Posted on | May 3, 2012 | Written by Michael Greeson | No Comments
Last week the NY Times ran a follow-up piece to Jeff Gordinier’s “Sounds of the Kitchen,” an article that took readers behind the scenes into restaurant kitchens throughout New York and discussed the instrumental role that music plays as part of the creative process for a chef. The follow-up article, “The Music Behind the Wine,” highlighted some remarkable wine producers from the West Coast who regard music similarly. Producers like Karl Wente of Livermore Valley and Andrew Murray from Santa Barbara seem to portray music as important to winemaking as say, the age of the vine. One of our favorite producers from Campania, Di Conciliis, plays Miles Davis in its cellars and names its wines fittingly–Selim, or “Miles” spelled backwards; likewise, Le Terrazze in Le Marche is so devoted to Bob Dylan that the estate plays that musician’s music to its vines and has wines with names like Visions of J and Planet Waves. This convergence, then, isn’t exactly new to us at IWM.
First of all, I’d like to tip my hat to whoever started this conversation (perhaps Eddie Huang deserves a nod). I think it’s more important than ever for journalists to report what’s actually going on in food and wine culture in the United States rather than allowing the media-soaked celebrities to do the talking. Mindlessly watching Bobby Flay smear chipotle mayo on his burger bun might do just as much brain damage as shelling out $40 for a mediocre Napa Cab, but I digress.
Now what I realized through reading about these winemakers and chefs was that learning about their choices in music told me something about their personality and their soul. Music is inherently personal, just as one’s taste for food and wine. Some of these guys are musicians, some of them just nerdy about music. Some of them have tats of famous song lyrics and others have long hair. Although I might not necessarily listen to the same music as one of these guys, there might be something else, something more that I relate to—the human element, the creative spark, that thing that differentiates us from everyone else around us. In the end, the talent is not simply having the ability to make good wine; the talent lies in the ability to communicate through your passion, the ability to tell your story.