Monday, August 24, 2009


“Give me a Leonard Cohen afterlife/So I can sigh eternally” – Nirvana, Pennyroyal Tea.

I wanted to take a detour for this week’s Wine & Music Monday, because, for those of you who don’t know me, I love pretty much all kinds of music (except for newer Country music, which on the whole, I don’t get a lot of anything other than glossed-over production and ridiculous lyrics). I have been a big jazz fan for decades thanks in part to my father’s affinity for it, and of course, I am a big time Metal head. But one thing I picked up on late in life was the incredible lyricism and smoky voice of Leonard Cohen.

The first time I heard it was from the movie “Pump Up the Volume” in 1990. The song “Everybody Knows” was played in its original form, as well as at the end, covered by one of my favorite bands in the Nineties, Concrete Blonde. But it wasn’t until much later, that I really listened to his stuff, discovering that not only is he a revered singer/songwriter, but a well-respected poet (not really all that much of a stretch).

One of my favorite songs is something called “The Future,” a very bleak look at what lies ahead, as well as “I’m Your Man” (the title of a recently produced documentary about his life and music) and “Dance Me To The End of The World” (which was covered beautifully by Madelaine Peyroux. Of course, the most amazing song he has written is “Hallelujah” (masterfully covered by the late Jeff Buckley). His lyrics speak frankly about the reality of loving passionately, and sometimes tragically.

Take a listen to Leonard’s version here:

I sat around this weekend, thinking quietly about if Leonard Cohen were a wine, what could it be? An odd thing to think about, but if you knew me, you wouldn’t be too surprised. I wanted to match his voice, which sounds weathered and wise, with something old world, something French perhaps. I came across some tasting notes for a Pio Cesare Barbaresco 1986, a wine I had opened for watching the WEBN Fireworks on T.V. a few years back with some friends. I remember one of my wife’s co-workers had never drank red wine before, and she wasn’t sure she was going to like it. What a way to ruin a person right? I mean, 1986 was not the best vintage for Barbaresco, yet this wine, which at the time, was about 15 years old, was supple, silky and velvety across the palate. There was a lot of red berry fruit and a hint of baking spice in the nose. It had a warming, round mouthfeel, and the finish was quite nice. It was a shocker to taste what should have been an inferior bottle of wine, yet it made sitting around on the couch, long-distance spectators to a really exciting, social event all the more pleasurable. Likewise, Leonard Cohen’s music fills your ears and soul with a comfortable encounter that is both awe-inspiring, and reflective. Check out more of Leonard Cohen’s music at

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