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The History of Heavy Metal in 9 Wines - Part 1
I've hosted tastings pairing wine to art, sculpture, cars, clothes, lamps, horse pictures, Marvel characters, Bond movies, rugby players and sex aids but coming up with suitable line-up for 'The History of Heavy Metal in 9 Wines', an idea spawned drunkenly in Bordeaux in May, was quite a challenge. I deliberately steered clear of the obvious choices - i.e. Motorhead's Shiraz or AC/DC's 'Thrunderstruck' Chardonnay, from the same site that event offered Slayer 'Reign in Blood' Cabernet!
Co-hosted at 67 Pall Mall with a member of a longstanding tasting group, who is a diehard heavy Metal fan, his track choices and notes below and my wine choices beneath. As each track was presented chronologically (release date rather than specific performance listed below) it was a crazy drinking order. In fact, with Motorhead's Overkill blaring out of the Lutyens Room, ties around head and leather trousers (mine) on display this was a singular event altogether.
NB - Although the first reference to 'Heavy Metal' appears in William Burroughs' 1962 novel The soft Machine, it was widely applied to Jimmy Hendrix's music, described as 'like listening to Heavy Metal falling from the sky' and appears in the lyrics of Steppenwolf's era-defining Born to be Wild - 'I like smoke and lightning, Heavy metal thunder''...
Jimmy Hendrix - Purple Haze (1967)
Coming from deep blues and jazz fusion, at the time a completely novel way of playing guitar, mixing musical old musical styles and then playing with all sorts of new combinations and techniques to come up with something utterly distinctive and, at the time, unique. He, literally, turned the guitar on it's head - well, the Fender Stratocaster anyway. Not to everyone's taste - but then that was never going to be the case.
A Forest Pinot Noir, 2014 Ochota Barrels
From Taras and Amber Ochota in the Adelaide Hills - who famously name a number of their wines after their favourite heavy rock bands (Fugazi, Shellac etc), this is pioneering, very distinctive and due to their minimal interventionist philosophy, slightly hazy purple Pinot.
Led Zeppelin - Black Dog (1974)
The old blues influence is strong here - but the breadth of musicianship takes this to a new level. Strong fruity lyrics with powerful vocal bouquet. Melded with rich bass and drums to find a new path in old blues that is strangely compelling. And with a simple but strong finish.
Black Dog Classic Cuvee, 2011
A surprising rich and generous English sparkling wine from the South Downs, which spends 6-months in Burgundy barrels to broaden it out, represents the new breed of the old school, satisfying and intense. There is a strutting confidence and mellow richness to this wine that marks it out from more gentle, brittle English wines.
Music selections and accompanying notes c/o Charles Garthwaite.
Tune in next week for part 2!
Written by Tom Harrow
Published on: November 2, 2016