The picture above is of Tabanco el Pasaje in Jerez on a memorable day a couple of years ago – some of the distinguished scalps in the foreground are friends of the author. All of us were sipping on oloroso from the barrel, chewing on fried pork, listening to live flamenco and generally wondering if we had made it to paradise. Was a fantastic experience, no doubt. It also brought to mind something the great Cesar Saldaña had told me – that the fino should be drunk with a soleá, the oloroso with cante hondo and everything else in between.
Since then I have dabbled with flamenco and can appreciate the point so it made me laugh to read this recent study (by no means the first) on the relationship between the sound of flamenco and the taste of jerez. Even before that, experiences tasting wine had told me that not all music is a good fit, so thought it would be useful to put together a list of the things I have enjoyed listening to while absorbing the wines of Jerez, Sanlucar and roundabouts.
Here are the recommendations:
- Radiohead, in general, but in particular OK Computer, and especially this
- Massive Attack, Mezzanine (must be the old Bristol sherry connection) – try this with the sherry of your choice – (Blue Lines isn’t bad, a bit scattergun stylistically but if you have enough bottles open shouldn’t be a problem)
- Portishead – anything they wrote, music to enjoy wine with
- Chopin – Nocturnes – like number Two. Guaranteed to make the finish longer, the structure more defined. If old Chopin had been a sherry he would have been La Panesa
- Leftfield, in particular their masterpiece, Leftism (although these days I can’t hear Release the Pressure without hearing the Macarena)
- Paco de Lucia – here we stray into the realms of the bleedin’ obvious but if you haven’t tried it give it a listen – top entry level album/track would be Entre dos aguas – which I would pair with a manzanilla pasada
- Camaron de la Isla – again on the “does the pope shit in the woods?” side but still worth trying. This lad made a great album live in Paris where it sounds like he was drinking some 80 year old dos or tres cortados between songs
- Chemical Brothers, Dig your own hole, maybe not so much Planet Dust, Surrender in between and others on a spectrum
- Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head, the Scientist – schmaltzy song but goes well with a punchy fino or manzanilla
- Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, for which you need some super smooth amontillado and friends who don’t talk too much
- Puccini, O soave fanciulla, La Boheme (emotional, but the good stuff). Balance the sweetness with a feisty palo cortado or oloroso
- Air, Moon Safari, La Femme d’Argent, too cool for school these boys, this is the backing track to the heavy hitting fino of your choice
- Morcheeba, The Sea, (yet more Bristol?) Mrs Undertheflor’s favourite
- Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, long and ever more complex like an older amontillado
- Mozart in general, and particularly piano sonatas like this one are perfick with the spritelier finos and manzanillas
- Tribe Called Quest – Can I kick it? Yes you can. Particularly with an amontillado or palo cortado
- Primal Scream, Loaded
- Rodriguez, Searching for Sugar Man
- Soul II Soul, Keep on Movin’
- Stone Roses, particularly this
- Bach, Goldberg variations – I reckon if you had the time and inclination to take a real walk through the world of Jerez this would be your tonic
What not to listen to (with your sherry, feel free otherwise):
- The Prodigy, who take angry shouting and impatient beats to their limit and whose lyrics are just too enigmatic
- John Coltrane, Giant Steps, since it just refuses to wait for the next beat and produces anxiety (imho)
- David Guetta, no time for dancing, sorry Dave
- Beethoven, too dramatic, mentally taxing, and generally over wrought
- Roni Size/Reprazent, Bristol or no Bristol, just too many quick beat beat beat beat beats. Frankly dangerous music to drink to. Maybe should try it in fact.
- Wagner, too risky – you may miss the (well spread out) good bits while refilling
- Beastie Boys, sorry lads, shouting and sherry don’t mix, neither does the other stuff, maybe it’s me
- Cuban jazz, too chaotic, and anyway, electric violins?
- the Smiths, due to views on brexit and general angst
Will report further if I remember/can be bothered.