We here at Five Senses Tastings often get asked what our creative process is for pairing music and wine. While we understand that, just like wine and food pairing sometimes, it is subjective, we hope that this series of “pairing essays” might give you a little more insight into how we do what we do.
One of the very first pairings that we ever worked with was Poulenc chansons paired with Beaujolais-Villages – what amazingly good fit! I’ve made a point of singing quite a bit of Poulenc throughout my musical career and to find such a great pairing was a real treat!
When I think of this combination, I think specifically of Côte-de-Brouilly and Poulenc's Banalités. (Even more to the point, I think of the song Hôtel).
Hôtel, for example, epitomizes the languorous, sensuous quality that Poulenc often employed in his chansons. This song evokes a slow sunny day, where the speaker just wants to indulge in smoking and lying around, rather than working. Though there is a beautiful simplicity at the surface, the complexity in the poetry and harmonic language comes through the more the listener delves into it.
Likewise, Beaujolais often has that devious simplicity going for it. Any red wine from Beaujolais will be made from the Gamay grape. In the form of Beaujolais Nouveau, Gamay is light, fun, fruity and fresh, yet still a bit sexy. When you move into more specific Villages appellations, like Brouilly, with distinctive soils and climates that add more character to the wine, you get a different Gamay entirely. This is when you encounter the underlying complexity. Additionally, the silkiness of Gamay gives a sexiness that harkens back to the languidity of the Banalités.