Music & Wine

This whole concept of Music and Wine has really been intriguing me lately. More and more we are seeing these two go together in one form or another. Wine is being associated with world music festivals, I follow some fellow bloggers that associate music with every single one of their wines they write about, and many speak metaphorically of how the wine they are drinking in that moment, is ‘like a symphony’, or the elements are ‘combined in perfect harmony’ or ‘this wine was just singing’! I’m totally into it, and I love the association! Having a musical background myself, I get it. And being an Italian wine lover, I get it even more as many musical terms are Italian.

I remember in my piano playing days, I loved to play forte, or fortissimo, but needed to learn how to play more piano or pianissimo. And when a new piece was put in front of me, I would gasp if asked to play presto, being much more comfortable with allegro, and on occasion, adagio. Little did I know that from the age of 5, when I started taking piano lessons, all the way to age 18, and age 22 for theory, that I already had some Italian under my belt~in the form of music!

And as long as we’re talking about music and wine, I was treated to lunch last week, along with a fabulous 10 year old Italian Merlot that was totally cantado. It was unbelievably outstanding!

2006 Sansonina Merlot may not be known as well as the Zenato Amarone (or other Zenato wines for that matter), but this is a Sansoninaspecial project from Carla Zenato and her daughter Nadia.  The winery’s name comes from the biblical name Samson, the man with super strength because he never cut his hair. In Italian, when you add ‘ina’ to the end of a word, it becomes a diminutive term of endearment, thus the name Sansonina becomes this powerful, yet refined ‘little Samson’. Not only that, but seemingly, many years prior, the same winery was owned by a lady whose strong character gave her the nickname ‘Little Samson”. The bottle itself is a sexy little number, designed to mimic the shape of an oak barrel, and to continue its ageing process right in the bottle. Very clever indeed.

Sansonina 2The aroma profile was molto espressivo, constantly morphing and changing in my glass during the course of the meal. Immediately on my nose I got a blast of mulberry, changing into black plums with cinnamon, pink pepper and subtle nuances of mint. Time passed and I got fennel, black licorice and even some leather. Diving underneath it all to get some of the earthy tones of tree bark and moist dirt. On the palate, it was silky soave with piano tannins, vivace acidity, delicato and grazioso, yet with great ostinato all the way to fine.  Tons of fruit left, bursting with plums, blackberries and mulberries, which tells me there is yet time to be had in this wine. This was the 2006, and current vintage is 2012 (which is what I have in the store). I wonder what this wine will be like in another 10 years time. No doubt brio


Yes, this wine was indeed cantando. Salute!


Glossary of musical terms:

adagio - moderately slow
allegro - fast, lively
cantando - singing
delicato - delicately
espressivo - with expression, expressive
fine - the end of the movement
forte - loud
fortissimo - very loud
grazioso - gracefully
molto -  much or very
ostinato -  persistent
piano - soft
pianissimo - very soft
presto - very fast
soave - gentle; smooth
vivace - lively

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2 Responses to Music & Wine

  1. Finally had a chance to read some of your recent posts. You’d think that me, as a working musician, would have thought about this kind of topic a lot – but I haven’t. I actually separate out that aural experience with wine tasting, perhaps because I’m focused on the analytical aspect of it. Recently, my favourite restaurant changed owners and when I first visited with the new management in place, the music was different (stern classical music instead of breezy, upbeat electro-pop). For me, it was like they’d deflated the bouncy castle but still expected you to have fun. It really changed the mood of the place and not for the better. I haven’t been back since.

  2. I’ve been associating music and wine for quite a while now. I don’t mean for this to sound like I have some special gift, but almost every place that I have been wine tasting, there is some kind of music in the background. This has actually given me a better appreciation for Jazz as many wine tasting rooms have Jazz in the background.

    And as you stated, many wineries after normal hours bring in bands to play. Just another reason to enjoy Wine Country!

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