Rock and Roll and Wine

Last night I paired my wine with what was on the television instead of what was on the table. While watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony I opened a bottle of B.R. Cohn 2006 Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon. B.R. Cohn Winery, in Sonoma, is owned by the Bruce Cohn, manager of the Doobie Brothers, so it was a natural match. Just like this year’s class of inductees this was a fun, but not great, bottle of wine.

Created from a blend of grapes from both the Sonoma Valley and the North Coast, it has the typical flavors associated with California Cabernet, cassis, ripe berries, black cherry and some vanilla from the oak. While I doubt that this wine has a lot of cellaring potential, it could benefit from another two years to mellow out some of the tannins and let the fruit come through a little more.

I probably should have decanted this wine, but it did open up nicely in the glass. Once it did it was a perfectly enjoyable, if not spectacular, Cab. For a $15-$20 bottle of wine, you could do much worse. It also kept me mellow enough not to yell too much at the screen when Madonna was inducted, but did little to keep me from tearing up a bit as Leonard Cohen read an excerpt from “Tower of Song.”

The telecast itself was uneven and long, but refreshing because it wasn’t stage managed as tightly as so many of these type of shows are these days. No one cued the band to start playing to cut off someone that a producer with a stop watch deemed too long-winded. Lou Reed talked long enough that he almost managed to crack a smile twice, once for getting booed after making a joke about Elliot Spitzer. The joke was mildly amusing, but seeing that Reed still has it in him to take on his audience was much more so. His introduction of Leonard Cohen, while surprisingly disjointed, was touching for its genuine affection and love for the master songwriter.

Despite the unevenness of the program, and despite Madonna’s unwarranted and horrifying inclusion (What’s next? Wayne Gretzky being inducted into the Football Hall of Fame?), it was a lot of fun to sip wine and watch the loosely organized event. Most of the performances were very good, and none were augmented by an interpretive dance troupe.

The lack of tight control allowed for some surprising moments. Reed’s less than coherent speech, Billy Joel’s remarkably moving and eloquent induction of John Mellencamp, and Iggy Pop’s hilarious recitation of “Like a Virgin” all come to mind. Rock and Roll should be that way, and maybe a lot more wines should be, as well. The constant quest for consistency leaves a lot less room for surprises. With both music and wine, the necessary business and marketing concerns should never take precedence over the art. The music industry killed itself by doing that, lets hope wine makers stay a little wild at heart.

Random thoughts on the HOF show:

  • Iggy, you are a legend, an icon, and an inspiration to young musicians and aging punks everywhere, but put on a damn shirt. It’s time, man.
  • When was the last time that you saw anyone on TV speak as honestly, frankly, and as clearly as Billy Joel did last night?
  • While never a Joel fan, I really need to give the guy more credit.
  • Is there a better dresser on the planet than Leonard Cohen?
  • Mike Watt politely shaking Madonna’s hand and then quickly putting as much distance between himself and her spoke volumes about her “place” in the HOF, even more than the smattering of applause she received from the industry folks on the floor.
  • I forgot just how many hits the Dave Clark 5 had.
  • The same goes for the Ventures.
  • Paul Schaeffer may be the world’s most annoying man.
  • I made a terrible mistake by not listening to more Mellencamp back in the day. I let my love for Punk and the underground preclude listening to anything else at the time. Stupid.
  • Now that Rock is just a niche market, and there is no dominant music genre, it makes me wonder when was the last time there was no unifying musical touchstone for a generation?
Scroll to top