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.]

Total Time:


1. Allegro molto moderato
2. Scherzo, Allegro vivo:

Mâcon-Uchizy (2016) by Gerald Talmard (Burgundy, France) 100% Chardonnay

3. Adagio
4. Allegro molto

Sun Worshiper (2015) by Alta Colina (Central Coast, CA) Blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre  


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.]

Pairing Notes

Two conflicting visions of this work (especially its Adagio) and its possible connection to Fauré’s romantic troubles pervade the historical record. One was perhaps best expressed by pianist Marguerite Long, an important early interpreter of Fauré’s works, who understood the Adagio as a deep expression of sorrow over Fauré’s broken engagement with Marianne Viardot. (Long once claimed that she could hardly hold back her tears while playing the Adagio at the Société Nationale de Musique.) Meanwhile, the prominent music critic—and Fauré’s good friend—Émile Vuillermoz thought such a sentimental interpretation to be unwarranted. He wrote: “Fauré’s reserve always prevented him from following the example of Romantic artists who allowed the whole world to witness their personal frustrations.” Perhaps it's this very reserve, even in times of mournful reflexion, that makes Fauré’s Op. 15 a fitting work for our shelter and confinement.

Leave us a comment

Hopefully you've had a great time with this pairing. We'd love to hear about it!
Thanks for your comment!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Some of our newest pairings...

Support UNAAboutEvents