One of the first jazz voices I fell in love with was from the angelic tonality of Norah Jones. At the time, I was heavily into harder music, but her voice drew me in like Homer to the Sirens. I was no secret I loved good country/ blues and bits and pieces of jazz had made it into my collection, but in 2002 when the first Norah Jones album, Come Away With Me, hit the airwaves, I was hooked. She subsequently won Grammy’s for artist of the year and best album that year. I bought every album from then on. As Norah is a brilliant pianist, her latest album have been heavy-handed on the guitar, especially the 2012 release Little Broken Hearts.
I purchased this on vinyl a little while back full well knowing it was going to be not as jazz-based as all her others. On noticed on the cover Little Broken Hearts was produced by Danger Mouse and my ears perked up. It was wasn’t the combination I would have guessed, but after listening to the album over and over, it makes complete sense. This vinyl is more atmospheric and layered than any Norah Jones album prior. Her vocal demeanor is darker and edgier, but she still maintains the tonality I have come to love from her. The double vinyl when played through in its entirety is more pop/ indie sounding. Littler Broken Hearts shows hints of music groups such as Modest Mouse, Jenny Lewis, and Stars, but wrapped in a “girl next door” vibe. Frankly, choosing a wine to drink while listening to this album is more of a challenge then understanding the album itself. Sometimes I feel in the mood to go dark and deep with the wine choice, or light and airy. More often than not, I end up in the red zone and will choose something with layers. That’s is when I call on Charlie Hoppes and his winery, Fidelitas, located in the Red Mountain AVA of Washington State.
Washington is known for making a lot of under $10 wines, and some very high scoring Cabernet Sauvignons. Besides being a beautiful state spanning from the pacific coastline to arid desert area along the Idaho border, the land provides great soils for all different types of grapes. Charlie Hoppes makes a number of different wines under the Fidelitas label, one of my favorites is called the M100. After reviewing the Fidelitas website, I don’t see it on there. I hope they are still making it, but in case they aren’t, my stash is stocked. It is a Bordeaux style Cabernet based blend with grapes sourced from the Columbia Valley. It retails around $12-15 and is well worth it. It is layered with gobs of dark cherry, plummy, chocolate, and raspberry flavors with thinner layers of sage, cedar, and leather sprinkled intermittently in every sip of this wine. Charlie is making a respectable assortment of single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons that are priced higher but worth every penny.
I don’t always choose reds from Washington State, but when I do, I always ask myself why I don’t pop the corks on them more often, just like when I spin a Norah Jones vinyl. Both are amazing and deeply layered with pristine moments of a creativity and joy. If Fidelitas M100 is not made anymore, first off; that’s a shame, and secondly; seek out another Bordeaux style blend from Washington to pair with Little Broken Hearts.