The Velvet Bite
I’m going to buy this wine...because I just think it’s terribly cool that a winery would honor one of the greatest jazz vocalists in the history of the genre. (Have you ever heard Ella sing "mack the knife"?!!?)
However, I’m probably not going to drink this Domaine Carneros Sparkling Wine while listening to any jazz, including Ella.
I’ve long believed that even given the range and the diversity of the Jazz genre, the absolutely most appropriate drink to accompany Jazz is something that attacks the senses, throat, palate and body with a Velvet Bite.
No pure wine I’ve ever consumed possesses this quality.
By "Velvet Bite" I mean, first, that sensation of a subtle sting that warms just as the sting diminishes when the liquid is poured over your palate. You need to feel the relief of the alcohol sting diminishing just as the alcohol also begins to warm the throat and stomach.
There must be a soft clamping down on the palate that does not linger, but also is not escapable. The sensation alerts the senses in a momentary shock like no wine can do, yet fades away, relinquishing its bite in favor of alertness and warmth.
This state, I think, is best suited for listening to Jazz.
Bourbon, Whiskey, Scotch and even cognac and armagnac are the proper drinks to pair with Jazz; best suited to provide a velvet bite.
Further, I believe the full affect of pairing the Velvet Bite with Jazz occurs when a shot of any of the above beverages is taken in advance of sipping on a second round of the same. And, how this shot is performed can affect the pleasure of the pairing even more if done right.
The shot, while it should be taken in all at once, should not be targeted at the throat so that it slips down past the palate with minimal contact. On the other hand, taking time to swish the beverage around the palate will also ruin the experience. Rather, the throat should be half to 3/4s closed when the shot enters the mouth. The partially closed throat will promote a slow movement of the bourbon over the palate, followed in quick order by it slowly sliding down the gullet. The technique delivers the bite, but does not sear the palate. And at the same time, a decent amount of alcohol enters the body and the blood stream in relatively quick fashion.
Yes, I’m suggesting that Jazz is best appreciated with a slight buzz.
Not a "drunk". But a warm, comfortable, smirk inducing buzz.
It should be noted that after the initial shot of our preferred beverage, the second round can be sipped, and probably enjoyed even more due to the palate, body and mind having been properly prepared by the initial shot.
Wine is simply too week to stand up to the challenging nature of jazz; the subtle, complex and sometimes jolting nature of jazz rhythms require the body to be properly prepared with an anesthesia that both weakens one’s grip on convention, yet provides a bite.
Thus, Jazz is best paired with beverage.