Villa-Lobos "Melodia sentimental" paired with Italian wines

Set to a poem by Dora Vasconcelos, "Melodia Sentimental" turned out to be one of the last pieces written by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). It was originally commissioned by MGM in 1958 for the soundtrack of Mel Ferrer's film Green Mansions, starring Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins. A lot of the music Villa-Lobos composed for the film did not make it onto the screen, but the composer turned it into a suite for solo soprano, male chorus, and orchestra, entitled A Floresta do Amazonas (Forest of the Amazon).

Like much of Villa-Lobos' music, the song thrives on the blending between local Brazilian influences and classical European tradition, but it also exudes a distinctly visual and cinematic quality: the stunning melody glides like the rays of the moon through the night, bringing to life the scenery described in the song. All the while, the underlying syncopated rhythm mimics the gentle blowing of the night wind so that the listeners can almost feel the caressing breeze on their skin. Lushly poetic and passionate, Villa-Lobos's melody speaks to all our senses and goes straight to the heart.

The gentle cool breezes that you can almost feel caressing your skin might perhaps lead you to want to sip something chilled.  However, the luxuriant drama of this song seems also to evoke something darker, richer, and red.  The two are not mutually exclusive of course, so... why not a chilled red?  Yes, it happens in many parts of the world, particularly in places that make lighter reds, which, due to climate. are actually often served chilled. 

Why stop at one?  Two wines come to mind as perfect companions to this piece: Verduno Pelaverga from the Piemonte region of Italy and one of our personal favorites, a dry Lambrusco from the Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia regions. The first is a relatively unknown varietal, often taking a backseat to Nebbiolo, but Verduno is lovely, light in body and has something of a wild strawberry in the nose.  By no means does this mean it is sweet. Try one from the producer Burlotto to see what we mean. The second wine, Lambrusco, is enjoying a bit of a renaissance. It does come in both dry and slightly sweeter versions, but we tend to prefer the dry ones such as those from Cantine Ceci and Lini.  It’s always slightly frizzante, sometimes even bubbly, which is why it is perfect when served cold.  Though often harboring amazing savory tastes as well as dark fruits (cherries come to mind), this wine is still incredibly refreshing. On days like the week New York has just had, you catch us dreaming about a glass right now!