Wine Music : Cabernet and Nebbiolo

Wine Music is a series of posts where I try to match wines with famous songs.  I feel like wine and music go well together as they are two matters that can be studied both technically and emotionally. Simply put, I want to match some wines with songs that they make me think of.

Previous entries include:

Chablis and Meursault

Gewurztraminer and Beaujolais


I love writing those Wine Music posts but they can be hard sometimes. It’s not necessarily the writing in itself, it’s the research and the whole finding a song thing that can take time. I used to go at it in a carefree way, waiting for a match idea to strike me as I perused songs.  I realized that I needed to change methods and use the approach I use to blind taste a wine, a structured, sequenced approach.

Since we are taking about structure, let’s match Cabernet Sauvignon with a song. Structure is one of the defining characteristics of the wine, what are the others? Acidity, tannins, a bit of an unforgiving side, potential for ageing, full bodied, dark, those are a few of the Cabernet things. From that, I can tell that I will need an older song that stood the test of time, it should not be an easygoing happy song about rainbows, there should be some darkness in it and finally it will need some “body”, some staying power, I can’t go with a breezy, light summer tune.

At first I considered some Bach pieces as, like Cabernet, it emphasizes structure but I thought it was a cop out and it lacked the darkness I wanted. Bach to the drawing board I guess (one day I’ll be able to stay away from puns). Cabernet Sauvignon’s music match is: Paint it Black, The Rolling Stones, 1966

The darkness is right already in the title, it’s definitely a classic song, there is structure and staying power and for added bonus, the use of the sitar gives oriental notes to the song that mirrors cedar aromas some Bordeaux can have. Done.

Now, onward to Nebbiolo. What am I looking for here? There is a reason I lumped Nebbiolo in the same note as Cabernet Sauvignon. Many characteristics are the same: potential for ageing, structure. Acidity, tannins,… Where Nebbiolo differs, in my opinion is that it is lighter (without being light), more elegant and can be more surprising than Cabernet.

I considered staying with the Rolling Stones with this one; maybe Sympathy for the Devil would have had that funky element I’m looking for. In the end I decided to go with another great song : Wish you were here, Pink Floyd, 1975

I feel it’s a good match, definitely a song with structure and layers, serious without being dark, elegant to a fault and with moments of grace to mirror the joy of drinking an old Nebbiolo.

Thoughts? Did I miss the mark on these ? Any alternative pairings ?

4 thoughts on “Wine Music : Cabernet and Nebbiolo

  1. For me, this Rolling Stones song is a bit all over the place compare to Cabernet. I would personally pair it “heat of the moment” by Asia… For the Nebbiolo, it depends. I would agree with your choice for some of the lighter renditions, such as ArPePe, of G.D Vajra Langhe, but fully powered Barolo might require Bach for me 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s