By Allison Elder
A fun way to plan a pairing party and generate interesting conversation and musical comparisons is to feature artists who have recorded in different musical styles - and compare which sound or style you enjoy more and which music pairs most effectively with the wine choices you are trying. One great choice is to listen to a few recent recordings by Diana Krall. Her latest is "From This Moment On." It has a smooth, sultry and jazzy mood and makes an easy and enjoyable listen. Diana does a number of standards, some lesser known, on this very solid album, and she's joined by some fabulous musicians - the Clayton /Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. "The Girl in the Other Room" is quite a different record - jazzy, but almost more pop - an edgier and less traditional style with some original compositions by her husband, fellow musician Elvis Costello. Finally, you might try giving Sting a fresh listen. His greatest hits effort features familiar and well-loved tunes from 1984-1994, but his brand new effort, "Songs from the Labyrinth" is really something quite different. Sting has spent the last few years working with the music of the famed English songwriter John Dowland (circa 1600) and has been working on learning to play the lute. This melodic medieval music is really intriguing - yet delivered by Sting, somehow it seems almost familiar. Serve a bowl of grapes, some hard cheese, and perhaps some sliced summer sausage along with a baguette from the grocery and you're ready to go. Just add the wine and you'll enjoy an interesting evening of debating the various choices and combinations. For this warm and thoughtful music, we suggest Merlot for those that favor red wine and Sauvignon or Fume Blanc for those who prefer white wines. See which combination you and your guests prefer between the wines and the musical choices, and let us know your results by visiting our blog page.
Wines: Franciscan Merlot (Red); Wente Crane Ridge Reserve Merlot (Red); Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc (White); Simi Sauvignon Blanc (White)
Music: 1) Diana Krall - "From This Moment On" and "The Girl in the Other Room" 2) Sting - "Songs from the Labyrinth" and "Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984 - 1994."
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