Every month, I write a short column for Edina Metro Magazine, paired up with a ‘Must Read’ and ‘Must Listen’ for the season… Here is the best of the best for the month of June.
Try pairing all three together for a super summer sippin’ experience!
Read, Drink, Listen
The monthly must-haves.
Shopping for clothes in Edina, whether in the shops at 50th and France or at Southdale, leads us to ask, “Why do people wear what they do?” Project Runway’s Tim Gunn answers this question about style and apparel history and more inTim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet. An excellent companion to Gunn’s book is The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping and Why Clothes Matter by English journalist and novelist Linda Grant. Grant explains the emotional importance of shopping and the creative aspects of dressing, offering a thoughtful defense of style.
—Maureen Millea Smith is a librarian at Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.
*Available for $19.43 at Barnes & Noble in the Galleria.
June ushers in a season that shouts “fresh, fun and lively.” As we officially settle into summer, I dive into the fridge for lighter foods and often enjoy my wines outside with friends. Nothing is more refreshing for these times than a crisp, floral white wine. This month, I recommend the Tamari Torrrontés from Argentina. Loaded with alluring notes of fresh jasmine, delicate white flowers and tropical fruits in the nose, this wine delivers all of these same elements on the palate, finishing with a crispy, lemony twist. Torrontés, Argentina’s main white grape, has become one of the most popular South American grapes, after its counterpart Malbec.
—Leslee Miller is a certified sommelier and owner of local wine consulting firm Amusée. amuseewine.com
*Available at all Edina Liquor locations and many other metro bottle shops for $10-$15.
This month I thought I’d stick to the Best of Edina theme, and feature Edina multi-instrumentalist Michael Nelson and his project Wilryans.Nelson is a great producer with over 50 records to his credit. This record, a collection of originals, is a very well-produced, smart record influenced heavily by the Beatles. One of my favorites is the loop-based “Good Love,” featuring a hypnotic hook and cool harmonies. “Annie’s Hopeful”is a haunting, memorable melody while “The Good Daughter”might remind you of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer.”Singer Tonia Hughes sits in on two tracks on the record.
This is my last review for Edina Magazine. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing my musical opinions with you, and I look forward to seeing you around town.
You’d think I went kicking and screaming, I was so ‘unenthrauled’ with going to the John Legend/Sade concert last nite at the Target Center downtown Minneapolis. My husband, an avid live music fan, bought tickets to the concert months before and had become increasingly more excited about the event than his own birthday in a few weeks. I honestly didn’t see the point. We’d seen John Legend before and well, he was so much more into himself than the music that he put out, that I found no reason to see him again. And the main act, Sade. Wasn’t Sade something you slowed danced to in college?
As the week approached, we learned of other friends hitting up the concert so we made plans to meet first at one of our favorite downtown hot spots, The Capital Grille. While I’m always confident there isn’t much that their famous Stoli DoliMartini can’t fix – I went along with the program. Dinner, as it turned out, spectacular. And after a couple of fab Croatian wines down the hatch and a crispy cold cocktail, I was ready for whatever we were about to hear.
We missed the majority of Mr. Legend’s set, but were able to catch the last four songs of his act. I must say, I’m not sure if it were because I was so taken aback with his slinky white on khaki linen look or if I actually thought his music and interaction with the audience had ‘matured’. Yet I think I had decided, I liked it. His dark husky voice sounded sort of ‘jazzy’ this time around – making me think that I wanted to listen to his music outside on a patio somewhere while sipping expensive bubbles. Real bubbles. Like those that snap on the ends of your tongue, a gorgeously yeasty type – Champagne. Ahh yes, a vintaged Pol Roger ‘Winston Churchill’ Champagne, that would do nicely.
Next came what I apparently had envisioned wrong all along – The Queen of Sheba – Ms. Sade. I mean, what does a woman of 52 and a career that seemed popular ages ago, sound like now? (I mean, look at what happened to Stevie Nicks.)
There she was – fit, lean, with that slicked back iconic ponytail, all in black and as gorgeous as the day I remember ‘Smooth Operator’ hitting the airwaves. With a kind of a ‘take charge’ yet, mesmerizing appearance, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. It was that voice. The voice and the songs that I thought I couldn’t remember a word of, that had me tuned right back into 1984, mouthing every word. Remembering the mid eighties, I suppose was right about my Madonna stage, where I remember thinking…this is what REAL women sound like. After all, what girl in her prepubescence didn’t want to be someone like Sade or Madonna in the 80′s?
Fabulous, is all I have to say. And as it turns out, is quite the opposite review than my local newspaper, The Star Tribune. They really never cease to amaze me with their music reviews. You’d think that the people they’re sending to these concerts don’t like music, as I’ve never read a positive response from any concert they’ve reported on. As usual, they ripped apart the staging, the melodrama and the feel of the event. Saying that each of Sade’s slick black outfits didn’t pop enough for the stadium lighting – reporting that her figure was lost behind the satiny lighting and the gorgeous sheer curtains that fell with the transitions of each song. I say, they didn’t see the same show I did. My gosh, in the entire third act of her concert she appeared in a tight, white, sequin-y, floor length dress - peeping a brite pink brassiere that took over the whole front half of her outfit. I mean, what part did they miss here?
Point is – Ms. Sade – I think I have to dredge up those old CDs of yours. And you, my dear, deserve bubbles too. And yes, the real ones. While I can’t give the same wine pairing to you as I did your opening act – I will say that your music had me thinking ‘All I want to do is drink French Wine right now!’
Perhaps a gorgeously, dry Chenin Blanc from the region of Savennières in the Loire Valley of France is more fitting for your act. And, I would of course, pair you to one of my favorite producers of the region: Mr. Nicolas Joly. One of THE most powerful and gorgeously eloquent wines I’ve had in the last ten years… Joly’s La Coulee de Serrant is the perfect pairing to you, Ms. Sade. Still rockin’ it with class, elegance and style.
Pleasantly surprised, I guess you could say, is an understatement as to my expectation of the evening. I loved every minute of the concert and would highly recommend to all of you peeps out there looking to ‘spice’ up an evening at home, pull out some of those old Sade albums. I think you’ll find yourself lured right back into the Smooth Operating Tones of this hot rockin’ mama. Salut!
You need not watch if you’re not down for a little fun with the video camera. While yes, it is a full review of a line up of six of Winemaker Maynard Keenan’s wines from Caduceus Cellars - this vid has a few more antics than maybe most can handle.
Tool music in the background, a cool new wine key, some Easter peeps, a man hiding behind a bush = a sommelier’s fully edited Caduceus Wine ‘Movie’ (of sorts) with a few bloopers from this evening of wine review… It’s all here in HD.
Upon a very short to Las Vegas this past weekend, I was reminded of some very fun times I have spent listening and jamming to some unbelievable music through the Vegas scene in years past. Quite a few of my most memorable have to do with Dave Matthews. Of course, if you’ve read any of my past blogs, you’ll know I’m on the verge of being a ‘stalker’ Dave Matthews fan. So, while in Vegas on Saturday for a very short 23 hour stint, there for a personal in home wine event (some very cool peeps, by the way!), I reminisced over some of the best Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds shows I’d seen.
My blog today is short and sweet. I want to wish a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all who have supported me dearly this past year! There are many blogs to follow here in the next week, a couple that I know you’ll find quite entertaining, but with the Christmas season upon us and all it has to offer – I wanted to send along one of my favorite Dave and Timmy songs (recorded from Las Vegas) and one amazing pairing to boot.
If you find yourself in Las Vegas wanting some outstanding food and drink, make your way over to the Wynn Hotel. Inside you’ll find a small glassed in restaurant called: La Cave. A quaint and quiet joint in the Wynn’s Forum, has only been open for approx 2 weeks, is one outstanding meal you won’t want to miss as a foodie.
Making it in for only just lunch, we had quite a few outstanding plates. For one ~ do not miss the country ham, cheese and quail egg flatbread. Omg! I am a huge ‘egg on top of everything’ type of gal…and this one took the cake. Along with some kobe beef sliders topped with a salty blue cheese, a tri sausage pizza and one baked salt roasted beet and goat cheese side dish…my palate was in heaven. Not to mention, the wines by the glass are all of very nice quality. My husband enjoyed a delicious Puligny-Montrachet, a brite Bourgogne and I, a snappy Rias Baixas Albarino. My mouth still salivates thinking of the delicious bites and outstanding wines. To top it all off…our bartender was a huge Packers Fan – how could one go wrong?
In the end, this is the type of food and wine experience and pairing that I pair to my pal, Mr. Dave Matthews. So raise your glass this season to some of THE best pairings you’ve had this year. Mine – Great Food and Great Peeps always take precedent. Las Vegas doesn’t necessarily do much for me these days, but what it does have is outstanding food and drink. Make your way there at some point, and instead of ‘partying like a rock star’ – eat and drink your way across the city. You’ll find one heck uv alotta great vino and eats. Merry Christmas to me from the city that never sleeps.
This past week I went to see one of my favorite little hippie acoustic guitar players, Donavon Frankenreiter. A Hawaiian native born to surf, play guitar and woo the ladies, has always been one of my favorite ‘kick back’ musicians. It’s truly no wonder that he’s at the top of my playlist, as one of his best pals, Jack Johnson, was the first to give Donavon his first shot in the biz when he started Brushfire Productions.
While his music is not for everyone, you really do have to admit that if you’re a chick and into sweet, yet dark and romantic tunes that start and begin with some of the best ‘chilled out’ strings of an acoustic guitar, that he’s the one for you when you lay listening under his spell. Similar as to having some of the same background as Jack, pro-surfer, lover of life, his wife, kids and the beach – Donavon produces some great ‘baby makin’ music!
And so, when the opp came up for me to see him this past week at the Varsity Theater in DinkyTown, I couldn’t resist. A girlfriend of mine and I geared up and set out for a mellow eve of Donavon’s sounds. As the crowd meandered in, I suddenly felt like the oldest fan there. Girls half my age singing to the tunes off of Donavon’s most recent album, GLOW, yet I couldn’t wait to hear some of the songs from his first album, self titled ‘Donavon’. Songs like ‘It don’t matter’, ‘Free’ and ‘Call me Papa’ were some of favs when I first started listening from my home in Durango, Co. (At the time, a bit of a crazy lil’ hippie, myself.) All of which were played and songs that are truly meant to set your soul free!
Because I am constantly thinking about feeling my music, food and drink – I couldn’t resist asking my concert pal, Bu, what she’d drink with this concert – knowing that the conversation would turn into a WINE and DONAVON Blog for the Crush Padlater in the week. Without hesitation she said “Malbec”. ”Interesting,” I said. ”Why Malbec?” She went on to tell me that it was smooth, a bit rough around the edges but just ‘you know’ drinkable. I laughed, but then agreed with her decision to a tee. So here it is, Malbec. The perfect pairing to Donavon Frankenreiter’s smooovvvveee easy sounds, yet also turns out, is a PERFECT compliment to this week’s upcoming holiday dinner: Thanksgiving.
Malbec, we should remember, is a grape born of France. Known really as one of the original characters in Bordeaux, used to add color and tannin to the original blended Bordeaux concoction, the grape is now most known in France from its south west regions. And just as every other grape on the planet was sent around the globe for planting, so was Malbec. Now, it is most popularly known on most retail shelves from its region in Argentina.
Styles of Malbec can range from a blue fruited Oompa Loompa kool-aid style to a down right rustic dried cow patty style. Just as one should consider when drinking ANY grape, the style of any one particular grape ranges in taste profile with consideration of the climate its grown. IE: A Malbec from Cahors, France – a much cooler climate – produces an almost tannic, tough, raw dirty juice while some Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina can be dark, juicy, jammy and chocolatey in length and alcohol. Keep in mind that these are ‘blanket statements’, painting a very broad picture, each Malbec is stylistically its own from winery to winemaker, region to country. And with all that said – MALBEC seems to pair, almost perfectly, to the slippery, chocolatey sounds of Mr. Frankenreiter to the raw, intense passion that comes from his routes like the Malbecs of France. I love it.
And from music to your Thanksgiving Day Table – Malbec is a gorgeous grape for this year’s occasion. I wouldn’t necessarily pair it to a Roasted Turkey, but I would of it’s Grilled, Smoked or Deep Fried Versions. Why? Roasted notes love roasted notes. IE: Roasted birds can take on softer roasty wines – like a Sonoma Pinot or a soft, luxurious Napa Chard. When you GRILL, SMOKE or DEEP FRY, you are picking up the dark, charred flavors of the turkey skin and meat. Yes, the meat is still (for the most part) white, BUT the outstanding elements of your bird are really those dark, oompa loompa flavors that come from these other cooking methods. Remember, it isn’t always the COLOR of your MEAT, yet the way that you prepare the dish that should dictate your wine pairing! (IE: Spices, cooking methods and sauces) More on that in other blogs.
With that, here are a few that I’d recommend as you make your way to the retail shelf this week:
Diseno (Medoza, Argentina) – approx $15 on the shelf – blue fruited, silky and drinks like candy
Layer Cake Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) – approx $14 – a very dark, rich style probably best as you head towards the end of your meal and into dessert, especially if you’re having chocolate
Bodega Catena Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) – approx $17 – one with a bit more dirt, a very famous family known for its Argentinian Malbecs
Punto Final Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) – approx $13 – has a bit of minerality, but a fairly nice drinker
Chateau de Cenac (Cahors, France) – - Dark with minerality, very dark fruit and really very well balanced
Enrique Foster Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) – approx $28 – I really like this winery, well made dark berried Malbecs
Famiglia Meschini Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) – approx $15 – our hometown pals, Eugenio & Teresa Meschini, make a great portfolio of Malbecs from Eugenion’s homeland of Argentina
Chateau la Reyne (Cahors, France) – approx $18- spicy, a little sultry with some red fruit that sneaks thru and really quite nice
Jules (Cahors, France) – approx $14- dark fruit with some spice, wet leaf and dirt to it,tannins are quite tight
If you can’t find them on the shelves of your particular bottle shop floor, ask your retailer how or where to find them in the Twin Cities.
Good Luck and Drink Well this Thanksgiving Season!
While it has been some time since my last blog posting, a month!, I must prepare you for the onslaught of blog postings that are about to hit you from Amusée! The fall is a super busy time for my team here at Amusée with parties booking from coast to coast, in home wine adventures, to International inquiries -the life of a sommelier is never ending. There’s always something that I ‘must’ drink, a group of folks I must run off to see or a new work venture to prepare for. And while there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get it all done, I admit that there are times that I shut the press down to make a little bit of time for ‘me’.
‘Me’ time is rare but usually always includes one of four things: My husband, Live Music, my animals or a great bottle of wine. Preferably, all in the same sentence. Last week involved just a couple of these fine things brought on by a wonderful husband, who suggests we see more LIVE music in a year than anyone in the Twin Cities. If you’ve read any of my past blog posts, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of writing on the subject of music and wine. Whether it be Sting, Lady Gaga or Bruce Hornsby – our list of live music entertainment certainly covers most genres. This past week was just another to add to the list. None other than the most beloved rock band by 20 + 30 something year old women in the U.S. – Maroon 5.
Maroon 5- not necessarily on the ‘most wanted’ list for us when it comes to music, but when you have option to buy 8th row tickets, center stage at the Target Center, you go for the entertainment value. And there he was, as close as I’d ever want to be to Adam Levine. Hip shaking, posing, girating and squealing some of the most popular ‘sing-along’ songs on the radio.
‘This Love’, ‘Harder to Breathe’, his newest song ’Misery’, ‘Sunday Morning’ and more were just a few on the set list. But none more anticipated than his most predicted song of the evening: ‘She Will Be Loved’.
‘She will be Loved’ – you know the words, who doesn’t? And do you remember the video? Kelly Preston (what the h- was she thinking – she looked like a hussy!) and Adam Levine making out. The song – as Adam tells you in many of his interviews – is about ‘Forbidden Love’. Don’t remember?
Maroon 5 – just to give a quick breakdown – in all honesty, is a very confused band. A band from the PacNW with aspirations of becoming the next Pearl Jam and Kurt Cobain sound alike – is a vision a little disjointed from their own reality. A lead guitar player that tries to mimic the looks of Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard, yet falls short in the talent category and a lead singer that can’t decide, perhaps, his sexuality. From his Mick Jagger like poses to his ass-slappin’, shirt pullin, ad revealing moves – the man definitely wears a much smaller jean size than most women I know. And, the girls seemed to love it. Screaming, yelling, begging, and kiss blowing – the group of divorcé, middle school gal gangs and the boys they came with – singing every word to every song – was more than one could want for. Playing to an audience twice the size that he could handle, he seemed to give it a pretty good go.
Back to the matter at hand…’She Will be Loved”. A song I’ve never thought too much about, but of course could sing along to with every word spoken due to the fact that I’ve heard it on the radio so many damn times. Yet, I shared part of the concert with a very good girlfriend who adored the song. With all that I had in me to open my heart’s interpretation of the song…I followed Adam’s every move to the song. Watching as he made l-o-v-e, I mean ‘Forbidden Love’, to the mic stand.
I listened while mouthing the words, yet my mind come not erase the only word and grape! that I could think of. Riesling. Yes, Riesling. Oh so ‘forbidden’ dear Riesling, with all your Kelly Preston allure and delicious tasting, mouth-watering juices, I could not stop thinking about you, dear Riesling. (It, by the way, one of two things that real menmust drink. The other, of course, being PINK.) If one were to get their head out of what we make in the United States and forget about the one-fingered jug-like juice that your Grandmother fed you at Christmas, we’d indulge more in the the mystical world of Riesling. Oh beauty queen, why must we ‘forbid’ you instead of making you our own?
Why?! Because most Americans forget the rules to Riesling!! It doesn’t come from California, NY, and Washington alone. Its mother land is Germany. And German Rieslings are some of THE most age-worthy, gorgeous, dirty little slinky malinkys we know- in the way of grapes. Ask any SOMMELIER! If you ask a REAL Somm their favorite wine, I bet you it’s a Riesling from Germany.
Some rules to consider when choosing your Riesling:
1. Not all Rieslings are created equal. CA, WA, NY and more can produce a hotter, sweeter version due to their climate.
2. Don’t dog it until you REALLY try it!
3. Remember that Rieslings in Germany are divided into categories that come from a measurement of sugar taken at fermentation.
Here are Germany’s 6 levels:
Kabinett – most delicate, crisp acidity, green apple and citrus Spätlese- literally “late-harvest,” more body than Kabinett, riper fruit flavors, no green apple and perhaps tropical fruit (mango and pineapple). Auslese- from individually selected extra-ripe grapes; highest level of Pradikat to appear commonly as a dry wine; can be a richer, sweeter, and riper. Beerenauslese – rare expensive wine made from individually selected grapes, ideally with botrytis; a sweet wine with exhilarating complexity and refreshing acidity. Eiswein – literally “ice-wine,” left on vine to ripen sugar levels and picked when temperature is below -8 degrees C; pressed after frozen water removed, producing a wine with an intriguing contrast of richness, acidity and great fruit purity. Trockenbeerenauslese- produced in minute quantities and only in the finest vintages from individual botrytised grapes that have shrivelled to be tiny raisins.
You want sweet, you got it! Just head on down into those last three categories. But remember, the more time, love and energy that is spent on making these rare sweet wines, the more they will cost you. Wine is real estate, peeps.
And lastly, you want a wine with acid, no matter what category you choose it from – pick a REAL GERMAN Riesling. It’s the acidity that keeps this wine and ‘forbidden’ grape ‘loved’.
I’m sorry Adam, but that’s all I have for you, buddy. Riesling. You were as good as was expected. (And maybe not even worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as this REAL BEAUTY QUEEN). You put your sculpted abs and finely chiseled ass into it, I know. I admire that, but until you can play more than your radio hits- I think I’ll save my next 8th seat tickets for KISS.
Do keep in mind, however…while the song is about ‘forbidden love’, Adam does end up with Kelly Preston at the end of the video. He admits to liking ‘women’ and drinking Riesling at the same time (I think?). I’ll give ya that, Adam. I’ll give you that!
Cheers to Riesling and drinking more of it. Wear it proud, loud and never ‘forbid’ it!
In case you missed it, there was a Showdown ThrowDown last nite in the Twin Cities between two of Music’s Hottest Blonde Bombshells – Lady Gaga & Carrie Underwood.Gaga at St Paul’s Xcel Enery Center and Underwood at the State Fair…hmmm. Love ya Carrie, but the state fair, really? Gaga was so hot, she added another date to her Twin Cities schedule and squeezed in another show at the Xcel last nite – pretty cool.
While it truly wasn’t a showdown at all – unless you consider Underwood’s gun slingin’ leather belt she was wearing part of the ThrowDown Attire - my vote for Best Performance goes to Queen Gaga. No, I didn’t see Carrie’s performance AND Gaga’s…I was only game for the raunchiest show in town, The Gaga. Incidentally, which is a perfect follow-up to my previous ‘How to Make Love to Wine’ blog.
Taken from Lady Gaga herself: “I hate the truth. I’d prefer a giant dose of Bullsh- any day before I’d rather hear the truth.” So, this is my review of the show with wine pairings to boot.
Hey Gaga: Are you ready to ‘Show me Your Teeth’?
A friend of mine said before hitting the show last nite, “The best way to describe Lady Gaga’s Show last nite (she played the nite before also) is by saying, it was a Fiasco!” And now, after seeing it…I get that. But, I loved that aspect of it at the same time! Crazy, out of control, just out-right sick and twisted, but isn’t that why we all went? It’s like never being able to pass by a car wreck, we all have to SEE what’s inside – something grueling, disturbing and a bit sick. That is the Queen Gaga. And the fans, just as sick, demented and unleashed as their performer. From little girls 5 yrs of age and up to someone’s grandma sitting next to me – the show brought out the best, worst and most scantily clad audience of the state. Yet somehow, Gaga’s message of: Equality, Bi-Lovin’, Acceptance and Inner Monster Release – applied to almost everyone in the audience. At least that’s what the roar from the crowd implied. So I thought…what the h- am I going to pair to this, a Monster Ball of sorts, when it comes to Wine & the music of Ms. Gaga?
So I asked and here’s what I got…
After checking out these hot mamas and their drinks, I thought – I must get deeper on this subject. So I tore it apart song by song.
Starting here with ‘Disco Stick’ :
Hmmm, let’s see. We don’t necessarily need to talk about the meaning of ‘Disco Stick’, I think we covered that in “How to Make Love to Your Wine” last week. So, we pair to the wines that may apply to the action involving a ‘Disco Stick’ of sorts. I know, not exactly Al Green y’all, but it could refer to that baby making moment that has you all hot and bothered.
What wine puts YOU in the mood? That’s for you to answer, but I have one region in mind that may apply to the situation at hand. Let’s take a wine from the Girl’s Video above… Veuve Clicquot. While I’m not necessarily a fan of the juice from Clicquot that comes to the U.S. (remember, what we get here in the U.S. has more sugar) – I AM a fan of a creamy, luxurious, slippery Champagne. Completely applicable to Ms. Gaga’s ‘Disco Stick’, don’t chya think?
Next. A Wine to Drink when all you want to do is: ‘Just Dance’
Dancing, moving, gyrating – whatever you want to call it. It’s a feel good kind of move, right? Whether it’s Disco, Hip-Hop or Country – it makes the world go ’round and if we didn’t have our own Lady Gagas to jam out to, what would we have? And wine…helping the world to become better dancers, right?
What Wine Makes YOU want to ‘Just Dance’? Again, bubbly fits into this category, but for me – something fresh, fun and exciting plays a pretty even part for opening my chakras. I pick a delightfully, cheery, green and grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Much different from my heart throb region of Savis, the Loire Valley reeking of mineral and chalk, I like New Zealand for their fresh, brite, sunshine-y, grassy attitude. When it’s cold and dreary here in the great Midwest come January, I reach for a nice pick me up. I do, in fact, enjoy Whitehaven’s Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough. A smile for under $15, where could one possibly go wrong?
And last, but certainly not least… One of my favorite Gaga songs and really, quite the act, Sir Alejandro:
You heard it here ~ What Grows Together Goes Together! Looking for a cool new way to practice your Spanish? Check into Rioja Rehab and call me when you’re out! My pick for something dirty, twisted, meaty and maybe even a little bloody – check out one of my favorite regions in Spain: Rioja. The grape here peeps remember is: Tempranillo. Full of soot, sometimes poopy but always delicious. One of my favorites ~ Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserve. Oooohhh so gooood and still a rock ‘em, sock ‘em wine for under $30 – a real winner!
Moral of the Story: Dirty with personality.
And, shouldn’t that sum it all up for us here, Ms. Gaga? I’ve decided, I like you. I’ll keep you plugged into my IPod for a while. ‘Cuz you make me want to dance, sip, disco and more. Thanks for a fab show and thanks to all who I enjoyed it with! Overall, a killer performance by one hot lady (or man, whatever?). Hope you like the pairings…of course, they’re for you to choose, these are just some starters. Drink what you like, and drink it with style!
Shake n Bake, I’m back from the Hot State of Georgia! Hope you all had a chance to catch up on my stops and eats along the way while in Atlanta. With so much good food to enjoy, a fabulous five days of relaxin’ + great friends to enjoy it all with – our trip to Atlanta was a success. And the best part, we finished our trip off with a little more Sting. So yes, we’re back on the Sting trail, but this time with some great LIVE CLIPS from the concert, very close up! Check out these very up close and personal videos of Sting and the Philharmonic Orchestra (aka: ’The Queen’s Orchestra’ – For more on the Twin Cities Show…See Sting Blog Below).
I’m still searching for the perfect wine, in fact…I’ve had a lot of great recommendations, all from HUGE Sting fans, but I’m still on the hunt to satisfy completely, MYSting/Wine Connection.
Monday, June 28th – we had the distinct pleasure of being ‘wow’d’ for the second time this summer – all in one week – by the Great Mr. Gordon Sumner, (aka: Sting) this time from Chastain Park, just inside the city limits of Atlanta, Georgia. With a whoppin’ 95+ degrees and well, the humidity so thick you could cut right through it, and the amphitheatre bursting at its seams with 6,000+ peeps, the surroundings were some of the best I’ve seen a large act perform. (Well, outside of Red Rocks- that’s a hard one to top.) The crowd equipped with hand fans, many with personal misters, the sticky humidity and heat had you wantin’ anything but red wine, sorry guys. In fact, the big hit of this hot summer night in Atlanta called for the south’s Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka. While I’d most likely like a crisp cool glass of white wine, the Firefly was surely the ticket for cooling this Sting Crazed Crowd down. Not that you couldn’t order a full bottle of wine in a plastic ‘yard’ (hello, Vegas!) at the amphitheater, our clan was all on board for something just a little more “south” if you know what I mean. The show was great, all within the first ten rows of seating, Sting was front and center shakin’ his 58 yr old pa-too-ti with no shame. While I was looking for a little something different than our Minneapolis show, just one week before, the exact same concert was played down to song order and stories. All fine and still fab, but I could have used a set list change. Yet then again, how many peeps travel from MSP to ATL in one week to see Sting?
Tonite as I write, I am sitting with a fat glass of Rioja. One of my favorite Spanish producers: Montecillo. An old school favorite with depth, dirt and personality. It’s a kind of ‘ra-cha-cha!’ booty shaker. In fact, I’m enjoying a little sheep’s milk, Garrotxa cheese with my Rioja, while hummin’ “Desert Rose” – how appropriate! Maybe that’s what Sting needs for pairing… a booty shakin’ wine? Let’s stop pretending we’re all so serious after all – we’re here to just enjoy ourselves, right? So maybe Sting needs something that makes you ‘Shake n’ Bake’. Not just a little, but one that really gets the blood flowing. And, I’m sticking with that as my final answer…does he need red or white? I’m not here to say. It’s up to you after all – so pick up that wine that makes the booty shake and get it going, because Sting can entice anyone to shake it once you’ve watched his hips sway to and from….am I right, or am I right?
Drink What You Like and Like What You Drink!
Check out these LIVE performances from Chastain Park, Atlanta, Georgia – June 28, 2010 – ALL in HD!!
Sting. There are only a few folks in the world that can get by on one name alone. The few that come to mind are: Price, Pink, Meatloaf and Sting. (You’re thinking…How did Meatloaf get roped into that crowd, right?) And Sir Sting, a category all his own. One can only fully understand if you’ve been to a live performance of his. Even as I’m not the world’s biggest Sting Fan (that would be my husband), I have to admit, it’s hard not to find him incredibly sexy for a guy at 58! Not to mention, his music is iconic, his performances are real and his musical abilities are something of another league.
I had the pleasure of seeing Sting on Monday nite at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul. Spoiled by my husband’s ability to always pull off any arena’s best seats, I had a direct view of the evening’s performance. ‘Her Majesty’s Orchestra’ and ‘The Biggest Band he’s ever had’ is what he called The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra upon his opening Monday nite. With a full set of 45 members behind him, Sting’s performance was a dreamy, romantic start to my week. With several of our friends and family in the audience, it was hard to focus on anything but the grandeur sounds coming from what was in front of us. Sting, who stood alone on stage, drifted from song to song with stories as to how and why each was written and constructed. With a catalog as big as the arena itself, songs from almost every era were sang. ‘Every Breath you Take’, ‘Roxanne’, ‘Desert Rose’, to his opening song ‘If I ever lose my Faith In You’ – each song came with a dramatic performance by the orchestra. Featuring several musicians from the group including a violinist, a trumpet player and a clarinet player – each song performed by the orchestra seemed to display a different part of the melody that I had not heard before. Some more invigorating and dramatic, while others rather soothing and swooning. And Sting, with his voice as clear as I had ever heard it, was front and center. A lovely concert, really.
Of course, when I have written about music in the past, I have always tied in wine to match the performance that I had been to the nite before. I suppose I lacked a little yesterday, still reeling from the previous nite’s concert, thinking all day…What Wine is Best Suited For Sting? My inspiration for my wine choice not only comes, this time, from the concert itself and of course, Sting, but also from a wonderful girlfriend of mine who we caught up with after the show. When we had mentioned that we had just been to Sting, she gasped and said, “No! Really?!” Wow, was my first impression, thinking how dramatic her expression was. But, after sleeping on it and sitting with the conversation that followed her gasp about Sting and how every woman I knew would like some sort of ‘encounter’ with Sting, I thought about what a crazy affect this man had on so many. Sorry guys, this one is for the ladies! At an age where only a few men can live of his age in that ‘Sex Appeal’ category (IE: Sean Connery) – Sting definitely fits the bill. The man exudes a romantic, soft, tender side with a mysterious ‘tantric’ appeal that not many musicians can emulate. His rather handsome, tanned, yoga-leaned body doesn’t really hurt his case either. So when you put it all together, sit back and take a long drink of his music, you think…only a wine as luxurious can pair to a man like Sting.
My pick… When one uses the word ‘luxurious’ to describe wine, the first grape that comes to mind is Chardonnay. Not necessarily an Old World Chardonnay either. Something with a little weight and body to it. A fat creamy center with a bit of sugar. Something with elegance, richness and can easily slip down the gullet without thinking too hard. One wine comes to mind when I think of this description and it was certainly the way I could have described it the first time I had this wine.
Kistler Chardonnay. Kistler – a winery from Sonoma – is one that I rarely drink. Why? Because it is ridiculously over priced, allocated and one of those particulars that I sometimes think, and teetering on, ’Is it worth the money?’ And definitely not one that I put in the ‘Buck-For-Buck’ category. The first time I had it, I had to split buying the bottle with four other friends, that’s how ‘over priced’ we thought it was. But once we opened it and took our first sip, I remember thinking ~ ‘Oh, now I get why this wine is so coveted in California’. With a total California-like style and produced for only those who have enough money to afford it, it fits in that ‘Mercedes Benz of Wine’ category. Luxurious. Creamy. Refined. Silky. And lastly, Well-Branded.
This is the wine I would pick to drink with Sting, if he ever asked me (and of course my husband!) out for a glass of wine. Kistler Chardonnay. His smooth, luxurious tones make you want to lay back, relax and drink over priced Chardonnay. And this is a positive critique, by the way, of both the Chardonnay and Sting. Sting is man that could probably compel any ‘woman’ to buy over- priced wine, and that’s why I paired the two. Both, a very special occasion ‘treat’ if you’re looking for one.
Overall, the performance lovely and a job well done by Her Majesty’s Orchestra. Salut to you Sting!