5@5 - Steven Grubbs
May 16th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, "wine is bottled poetry" - but Steven Grubbs, the Wine Director of Empire State South in Atlanta and Five and Ten in Athens, Georgia, thinks you can (and should) kick up the tempo a little bit every now and then.

Five Wines Paired with Rock 'n' Roll: Steven Grubbs

Empire State South is a Georgia restaurant birthed out of a love for the classics, both old-world and new: vintage wood, various expressions of Southern pork, red Burgundy and ornate German Riesling. You could say it’s trying to nurture old soul in the new big city.

1. Buddy Holly, "Rave On" (1958) and Claude Riffault ‘Les Boucauds’ Sancerre (2009)
"This year everyone went nuts about the 2009's from Europe, and maybe no region on the continent is living up to it like France’s Loire Valley.

As soon you get your nose on the Riffault, you want to make Buddy’s opening noise of ‘WELL-HUH-HEH-UH-ELL." Opulent fruit with loads of minerals, too. Like the volume’s turned up to 12. And soon after, you boogie barefoot on Mom and Dad’s rug.

2. Booker T. & the MG’s, "Green Onions" (1962) and Reuscher-Haart’s Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Mosel Riesling (2009)
"You should fry some sweet onions and have them with Riesling. You really, really should. And when you do it you should wear sunglasses and be super-duper chill.

Maybe make some little shallot rings for your loved one on their birthday? And keep that Piesporter cool but not cold. No need for extremes, man, we’re just feeling."

3. Wilson Pickett, "I’m Down to My Last Heartbreak" (1963) and Robert Sinskey’s Los Carneros Pinot Noir (2008)
"After 'Sideways,' Pinot Noir supplanted Merlot as the easy thing to love, and somehow the side effect was that Pinot got big for its britches. It got cocky, alcohol levels strayed high and there was sweetness without commitment, perfume without personality, makeup without corresponding character.

But, Rob Sinskey makes wine with both slink and backbone. It promises not to do you wrong. It knows you’ve cried so many nights before. It knows you’re down to your last tears, down to one last heartbreak..."

4. Bo Diddley, "Bo Meets the Monster" (1958) and Charles Joguet’s ‘Clos de la Dioterie’ Chinon (2008)
"In this tune Bo claims, 'there was a one-eyed purple people eater lookin at me' - and that monster could be Joguet’s fat Cabernet Franc. The Dioterie vineyard has more heavy clay in it than most of Loire’s Chinon (which equals more weight and roundness in the wine), and it faces northwest (away from the ripening sun - they usually harvest it last).

The result is something unexpected, something grape-y from around the corner. It has muscle, but it has soft spots, too. So good it’s silly."

5. The Rolling Stones, "Under My Thumb" (1966) and Jean-Luc Joillot’s Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune (2008)
"Lean and clean. It’s the moment where you figured out Pinot from Burgundy, figured out what’s great about challenging wine. That it’s not about gushing, it’s about being streamlined and direct. About beating your addiction to baked fruit and coconut oak.

It’s about laying it in on rails, behind the beat, about cool menthol and sweet, sweet tone. You mastered the racing wild cheetah. And what was the key to everything? That there’s power in restraint."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Music • Sip • Think • Wine

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Drunk Dennis Franz

    ...And get off my lawn!!!

    May 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  2. Bernie Mooney

    Ack, the best wine to go with your rock n'roll is the aptly titled "Rock n' Roll Red" by Cereghino-Smith. The Smith is Television bassist, Fred Smith. http://www.cereghinosmith.com/

    May 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  3. Reynaud Messier

    A self-absorbed hipster posting puerile crap is nothing new in the blogosphere, but editors who deem such crap fit for national publication are. Somebody upstairs at CNN isn't keeping an eye on his staff–unless this is what CNN now considers good writing. If so, welcome to the idiocracy. At least you could have saved the poor twerp from embarrassing himself and his restaurant on a national level.

    May 17, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  4. dburns

    fuck the carneros "pinot noir" dipshit, an incredible 'oregon' pinot is much more appropriate. get with the program cracker. ddb, oceanside, oregon.

    May 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  5. Denizen Kate

    Only someone young and very pretentious would correlate wine with rock and roll. Mr. Grubbs, if you must pair these songs with any "refreshments", consider the following:

    1. Buddy Holly's "Rave On" goes with beer. Any kind of cheap, domestic beer will do.
    2. Booker T. & the MG’s, "Green Onions" REQUIRES a vodka martini, preferably with cocktail onions. Duh!
    3. Wilson Pickett's "I’m Down to My Last Heartbreak" calls for Southern Comfort. Period.
    4. Bo Diddley's "Bo Meets the Monster" needs a shot of whiskey, neat. In fact, that goes for anything by Bo Diddley.
    5. The Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb" is not a drinking song. Roll up a spliff of some fine cannabis, light up, and enjoy.

    Live and learn, junior.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  6. Tom King

    "Style over substance" is the poser's credo, perfectly exemplified in Steven Grubbs" inane and pretentious article. If this is the tone you set in your "restaurant," Mr. Grubbs, your venture will be short-lived. Thankfully.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  7. Ken K

    Rock and Roll tastes like Jack Daniel's whiskey, Natty Bo and Boone's Farm Apple Wine. It ain't that snobby.

    May 17, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  8. Ugh

    Steely Dan? Boy do they suck.
    Perfect for pretentious fks who know nothing about music.
    If this offends you, you're one of 'em.
    Bet you like Air Supply too. Don't ya, don't ya?

    May 17, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  9. dustyl

    Also, if you want to get snobby, Wilson Pickett and the Stones (at least pre-67) were R&B artists, not rock and roll. It's a distinction whose context is probably lost today, but it was a big difference back in the 60s, and hipsters in the 60s used to start fights over this.

    May 17, 2011 at 8:58 am |
    • Nancy

      Good point. IF the author knows his wines, he doesn't know his music. Was a stupid article anyway.

      May 17, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  10. Joe

    Whenever I drink wine I always listen to "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by The California Raisins. My favorites are Mad Dog 20/20 and Wild Irish Rose.

    May 17, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  11. dustyl

    Dude, this is about as Rock and Roll as Billie Joel charging 10,000 a plate at some East Hamptons private fundraising event. If you wine snobs want to indulge yourself, that's your business, but I'm a rock snob and this is insulting in its pointlessness and stupidity. Someone said it best when they asked if you were going to start pairing wine with comic books.

    May 17, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  12. Sagebrush Shorty

    Forgot Thunderbird Wine. "What's the word? Thunderbird. What's the price? 30 twice. What's the thrill? another fill."

    May 17, 2011 at 8:10 am |
    • Night Train

      You sir read my mind! Cuddling up to a bottle (s) of Thunderbird and Nighttrain. Say hi to Irish Rose for me!

      May 17, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  13. Tim

    This is the most idiotic thing I've ever read. What is wrong with someone like this, who literally makes their living out of leisure. He clearly is getting too bored with sitting around doing nothing all day. Get a real job and start contributing to society.

    May 17, 2011 at 8:05 am |
  14. Dean

    Lady Gaga and a bottle of Thunderbird.

    May 17, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  15. Johnny

    Jeez...everyone knows it's BEER and Rock 'n' Roll....not wine!

    May 17, 2011 at 7:56 am |
    • dustyl

      Yeah johnny, right on. "One scotch, one whiskey, one beer." – John Lee Hooker

      May 17, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • George Thorogood

      "One bourbon, one scotch & one beeeeer."

      May 17, 2011 at 8:18 am |
      • dustyl

        Oh crap – I can't believe I got the lyrics mixed up! Yeah, Thorogood did a famous cover of this. Actually, my favorite version is Alexis Korner's – he sings it "One scotch, One bourbon & one beeeeeeeer."

        May 17, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  16. daveso

    i doubt any rock and roller, especially those guys, ever drank that kind of wine. what the hell is it ? how bout ripple, annie green springs, mateus was high class, and the eber popular boonesfarm stuff

    May 17, 2011 at 6:42 am |
  17. Andulamb

    Must be great to have a job where you can just make stuff up. How can anyone argue with these pairings? They're meaningless. How about pairing wine with comic books? Or with furniture? Or with insects? The possibilities are endless. And completely random. I'm not into wine, but I seriously doubt that human taste/smell is capable of the degree of perception that wine nerds like to pretend they are. It's fermented grape juice. Have a glass and shut up.

    May 17, 2011 at 3:25 am |
  18. Pat

    I drink wine, live in France and have 4 university degrees and still this crap article gave me a headache. It was so paintful I could not even finish it. Perhaps the author thinks he is clever... I do not.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • Nancy


      May 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Brier Bear

      Degrees are like tools, just because you have one doesn't mean you know how to use it. You are from France and are expected to drink wine. IF you didn't drink so much if it your head would not hurt.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  19. smartgal

    All of you need to get over yourselves. This was just meant to be fun. Do what you love in life, even pairing wine and music. Find something better than always criticizing others. After all ,everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how right or wrong it may be.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • To "Smart" Gal

      Cool the jets Ms. Sassy Pants, follow what you preach. As you said, "Find something better than always criticizing others. After all ,everyone is entitled to their opinion," umm, isn't that exactly what you are doing?

      May 17, 2011 at 4:29 am |
      • smartgal

        I guess some people do not understand subtle humor.

        May 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Sylvia

      SmartGal wins the prize for the lamest comeback yet–as lame as this article.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  20. me

    really. this is the biggest piece of $hi# article ever invented to fill space. why would anybody think this cr@p needs to e published. now i am mad over nothing.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:01 am |
  21. Hipster Nitwit

    Terminal hipsters! Sheesh. Never miss an opportunity to flaunt their misguided "cool." A truly juvenile piece of writing.

    May 17, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  22. Carl

    Makes perfect sense to pair wines with songs, although you may not agree with these choices. Oh well. Que Syrah, Syrah.

    May 17, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • Nancy

      UGH!! Que sera sera! Or did you mean Sirhan Sirhan?

      May 17, 2011 at 9:19 am |
      • kat

        Um, Nancy? "Syrah" is a type of wine, so Carl was making a pun...a rather clever one I might add.

        May 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  23. Winesmith

    I have a few things to share.

    To the skeptical commenters, I'd like to point out that wine is a beverage with the capability to possess incredible complexity and depth of flavor, thanks to the hundreds of flavor compounds and the infinite combinations that can be obtained by their variation within a particular wine. Add to that the texture and the obvious intoxicating effect, and you've got a drink that is not only mind-altering, but physically stimulating and (hopefully) enjoyable. It's not some religious experience, but rather a distinctly human (animal, really) exercise in sensory perception. It's not a soul searching trip in a bottle; it's an indulgence for the senses, to be enjoyed in much the same way one's favorite foods might be, or a velvet blanket, or a pretty painting.

    That said, why not mix enjoyable experiences? That's the whole point of wine pairing with food. Some foods taste better with certain wines, and vice versa. When I'm at the movie theater, I sure as hell want some popcorn and soda. They're just two things that I enjoy together. No particular reason, aside from liking them each, and being able to enjoy them at once. Same goes with wine and a lot of things. While I don't think it's fair (or wise) to objectively say that certain songs should be paired with specific wines, since people can have wildly different emotional and preferential responses to both, I do think it's a neat idea to be open to the idea of experience both together, based on what a person likes. Which leads me to my reaction to the article.

    Personally, I'm a huge Steely Dan and jazz fan. I also make wine professionally in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. I love Pinot (USA and Burgundy alike). So when I get the chance to enjoy a glass (or bottle) of great Pinot while groovin' to some Dan or Davis, I indulge. It's not that Pinot is the best suited wine for those artists (a silly concept that insults individuals), but it's best suited to my individual tastes. Such as what I'm drinking now: Champagne. I love Champagne. I also love the Rolling Stones. Are they a match made in audio-enophile Heaven? Hell if I know, or care. But I like 'em both, so I'm going to go refill my glass and listen to Exile on Main Street.

    May 17, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Barry O, jr.

      Need some help getting off that high horse of yours?

      May 17, 2011 at 12:44 am |
      • Winesmith's dad

        Sorry about my son folks, he is harmless. His mother and I are rather concerned with his fascination with "Sideways." Fact is we give him grape juice and tell him it's some rare/new varietal. You should see the look on his face, how it lights up. The doctor said for now we should indulge him.

        May 17, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Shirley U Jest

      Aye, and a fine smoke to match. Good God, just shoot it in my veins, what is that song. ...Here I go and I don't know why ...like some heroin... I enjoyed your post.

      May 17, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • dustyl

      After (trying) reading this Sack of Wine's comments, I can't help but think what Jack Black's character in "High Fidelity" would say to this.

      May 17, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Steven Gordon

      Winesmith: You are my HERO Sir (or Madam as the case may be). Steely Dan is THE band, the experience! Cheese and wine might pair well with this band...

      May 17, 2011 at 9:32 am |
      • Steven Gordon

        Make that Sir to Winesmith (and very respectably to Winesmith's Dad).

        May 17, 2011 at 9:34 am |
  24. Nancy

    Took 2 readings for me to conclude that I hadn't missed anything and that indeed this article is about nothing. It is the nonsensical musings of a pre-schooler being silly.

    May 17, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  25. Erik-Shanghai

    AS Jed so put it this is all Bull Dung we Loved our SEX-DRUGS and Rock and Roll-we got high and drank San Greia,(spelling) not expensive wines. So you wrote a fairy tale

    May 17, 2011 at 12:02 am |
  26. Angie R.

    How old are you? Wilson Pickett, Buddy Holly, Booker T, the Stones? Yes, they're classics...from half a century ago. Maybe you should save these for the vintages that were their contemporaries.

    May 16, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  27. ZenBirder

    Whatever. The kind of wine that goes best with rock & roll is the kind of wine you like best.

    May 16, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • maddog

      amen zenbirder! "what would janis drink?" anything nearby....

      May 16, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
      • MB2010a

        Janis favorite was Southern Comfort, not any wine...

        May 17, 2011 at 6:03 am |
  28. Joe

    What's next? Pairing cigars and children's programs?

    May 16, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Nancy

      How about serial killers with floral scents? So f$%^king stupid!

      May 17, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  29. Fantod

    This has to be the stupidest story I've read on CNN. The supposed correlation between each wine and a song is completely arbitrary. "Something grape-y from around the corner"? Really? Please! Stop! What the hell does Buddy Holly have to do with wine? To paraphrase this poser's words: "It's so dumb, it's embarrassing."

    May 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Steven Gordon

      EXACTLY! Just what I was thinking!

      Rock and roll is that...rock and roll. Buddy Holly had NO intention of even thinking about having his music "paired with wine".

      May 17, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  30. Jed

    What the hell is this pretentious sh*t!?

    May 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • Erik-Shanghai

      right on home boy this guy is so full of S–T, I saw the stones live once and Mick was downing MAd Dog 20-20 not a Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune , the wine does not go with smack and or coke

      May 17, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • jfdp

      Total s%$t. A more relaxed approach to wine is to be welcomed but this is definitely not it. I'm writing a book on the wines of Sancerre and its environs right now. Claude Riffault's wines are as fine as the finest whites from Burgundy. The only noise I'd want to accompany them is intelligent human conversation, preferably about the wine in question.

      May 17, 2011 at 6:47 am |
  31. JBJingles

    Well, I've read this twice now and still have a hard time comprehending what the heck he is saying. The only thing that made sense (to me) was in #1 "As soon you get your nose on the Riffault". Smelling the cork or wine, now that I get! :)

    May 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Kechiro

      I totally get it. I do chocolate tastings (we borrow some of our vocabulary from wine), and I like this fresh, synesthetic approach to thinking about food. For chocolate I'd pair Claudio Corallo 75% with "Enjoy" by Bjork, Cluizel Los Ancones with "I Feel the Earth Move" by Carole King and Pralus Melissa with "Chances Are" by Johnny Mathis. Food inspires mood just like anything else. Why not pair good food, good wine, with good music and, ultimately, good feelings?

      May 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • RebelSix

      ok, you and most of the detracting comments below show a TOTAL lack of education or experience in expressing food, drink, or anything of culture. The article was pointing out songs famous for the MOOD experienced when those songs were popular. If a song of "PEP" could be compared to a wine that also seemed full of "PEP", it was the MOOD associated. And if he was aging himself, so be it. Before you DIS someone because you are too young, or immature, or inexperienced to understand – try to get some education to fill your major gap in cultural knowledge.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:11 am |
      • Nancy

        I see. Because we disagree with the premise of the discordant comparisons here we are uneducated. Put a cork back in it!

        May 17, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  32. Truth

    Never really did like the film "Sideways"...thought it was kind of overrated...

    May 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Pinot36

      You must be high.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:23 am |
      • AleeD@Pinot36

        Truth "must be high" because he has an opinion that is different from yours? I haven't seen the movie. Does that make me high, too? Then by your rationale, that would make us higher than you. Cool! Then I agree.

        May 17, 2011 at 7:31 am |
      • Jerv@AleeD

        Pass that over this way please.

        May 17, 2011 at 7:39 am |
      • AleeD@Jerv

        The o-ray-gah-no or the rosemary? ;)

        May 17, 2011 at 7:44 am |
      • RichardHead@AleeD & Jerv

        " Roll another one,Just like the other one". :))))

        May 17, 2011 at 7:47 am |
      • Jerv@AleeD

        The o-ray-gah-no! I learned a new maryjane roll technique that I want to try. Man, folks just went nuts on this poor guys wine piece.

        May 17, 2011 at 7:48 am |
      • Wino John

        Oh, all you pinot snobs that started drinking the stuff after sideways have all been punked on such a colossal level I cannot even begin to tell you how hard I'm laughing at you. Miles, who spends that whole movie trashing pinot and cab franc is the vehicle, the punch line is that his most precious bottle, the '61 Ch. Cheval Blanc, is merlot and cab franc. Because of all the idiots who don't know enough about wine to get the joke, Cali pinot is expensive crap for the most part, and merlot sales have plummeted. It's pretty sad actually.

        May 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
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