward to enjoying during toasty Miami fall afternoons, and most likely while still listening to my favorite college song.
Italian Wine Importer
Wine: Diego Pressenda – Le Coste di Monforte Barolo, 2016
Song: Moriro’ da Re by Maneskin
Daisy Says: Fall reminds me of cooler weather and changing leaves… Something we don’t quite get in Florida! However, nothing stops us from enjoying a glass of slightly chilled Nebbiolo paired with a little Italian rock and roll. Painted in all the colors of fall, Diego Pressenda’s Le Coste di Monforte 2016 Barolo is a pleasure in the glass. Leather, tobacco, and an earthy aroma intersect with one of red berries… that’s what I think gives this wine that rock vibe! “Moriro da Re” is an Italian song by the rock group Maneskin that translates into “I will die a king.” Particularly fitting, as Barolo is often coined as the king of wines and wines of king! Salute!
Wine Buyer, Commercial Acquisitions at Benchmark Wine Group, Napa, California
Wine: Kimsey Grenache, 2018
Song(s): Turnin’ Me Up by BJ the Chicago Kid, Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves (and the rest of the Same Trailer Different Park Album)
Maisie Says: Subtle yet self-assured, the 2018 Grenache from Kimsey’s tiny bit of heaven in Ballard Canyon outside Santa Barbara layers spring strawberries against crushed white pepper and garrigues on the nose. The black cherry palate laced with raspberry and savory acidity offers a luminous experience. Rounded, fine-grained tannins, elegant acidity, and a finish that lingers lure you back sip after sip.
Jamie Elizabeth Metzgar
Wine: Catherine & Pierre Breton Bourgueil Nuits d’Ivresse, 2019
Song: Blue in Green by Bill Evans
Jamie Says: Autumn is New York and New York is autumn. The city fully comes alive after shaking off the sweaty grime of sticky summer months and embracing the cooling chill that dapples Central Park with color. It’s impossible for me to think of autumn in New York without thinking of jazz and the tiny little clubs that somehow still exist in the city. There’s nothing better than nestling into a cozy corner on a chilly fall evening and listening to live music, or even settling into a leather armchair at the Algonquin and lingering over a glass of wine and a good book. And Loire Valley Cabernet Francs are the epitome of autumnal reds with dusky fruit and earthy notes. Breton’s “Nuits d’Ivresse” is a perennial favorite, and just begs to be paired with fall stews and those late-year seasonings. It’s also the perfect wine for a ‘nuit d’ivresse’ at a jazz club, as we sip and savor and slip back to a bygone era.
Founder, Groove Wines
Wine: Domaine Jamet Côtes du Rhône
Song: Come on Over (Turn Me On) by Isobel Campbell, Mark Lanegan
Nate Says: Côtes du Rhône can be a dime a dozen, but I assure you there is nothing ordinary about this wine. First of all, unlike most CdR’s that are Grenache dominant, this baby is 100% Syrah. Second, this comes from one of the world’s greatest Syrah producers, Corinne and Jean-Paul Jamet of Côte Rôtie. If this wine was a movie character, it would be Gabriel Byrne’s Devil in End of Days, and you, fair drinker, would be the woman whom Gabriel kissed immediately after being possessed (YouTube it).
This beautiful savage pairs perfectly with the paradox of Isobel Cambell’s lilting voice floating in between and around Mark Lanegan’s gravelly, deeply soulful vocals. Dark. Mysterious. Pretty. Dangerous.
Turn me on, indeed.
Principal, SANA Group, Rioja Expert, Award Winning Author of The Wine Region of Rioja
Wine: Marqués de Cáceres Reserva, 2016
Song: Massive Transit by Cindy Bradley
Ana Says: I have always loved the sound and power of horns in a band. Driving to the beach in late summer on an early Sunday morning, and on the radio was Massive Transit and an interview with Cindy Bradley. I was blown away by its power and beauty. Definitely two traits of this wine and the winery owner Cristina Forner. Both are leading ladies. The trumpet is also very versatile, like Tempranillo, the primary grape of Rioja. It can produce young wines – like light low notes – or semi-aged or very aged wines like high notes. Cindy is an accomplished trumpeter, playing the instrument associated with power and strength just like the Forner family (owners of Marqués de Cáceres) who fled Spain during a brutal Civil War in the 20th century and vowed not to return until democracy was reinstated.
A half a century later, this winery has established itself as a global leader with award-winning wines like this Marqués de Cáceres Reserva 2016. Absent of lyrics, the vibrational pulmonary power of this billboard hit speaks the same language as this complex and delicious Reserva. The solo segments of Massive Transit evoke this sensorial flow that happens in this Marqués de Cáceres Reserva glass. It has black and red fruit-forward aromatics that carry through to the palate with swirling black cherry, blackberry, punctuated by toffee, spice, silky seductive tannins, and a long finish. Both hold you tight in their grips with stimulating joy and pleasure. Massive Transit and Marqués de Cáceres Reserva are vibrant, charismatic, complex, and accomplished.
Founder of AlexasWineDiary.com and Co-host of Pouring Over Pages Podcast
Wine: Raft Wines Grenache
Song: Say You’ll Be There by Spice Girls
Alexa Says: There are many reasons why I love this producer, but one of the biggest reasons is because founder and winemaker Jennifer Reichardt, is a millennial badass (which I can relate to). She started Raft Wines in 2016 from a feeling of joy—joy of the land, of the food, of the wine produced, and of the joy when we share around the table.
Her family has been in the food industry of California since 1901, most specifically raising ducks for restaurants in the Bay Area. Jennifer started on her winemaking journey in the spring of 2011, and that autumn she completed her first harvest in Sonoma County, California. Over the next few years, she completed six additional harvests, to the Sonoma Coast, down to Chile, back to Sonoma Coast, down to Australia, and back again.
Raft Wines is based in Sonoma County, but Jennifer sources grapes for her wines from vineyards located all over California, including El Dorado, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Madera Counties. She’s very involved with the farmers to create a delicious and more natural product. Her Grenache comes from the Narrow Gate Vineyard in El Dorado. This appellation is unique due to its high elevation and complex topography, which creates microclimates that allow for growing a wide variety of grapes identified with the old world like Bordeaux, Rhône, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
Her Grenache has a stunning color, like red autumn leaves glistening in the sun. It’s a fresh expression of the grape and bursts with red fruits, rose petals, and herbs. It’s on the delicate side with great acidity and balance. It’s the perfect sipper for a place like Miami, where fall means the temperature just dips a few degrees.
There are two reasons for the name Raft—1. It’s a community of waterfowl, like ducks (here comes that duck family background) and 2. A community of friends and family, to keep you afloat. I’m a Millennial who loves nostalgia, so I couldn’t help but pick a song I grew up with. When I think of that second reason, I automatically think of “Say You’ll Be There” by the Spice Girls. With the chaos of fall going into the holiday season, all anyone ever wants is for someone just to be there—to support and love them through the good and bad.
Sarah Phillips McCartan
Wine Specialist (Freelance)
Wine: Oldenburg Vineyards Stone Axe Syrah, Stellenbosch, 2019
Song: You Really Got Me by The Kinks
Sarah Says: This wine totally stopped me in my tracks during a recent trip to Stellenbosch, thanks to its delightful, crushed berry flavors and subtle black pepper. It’s zippy, fresh, crunchy, and delightful. In other words, it’s expressive – like a good Syrah should be.
It’s also the first vintage by winemaker Nic Van Aarde, whose appointment has turned this estate into a real rising star. I think we’ll hear more about Oldenburg in the coming years.
Also: The vineyards are some of the most stunning that I saw in Stellenbosch, wrapped between craggy mountains.
So, the reason for the music pairing is simple: I love the song, I love the vineyards, I love the wine: You really got me!
Director Wilkes, NC Tourism, Marketing Chair, NC Wine and Grape Council
Wine: Bella Misto, Raffaldini Vineyards, Ronda, NC
Song: Carolina in the Fall by Kruger Brothers
Thomas Says: The Kruger Brothers tale told in “Carolina in the Fall” somewhat mimics my own in the sense that a longing and yearning for inspiration leads one on a journey, only to find that what inspires you or motivates you. Your “home” lies within, or with the memories made with people you hold most dear.
Just like the Kruger Brothers music is influenced by classical music and has “movements,” there are definitely “movements” or “seasons” to winemaking. And that first night you feel the cool breeze in the foothills of North Carolina, usually on a night in mid-to-late August, it is a reminder that the hard work of harvest is almost over and a respite is soon near.
Bella Misto, probably the first North Carolina red wine I ever tasted, tastes like home to me. Like the Krugers’ music, being in a wine producing region affords me the opportunity to taste the same wines as they go through their own season of maturing and aging. It’s fun to open a perfectly-aged wine, enjoy the flavor evolution, reminisce with loved ones, and aspire to the future with the wisdom gained from a life well lived.
Wine & Travel Writer, Wine Consultant
Wine: Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Red, 2021
Song: Oh Baby by LCD Soundsystem
Jacqueline Says: Just like the song, “Oh Baby” by LCD Soundsystem with its buildup to vocals, the Patelin de Tablas red takes a little opening up for it to develop into a beautifully synchronized blend. Like a well-tuned band!
This Rhône-style wine is 43% Syrah, 28% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre, and 6% Counoise. These grapes act as a coordinated assembly to offer a harmony of aromas and flavors, such as juicy cherries and strawberries, a touch of blueberries, and clean minerality. Mouth-watering acidity marches alongside medium firm tannins to create a strong structure within a medium body.
“Oh Baby” is such a melancholy love song, but isn’t fall a more pensive season than, say, summer or spring? The song gives all the feels of a layered and complicated romance, a heavy feeling but mixed with atmospheric sounds, lending to an in-the-middle vibe. Similarly, the Patelin de Tablas offers layers of characteristics as it opens up and delivers on the promises of its grapes, but maintains a restraint that gives it a balanced feel. Both the song and wine linger. You’ll remember them long after they’re gone.
Tasting Room Manager of Piccione Vineyards
Wine: Nero (NV), 100% Neroamaro, Estate Grown from Piccione Vineyards
Song: When You Come Back Down by Nickel Creek
Hailey Says: Nero is a unique wine that drinks medium-bodied and carries subtle black pepper and dried rose notes, with soft tannins rounding it out. It evokes the feeling of fall approaching and the harvest ending.
“When you’re soarin’ through the air
I’ll be your solid ground.
Take every chance you dare
I’ll still be there
When you come back down”
This song evokes stability and calmness after the unrelenting harvest season, and reminds you that things always settle back down. Nero is the perfect wine for enjoying while overlooking the newly harvested vines and watching the sun go down. And it’s also perfect for transitioning to sitting around a fire and silently listening to the calm crackling of the wood. Nero reminds you to slow down, relax, and ground yourself when everything around you may seem crazy.
Wine: Lathuilière Gravallon Vieilles Vignes Morgon
Song: Amber by 311
Greig Says: Autumn is a nostalgic season for me, as it’s so associated with sensory experiences, especially scent. For me, scent strongly correlates with memory, and my song choice of 311’s “Amber” takes me back to the days when I lived in Connecticut driving around as a teenager in the fall. The color amber was ever-present, the leaves were falling, the radio was loud, and the rain would bring out strong wafts of petrichor.
I chose to pair this song and season with one of my favorite youthful aromatic reds from what is my favorite Cru in Beaujolais. Sourced from Gamay vines with an average age of 90, the Lathuilière Gravallon Vieilles Vignes Morgon exudes memory itself. Semi-carbonic vinification helps aid the layered expression of dominant raspberry, pomegranate, black cherry and dried candied fruit on both the nose and palate, while undertones of subtle forest floor carry nuance with this wine that becomes more pronounced as the wine ages. It’s a season, a memory, and a hug in a bottle.
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