Harmonious Pairings

A CD set matches Austrian wines to classical songs.

Establishing a connection between wine and music is not particularly difficult: the parallels are plenty from the passion and manic dedication each discipline can inspire to the myriad, often overlapping categories and sub-categories present within both—i.e. few can delineate all the wine world's numerous appellations and varietals and it takes a serious music connoisseur to explain the nuances of indie, punk, post-punk, etc. The similarities extend to individual songs and wines as well—a Bordeaux blend might call to mind a cerebral classical piece while something more sultry and sensual seems better suited for a smooth and silky Burgundy—and not surprisingly a number of vintners and industry insiders have experimented matching songs to wines in an effort to enhance the tasting experience (read more information on Wine Enthusiast's own wine-and-music pairings contest).

Now the Austrians have also entered the wine and music game with the release of a two-part CD, Rendezvous Wine & Music: An Encounter Between Two Art Forms. A collaborative effort between the Austrian Wine Marketing Board and the Concerto Classic Wien Orchestra, the CD set features classical songs, all of which are matched up to three different Austrian wine varieties (the specific couplings are listed on the inside cover). For instance, "noble and fiery" Blaufraenkisch is paired with Brahms's Hungarian Dance No. 1, the fourth movement from Beethoven's 2nd Symphony and Strauss's Polka Schnell. The songs were selected by a group of conductors, musicians and wine industry professionals and lean toward the Classical and Romantic eras of the classical music canon. In addition to Blaufraenkisch, featured varieties include Muskateller, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Zweigelt, sweet wine from Lake Neusiedl and, of course, the rising international superstar Grüner Veltliner. There's also an aperitif, Austrian sparkling wine, paired with the opener song, Mozart's Champagner-Arie.

The CD set costs $38 and is available at www.concerto-classic-wien.at. Until March 30, 2010, listeners can email in their favorite pairing for each wine variety for the chance to win a book on Austrian wine.




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