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Sing with me

I heard a songwriter say that when he writes music, he’s writing life.

I believe the same about wine. When you learn about wine, you learn about life.

Music has always been part of my life. I never played an instrument but did participate in the high school choir — which I really enjoyed because of the sounds I was hearing — the melodies and harmonies. I had one really big problem — I couldn’t read music.

It was obvious that when the note went up on the scale, one’s vocal sound was to go up, too. But how far and what sound? My solution was to hear it one time and then I could sing it. Suddenly a whole new “life” opened up for me.

On the first day of school, our high school choir began practicing “The Little Drummer Boy,” and we were told the choir was going to sing it at the Christmas program. We sounded alright but obviously we weren’t the Harry Simeone Chorale. As the bass section produced the drum sound, the rest of our choir did its vocals the best they could and I thought we sounded pretty darn good.

One week before the Christmas program, the choir director made the announcement the song wouldn’t be part our presentation because it didn’t sound right to him. It stung all of us. Thank you, Mr. Christensen! Can you tell I have certain feelings about that moment?

There’s so much to enjoy about music and its effect on our lives. We dance to it, sing along with it, write it, play it and live our lives through and with it. It brings happiness, a sense of belonging and is a release for some of us. In the way music reveals life to us, wine does the same thing.

Let’s get something straight right now. I’m not talking about what the alcoholic content of wine will do to you if you over imbibe. I never encourage that type of living. However, when I say that through wine, one can learn about life, here’s what I mean.

Becoming educated about wine tells you something about the countries of the world, their wine regions, the prevailing weather, rainfall, wind speed, the amount of sun, the type of soil and the people there. The life of the region is revealed through its grapes and its resulting wines.

Likewise, becoming educated about songs tells you something about the part of the country that produced it, the social aspect of the area, the trials and joys of the area, the message of the song/songwriter and, the melody brings the song to life.

There’s a song by Alter Bridge called “Watch Over You,” and it’s kind of a love song about what/who will watch over his loved ones when he’s gone. The answer is … love. Similarly a good wine will help you through stressful times and you can rely on Edna Valley’s Pinot Grigio to calm and soothe your anxieties with its nice soft grapefruit flavor, its touch of acidity and sweet finish. It will watch over you and do so gently.

I just came from a family gathering and our grandsons were with us. As I sipped a glass of Storypoint Cabernet Sauvignon, one of them asked me to tell him a story. I was reminded of the song “Grandpa, Tell Me About The Good Old Days” and, aided by the luscious blackberry and vanilla taste of the wine, I told him stories of growing up on the farm. Those “good old days” when life was easy?

For some reason, a nice Pinot Noir is never far from my mind and Willie Nelson’s “You Were Always On My Mind” helps bring the wine to reality. I like Beringer’s Pinot Noir with its nudges of black cherry and a surprise of spice. It’s well rated and never far from my mind.

As I watched Ken Burn’s country music documentary, the song “May The Circle Be Unbroken” was played and sung by a number of artists. I like to think our circle of life continues through our legacy and binds together the many differences in our lives. In the same way, Ava Grace’s Red Blend brings together a number of grapes to produce a wine filled with tastes and flavors of raspberry, vanilla and even a touch of honey. May the bottle never be broken before the contents are enjoyed!

Classical music is hard to relate to a specific wine because it’s so precise and hard for me to understand with my limited musical knowledge. However, any wine available goes with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony — a musical piece filled with drama, peace, heaviness and beauty. Just give me a glass of anything and leave me alone!

What would I sip while listening to “The Little Drummer Boy?” Because of my feelings for a certain music teacher, it better be something with lots of taste like a dram of Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey! It will help me sing and life will be good.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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