The best wine & music pairings: Symphonies in your goblets
If it’s music to your ears, then it’s liquid symphony to your palate. KISHORE AND SMITA IYENGAR waltz with fine world wines and serenade with immortal Western Classical music scores to unravel their eternal, endearing synergy.
Music in all its incarnations has always enticed and enveloped Man in his innermost sensitivities and colored his existence with passion and purpose. But conjuncted with the remarkable sensory and physical attributes of fine world wines, there is a seamless and complementing harmony among the two, that goes beyond mere visualization.
The combination is truly eclectic and the resultant effects so very spontaneous that we decided to explore what fine wines do when you savor them in company of the most expressive of Western Classical music renditions of the great Maestros. Our ears were ready for the finely subtle, our noses keen to search and palates eager to live up to the sensory flair of both elements unfolding one after the other!
Made for each other, we’d declare. Johannes Brahms in his Symphony No.2 in D Major (Haydn Variations) illustrates prowess in ‘Allegro non Troppo’ with a lilting, seamless ascent, the spirited violin’s magnanimous strides lilt with often exploratory and penetrative finesse. Paired with a full-bodied, handsome and well rounded Sangiovese in the 2007 Pugnitello, San Felice, Toscana IGT – Italy, it matches the musical tempo with its masculine depth, deep cherry aromas and expansive taste.
Brahms’ ‘Allegro con Spirito’ takes on mellifluous leaps of musical bounty, dramatic yet softly sonorous, reflecting and caressing…a mood reflected by the moist truffle flavor, piquant nose and smoked hardwood aromas of the signature Indian 2015 VA Reserve Collection Red. The combo creates a sensory ambience of ‘taste bud visualization’ lending music to the nuances of this fine red wine.
The fascinating synergy of musical repertoire can be felt on the palate in myriad ways. Ludwig Van Beethoven’s masterpiece, Piano Concerto No.5 in E Flat has his ‘Allegro’ which is silky soft and pensive, punctuated by synchronic support of the suave violin, trumpet and cello and the flautist’s genteel tease. We celebrated this exhilaration with a vintage French 2006 Bourgogne Olivier Leflaive Pinot Noir, the soft, rounded, juicy flavors succulently mellow like winter sunshine, reminiscent of Burgundy’s lush green vineyards.
In Beethoven’s ‘Presto’ there’s a veritable sprinkling of spring sunshine, the feel of waving grass lent by uplifting piano notes, quick-paced and briefly introspective, a delectable sonorous flair! The Grovers Art Collection 2014 Merlot displays crisp and overwhelming berry and oak wood nose, sauntering after tastes of light pepper, black currant, light vanilla and oak brilliantly sum it up the feel.
In his ‘Allegro’ – Brandenburg Concerto No.2 in F Major, Johann Sebastian Bach presents a soft and cheerful lift with the oboe, the clarinet and violin in motion, rolling notes, meadows of country sunshine, gentle waves of crescendos leading you into fairytale villages. We raise a toast with an appropriate Italian Caves Mont Blanc’s 2012 Blanc Du Blanc Brut (Morgex et La Salle) Valle D’Aosta’s sparkling nugget with it’s soft fruity fragrance, lily and lemony hints.
Bach goes on into ‘Aria Da Capo’(Goldberg variations) with effervescing piano dexterity, expansive and searching, lending a vocal tint, then lapsing into ‘Andante’ that’s organ grandeur, sometimes deeply sonorous wefted with the cello. The Nashik-India born 2015 Zampa Soiree Brut sparkling classic’s lightly grassy and moist aromas juxtapose with melon and grapefruit freshness, that stays on for long as a lingering spring breeze.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21 in C Major (‘Allegro Maestoso’) displays a lively humungous bond with wines. Reminiscent of an Alpine lakeside, rolling hills, expressive violin and orchestration cascades into the piano, very svelte, cajoling and contended….intricately customized, grandly paired with a superlative 2014 Grovers Art Collection Rose with piquant grassy bouquets and refreshing citrusy, guava aromas.
‘Allegro di Molto’ is gloriously nostalgic, a cruise on the Danube, sprinting violin in abandon, superlative piano probing silken-soft on our nerves! Waves of Mozart’s versatile piano’s unmistakable Baroque shades and lingering noir seduction temper with the outstanding, blue blood Indian Chene Grande Reserve 2011 with it’s eclectic velvety, cigar box nose and flavors inching truffles, cocoa, coffee and ripe berries, the astringent fragrance of vineyards.
GRANDEUR IN GOLD
Magnificence in orchestral theatrics….Pyotr Ill’Yich Tchaikovsky’s ‘Allegro con Anima’ from Symphony No.5 in E Minor begins with violin mastery and leadership of a vintage breed. Versatile suppleness, all-enveloping surround spectacle brings the oboe’s lingering wisp seducing the violin’s fluent bow. The powerful character of a full bodied and handsome vintage – 1999 Clos de L’Obac red from Priorat, Catalunya in Spain, flashes with similarities….deeply ruby red tones, slight garnet undertones, a rich mature, variformed nose, spices and smoked cheese.
Tchaikovsky’s ‘Valse-Allegro Moderato’ and ‘Finale-Andante Maestoso’ is an enigmatic urge ascending in emotion of classical opulence. Mystical tones tip toe in rhythmic overwhelm of the violin and the cello’s profoundness, blending into the 2006 Castell’s Apriles GG Trocken Spaetburgunder from Bavaria in Germany distinct palate of soft sweet tannins, oak wood bark and cigar leaf like ingesting liquid gold!
‘Piano Works’ (Classics Collection) by Frederic Chopin invokes moods so eager and inquiring that in his ‘Impromptu No.2’ in F Sharp Major the jazz-like, spontaneous nocturnal notes linger on in a kind of rhetoric rising to a slow excitement of senses. Its depth is equaled by the splendid 1997 Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, California – USA, the cigar box aromas, wild berry, chocolate palate and soft oak vanillin are perfect for Chopin’s often mystical piano renditions.
‘Waltz No.2’ in A Flat Major finds Chopin offering feather touch piano, intricacy with subtlety, a graceful twist and swirl. It takes in the medium to full-bodied taste, the ripe fruit with matured oak and peppery spice flavors of a vintage Sandalford 2011 Shiraz, Margaret River, Western Australia to blend with the flute’s expectant, rising notes that set the heart soaring with aplomb.
The ‘Red Priest’ (‘Presto Rosso’), fabled baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi regales in his immortal ‘Four Seasons’ “Il Ritiro’…’Spring’ brings idyllic and floral violin scores in superbly unforgettable lilts and scales, totally exhilarating. One of Western Classical music’s most memorable pieces, complemented by the marvelous, award winning 2012 La Reserve red from India with it’s distinguished and complex character, dry palate, soft veining, a distinct nose of bramble and pine wood.
In Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ ‘Allegro’ the entire range of the violin is expounded in a neon-esque bouquet of musical variations, an accomplished masterpiece tinged with caressing and comforting interludes. That enlivens the lingering, harmonious peach and peony nose of the boutique 2013 Caves Mont Blanc from Morgex Et La Salle, Valle D’Aosta, Italy enveloped in it’s most unique Prie Blanc white varietal, it’s unmistakable green apple and moist Alpine grass flavors reminding us of the soft, genteel country pace and high altitude brevity.
FLOWING WITH PRIDE
Music monarch Johann Strauss makes a spectacular beginning on the violin in his ‘Die Fledermaus’ (Wiener Philkarmonik) then swiftly lapsing into refined interspersions. The violin follows command mellifluously into a magnificent symphonic rendition. What better way to complement such virtuosity than with a finely crisp South African 2007 vintage Nederburg – The Wine Masters Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. The vibrant citrusy, grassy aromas enveloped our eagerness to tune in our ears as floral and juniper danced on our tongues.
Strauss goes further ahead with his most celebrated of works, ‘An Der Schoenen Blauen Donau’ his all-time classic ‘The Blue Danube’, working orchestral magic with panoramic simulation that scales summits of imagination, visions of a blessed river and picturesque vistas fleeting past. An endless bouquet of dazzling musical calisthenics visualized into fascination. Raising our toast, the finely unmistakable flavor of herbs, lemon rind, pine cones and moist hedges in the exhilarating Indian 2014 VA Reserve Collection White’s Viognier stock with distinctive peach and apricot flavors, waltzed on our taste buds, our ultimate tribute to Strauss’ ultimate waltz of all times.
“Hadees az motreb o mey gu va raaz e dahr kamtar ju Ke kas nagshod, va nagshaayad be hekmat e in mo’amma ra” – (Hear sweet tunes from the singer and enjoy intoxicating wine, and bother less about the mysteries of this universe. For people have been baffled over the ages, but none could get hold of the key to this riddle) – Legendary Persian Sufi poet Hafez of Shiraz, Persia.