JUNOS viewing party perfection: The art of music and wine pairings
You know how it is. You slap on the latest by Meshuggah and wonder, “What wine pairs best with extreme Swedish metal?”
This is the sort of quandary that Timothy Mackiddie grapples with every day. As estate chef at Jackson-Triggs Winery, Mackiddie selects wines to go with a wide variety of food and, yes, music.
“You can have some food or wine and it will take you back to a certain place and time,” Mackiddie said. “And music is the same. There might be a song that brings you back to a road trip or a certain point. There are similarities from the standpoint. And wine can create a certain mood and energy much as music can.”
For the second year in a row, JacksonTriggs is the wine sponsor of the JUNO Awards. This means that the winery will be supplying the bottles of its Reserve Series Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot to guests and performers at the awards show.
Canada’s most awarded winery, Jackson-Triggs has two estates, including its Okanagan Estate Winery just north of
Oliver and its Niagara Estate in Ontario. The label was originally based in Mississauga, where founders Donald Triggs and Allan Jackson produced the first Jackson-Triggs wines. Notable awards include the 2006 Gold Medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) for best Shiraz/Syrah. It was the first Canadian red wine to be recognized by the IWSC.
When it comes to pairing wine with music, Mackiddie is not without suggestions. The type of wine depends, of course, on the kind of music.
“If you’re looking to let loose a little bit, you maybe want a wine with a little more excitement, maybe more aromatics,” he said. “White varieties with high acidity come to mind, especially if you want to turn up the volume.”For jazz, the chef says he would go for something “a little more laidback. I would think a Merlot, a red wine you can sink into a little bit.”
For hip-hop, he leans towards sparkling wine, like Jackson-Triggs’ Entourage Sparkling Brut.
“It’s versatile music, where you can have the celebratory high-energy-type stuff—‘pop!’ and bubbles, and get the party started, so to speak. Or it could be a bubbles-and-Bublé moment where you’re chillin’ out in a one-on-one situation, or however that looks.”
Country music calls to mind backyard barbecues. “I would gravitate towards a Chardonnay,” Mackiddie said.
And yes, he does have a suggestion for a wine to accompany heavy metal, whether Swedish or Canadian (this year’s nominees in the Metal/Hard Music category include Vancouver acts Anciients and Archspire).
“I would probably go with a Shiraz. All day. Or, on the other end spectrum, something racy, like a Sauvignon Blanc. You get aromatics that are in your face. Like that metal vibe.”
For those ambitious enough to plan their own JUNOS viewing party, Mackiddie suggests starting off with sparkling wine, like the Entourage Brut.
“I love starting the evening with sparkling. It’s such a versatile wine. If you’re ever stuck on a pairing, sparkling is the way to go.”
After the sparkling wine, the Jackson-Triggs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc will “keep things moving. That matches up great with lighter fare like shellfish and goat cheese.” Cheese and charcuterie is ideal for a viewing-type of party, he notes.
“With a mix of, say, some lighter and heavier cheeses, you can create your own experience,” he said. “And you can work your way into that red wine category. You can almost progress the same way with music. When we’re creating a dinner, we move from the sparkling to the Sauvignon Blanc and then the Merlot, and the food reflects that.”
For the evening’s finale, the Album of the Year Award, Mackiddie says “I would like to be sipping on that Merlot. And I would have that bottle of that sparkling Entourage tucked aside for that celebratory pop.”