Everyone always associates the phrase ‘wine pairings’ with selecting food that complements a bottle of wine. Maybe it’s because I went to school to study jazz drums or the fact that our office has a DJ booth, but I feel that something as subjective as wine should go hand in hand with music. I’m obviously not the first person to think this way: Maynard James Keenan of the rock band Tool has his own Caduceus Cellars; Dave Mathews has his own winery in Virginia; Primus bassist, Les Claypool heads Claypool Cellars in the Russian River Valley; and even Boz Scaggs, lead singer of the Steve Miller Band, is the proprietor of Scaggs Vineyard. There’s a clear connection between these two mediums, so why not combine them to maximize my concert-going experience?
This week, I'm going to see George Clinton. At first, the solution would seem clear: in 2008, Hall of Fame Beverages, Inc. licensed a soft drink named Atomic Dogg – named after Clinton's hit song. Surprisingly, the Horny Goat Weed-infused energy drink – adorned with a drawing of an equally horny-looking pooch – didn't take hold, and is no longer available. So what to do: Alizé; Cognac, a Rosé to match the dreads? Nope. George cut the dreads; we'll need to pair with funk.
When tasting wine, every so often you'll hear someone note some funk in a wine. This often refers to a yeast called Brettanomyces, or "Brett." This little spore grows up on the skins of fruit then hangs out in improperly sanitized barrels, infecting wine until it's eradicated by sulfur. Brett can add aromas of cheese, barnyard, or more specifically, what animals might leave behind in a barnyard. Over time, the yeast's compounds become more prevalent and desiccate a wine's fruit. This can sometimes be found in more traditional Riojas, southern French reds, old Burgundy from riper vintages or wines with no added sulfites.
While almost universally unappealing in wine, Brett's funk is appreciated and even encouraged in certain Belgian ales. Gueuze is a type of Belgian lambic made from blending younger and older lambics for a second fermentation with wild yeasts – almost always including Brett. These sour, barnyard-y and cidery brews are most certainly funky, and therefor, the ideal candidate to prime me for George. I'll be drinking the Cantillon 100% Lambic-Bio -- and organic gueuze that won't hold back on the Brett.
Have your own suggestions? Tell me below!