Watch this video to follow my experiment pairing two wines to Fauré’s Piano Quartet No.1, one of the most celebrated chamber works of late-nineteenth-century France. To accompany Fauré’s characteristic reserve and the constrained nobility of his expression, I chose two well-balanced wines with traditional tasting profiles for their respective types. Why pair music with wine? I believe that focused attention to specific aspects of the listening and wine tasting experience can be doubly rewarding. What we listen to affects how we taste, and what we drink effects how we listen. [Pairing notes and video courtesy of Alexander Stalarow.]
The first wine, a chardonnay from the Mâcon subregion of Burgundy, is a perfect opening to any tasting event. Its balanced mixture of complex fruit flavors with a clean brightness from the citrus accents accompanies both the dramatic opulence of Fauré’s opening Allegro and the playful Scherzo that follows.
For the Adagio, the dramatic center of the work and its energetic finale, I try out a Rhône style red blend from Paso Robles. Here the deep purple hue and rich dark-fruit flavors are countered with pepper notes, tempering the wine’s boldness and fruitiness. This balanced richness helps endear oneself to Fauré’s Adagio, a serene and perhaps even mournful movement with long, melodic phrases. One of my favorite moments of this experiment was remarking on how the long extended phrases in Fauré’s Adagio seemed to draw out and extend the lingering finish of my Rhône blend. [Pro Tip: Add some cheese and crackers to the mix for maximum Rhône blend appreciation.]