I’ve never been a big fan of the south. It’s just a little too hot and humid for my warm blood. Fortunately, good things tend to travel like wild fires. Some of the best foods in the world like the slow and low culture have really found a home away from home in the north over the past few years. Music also travels. From jazz and blues, to back country twang, it all started in the south. One of my newly acquired favorite vinyls is one called Boys and Girls, by Alabama Shakes from Athens, Alabama.
Like many things from the south, the Shakes, have an original sound. The Shakes meld together styles of music like the blues, roots rock, and country-style R & B, with a sassy sultry attitude. A young band, they formed in 2009, Brittney Howard and current bassist formed a group in high school and began playing together with songs by Led Zepplin, AC/DC, and James Brown; a strong foreshadowing of what was to come on their first full length record Boys and Girls, which has now gone gold selling over 500,000 copies worldwide. Since I bought this vinyl in the late summer, it gets played in regular rotation on my turn table. Brittney’s box microphone/ Janis Joplin-like vocals can catch the soul and keep you hanging on to every note. Her passion for singing is clearly evident and will be heard for years to come.
I like drinking chardonnay while listening to Boys and Girls, especially one with a kick of fresh zippiness to it. What do I mean by that? I like chardonnays to have crisp acidity and aren’t necessarily unoaked. A fairly easy one to find and has the fresh notes a chardonnay should have is Benziger Sonoma County Chardonnay. Like Alabama Shakes, Benziger has an organic soul and grows their grapes with biodynamic farming methods. They are located in the bowl of a dormant volcano and believe in giving back to the earth. When I visited the vineyard a few years back, it was pretty evident that the Benziger family takes a lot of pride in the way that they farm. I am personally am not sold for or against organic farming, I just believe in good wines, and like the Shakes, Benziger makes a great product.
The raw, organic, and passionate feeling exuded from Alabama Shakes makes a great compliment with a wine like the Benziger Sonoma County Chardonnay. Tasting a grape like a chardonnay the way it is supposed to be had, without adulteration, gobs of oak wood, and overdone malolactic fermentation, is awakening to the soul and palate. Sure, there are many wines that would go well with Boys and Girls, but if you are looking for a perfect complement, just ask for Benziger.