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  • Writer's pictureCláudio Giordano

Wine and its Music

Le Vin & Sa Musique, Harmonies bordelaises — The Wine & Its Music, harmonies from Bordeaux —, by Ylan Schwartz, is an unusual, if not surreal, book. But it is undeniably a blatant demonstration of the ability of the human imagination to materialize (or at least try to) the imponderable: in it the author presents the (alleged) music of more than seventy miles.

Here's how Ylan exposes her work:

The idea of establishing a bridge between wine and music came to me in 1985.

I contacted Grands Crus producers and asked them for a dozen milesimes that I had selected. I then proposed to colleagues from the Dégustateurs du Grand Jury group to analyze the wines blindly, using the wine reading method that I had established.

Having made this selection, I looked for the musical profile that could match the personality of these wines, more or less as if writing a cooking recipe: a pinch of Haydn, the energy of Beethoven, the depth of Schubert and a few touches of Mozart's solar clarity.

I then defined some equivalences between the taste dominants and the sound dominants:

• the cabernet sauvignon and the violin

• the cabernet franc and the viola

• the merlot and the cello

Armed with these “recipes”, I listened to dozens of works until I found the one that most closely expressed the personality of the wine. Finally, I tried to express in writing my impressions of both the wine and His music.

To complete the work, it remained for me to marry the two texts. Thus this book was born.

My purpose was to make the reader confront the whirlwind of his senses in such a way that he will have the sensation of going from colors to flavors, and from sounds to perfumes, as if he were committed to tasting Wine and Its Music at the same time.

Here are two samples of Ylan's eno-musical inspiration.

Château Pichon Longueville - Comtesse de Lalande 83

Felix Mendelsshon-Bartholdy: String Quartet No. 1, in D major, opus 4, 1st movement..

Deep pomegranate color and luminous, the velvety garment of this very young wine foreshadows charm and vivacity, such is the rapture of this first movement quickly led by the first violin.

Young and fresh, the “nose” has a beautiful nobility of bearing, very feminine. Intense and strong, it offers aromas of wild flowers in a wonderful violet finish. The grace, elegance, liveliness of the musical theme respond harmoniously to this floral and refined impression.

On the palate, the attack is lively, frank, firm and muscular like a dancer, finding a wonderful echo in the rapture of all the strings.

The terrible summer of 1983, when the elements unleashed, gave birth to this young and intrepid knight, restless and passionate.

The soft flavors of wildflowers, the refined and deliciously scented bouquet suggest a superb velvet woven of fragrant flowers, with magnificent effluvia of violet intertwined in the meshes.

Like this agile, young, romantic and graceful music, the palate gives evidence of a sensual femininity, rich in expression, elegant, quite mysterious and decisive.

This milesime 83 is the romanticism of the feminine, superbly expressed by the timbre and passion of the violin.

Domaine de Chevalier 81

Grand cru classé

Sergei Rachmaninov:

Etudes no. 2 in A minor, Op. 33.

This young and haughty nature, with a slender and well-shaped build, is still full of itself.

While the piano, serenely, churns out an ethereal, crystalline and transparent music, she presents a garment of pale lemon fabric, trimmed in pale green gold.

Quite reserved, yet avaricious of expression, she jealously hides the heart of her aromatic personality, while the music, growing, takes up more space and more intensely animates. Its character, however, is so rich and so complete that some perfumes nevertheless manage to open their complex and noble grip, accompanied by a sudden effervescence of music that emerges like a hilltop.

Romantic with ferns and an atmosphere of undergrowth, supported by the return to the reserve of the musical space, she begins to dream about the past, exhaling essences of exotic fruits and vanilla.

Frank and direct on the palate, it displays a still uncompromising nature, supported by musical effervescence.

But, under this youthful firmness, tenderness and above all nobility can be revealed, which the piano, taking up the melody of the opening, highlights in a serene and soft ending, full of fluidity.

If at the moment pleasure is satisfied with freshness and vivacity, his strong personality augurs great joys in the very near future.

*Translated by Google Translate.

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