11 Perfect Wine and Music Pairings

Drink Lists wine
11 Perfect Wine and Music Pairings

Admit it: you’re totally confused about which wine to pair with your playlist, or anyway, what to listen to while you’re sipping that thing you just pulled the cork out of. It’s a major issue, after all. Because it’s all about mood. You know pouring a Mendoza Malbec with a platter of raw oysters is a cognitive dissonance. Consider the epic mindbender of trying to drink a hard rock wine with a Chopin etude. Can’t let it happen. Here are a few suggested pairings.

Your Wine: Benziger Family Wines Sonoma County Merlot

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Velvet in a bottle. Smooth, fruit-forward but just a little dark (tea, cloves, lots of plum) with finesse and structure. And super-natural: Benziger’s wines are certified sustainable, organic, or biodynamic, so your green-creds are as put together as those soft, soft tannins.

Your artist: Sarah McLachlan
If merlot had a voice it would sound a lot like Sarah. Rounded, velvety, not a harsh note. If it were me, I’d just put her version of the St. Francis Prayer on repeat.

Your Wine: Chloe Prosecco

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Some proseccos are casual or even a bit raucous; others are dignified but stylish. Chloe is one of those classic, Little Black Dress bubblies. Fine bubbles, straw-colored in the glass with a bit of a green tint, and a lovely expression of the Glera grape, very lively peach, apple, and white flower notes, a citrusy finish with a nice balancing hint of something stony.

Your artist: Ella Fitzgerald
Bubbly meets bubbly, Sophisticated Lady meets…. Sophisticated wine. Total versatility and perfect pitch. I’d recommend the Verve Johnny Mercer songbook specifically.

Your Wine: Cupcake Vineyards “Angel Food”

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This white blend (Chardonnay and Viognier with some supporting cast members) is for folks who are not afraid of sugar. It really does taste a bit like cake batter, with some kind of vanilla-caramel thing dominating and a little bit of peach cobbler. Hey, you can’t be bone-dry all the time, right? Sometimes you just want something… a little sugary.

Your artist: Carly Rae Jepsen
“I really really really really really like you… And I want you. Do you want me too?… baby I really really really really really like you I really really really really really like you…” (any questions?)

Your Wine: Domaine Carneros “Le Reve”

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This all-Chardonnay sparkling wine is rich and nuanced and elegant. Brioche and almond notes, tons of nuanced florals and pear notes, very creamy on the palate.

Your Artist: Duke Ellington
I believe Ellington was a Cabernet man, but I have to say, an elegant, urbane wine like this would go awfully well with, say, Masterpieces by Ellington. They’re both a little full of themselves but why not? They’re both timeless and delectable. They’ve earned the right to be a little self-satisfied.

Your Wine: Charles Krug Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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Charles Krug has been around forever, and they kind of personify the genre of Napa Valley Cab. The 2014 release is a structured, sturdy wine with notes of dried blueberry, black currant and cherry. Long, long finish.

Your Artist: Bob Dylan
One gold-standard classic meets another. Pioneering and poetic, with structure, longevity, and the ability to change and morph and yet always remain themselves.

Your Wine: Beauregard Pinot Gris Orange Wine


If you’re not accustomed to orange wine you might be weirded out by the electric orange hue of this long skin contact pinot gris. This one is a personal favorite, from its oddball tint to its unfolding layers of marzipan, jasmine, woodsy notes, earthy notes, peachy notes, honey and roses and black tea and vanilla and… well, it’s super complex, with bracing acidity and plenty of structure. And it just keeps going.

Your Artist: Sigur Ros!
This is definitely the wine for a band that invented its own language. Exuberance, oddity, range, complexity and surprise and… bizarre but highly pleasing notes.

Your Wine: Flipflop Sauvignon Blanc

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Yes, the one in the can. Slightly effervescent and light bodied, citrusy and crowd-pleasing, this stuff is meant to be toted to the beach, that BBQ, parks, pools, tailgates… you name it.

Your Artist: Jimmy Buffett
No questions, right?

Insurrection Wines

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“Rich, full-bodied Insurrection comes from Australia, where people decide for themselves and no one apologizes for living full throttle.” You got that, right? Australians don’t give a crap about your rules, and they will do as they please. This Shiraz/Cab blend is described as “relentless” and I wouldn’t disagree. Harvest brinksmanship probably a big contributor – those are some fairly massive grapes and they got serious hang time to maximize their punch. A big, very big wine, with waves of plum and cocoa and dark berries. Pretty smooth finish, considering it comes at you like a vinous sledgehammer.

Your Artist: The Ramones
Loud, assertive, straightforward. But if you want an Aussie band for an Aussie wine, friends don’t let friends drink and listen to Midnight Oil. So I’ll suggest… The Vines. Because wine.

Your Wine: Love Noir

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Dark, dramatic, smooth, silky – this is a pinot noir with major sex appeal and a sort of 40s femme fatale quality. Tons of black cherry, and I got a distinctive hit of dark chocolate.

Your artist: Lana del Rey
Oh. The moodiness. The unapologetic drama. The retro yet futuristic je ne sais what. All that. Unabashed sexiness, a serious dark side, and legs for days.

Your Wine: Save Me San Francisco “Drops of Jupiter” red blend

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I will quickly register an objection that they used this name on a Petite Sirah-based wine; it belongs on a Sangiovese, whose name translates to “Jupiter’s Blood.” But whatevs. If you like Petite Sirah (I do!) you should try this one. It’s dark and supple with good structure, and a smooth, um, outro. Forest berry notes dominate.

Your Artist: Train
Well, if the name doesn’t clue you in, this wine is a joint venture between The Wine Co and the band Train. Pop and rock stars seem to be delving into wine ventures more and more. (Could this be the end of beer’s dominion over concerts?) So, here’s what I’m going to suggest. Grab a bottle of Dave Matthews’ side project, Dreaming Tree, as well. Then drink the Save Me San Francisco while listening to the Dave Matthews Band, and Train while you’re quaffing the Dreaming Tree wine, and report back to me on whether you feel illuminated, or just rocking a jam-band hangover from some jammy reds.

Your Wine: Slow Press Wines Cabernet Sauvignon

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Quaffability for days. Garnet tone, dark berry, earth, and kind of oaky but not overly so. Some Cabs are really, really serious. This one has an ebullient, affable quality that makes it a terrific choice for casual Sunday BBQ action with a handful of friends.

Your Artist: Shawn Colvin
Beautiful voice, easy to relax with, certainly not frivolous but not heavy-handed either. Blends into the background but has plenty to say if you’re listening.

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