The first time I purchased Bohemian Highway Chardonnay was just after a long windy drive down the actual “Bohemian Highway” while en route to Cazadero, CA. After such a memorable and scenic route, I immediately noticed the artwork and label name on the wine bottle during a stop at a local wine retailer called Sophie's Cellars. I especially liked the price point ($8.99 though I've now seen it as low as $5.99) and decided to give a few bottles a try.
As per recent studies published on wine, music has been proven to similarly enhance the experience of wine. I generally find the “mood” of the track is easier to pair than the lyrics. After discovering that Vetiver's music and this chardonnay are a great match from a mood perspective, I was excited to find that the song “Blue Driver” lyrically exemplifies the concept of a nice relaxing drive on the “Bohemian” highway.
“Foot upon on the throttle, watching the old slow road, looking out the rear view mirror, for the highway patrol“- “Blue Driver” song lyric
The track is a bluesy fun filled tune with acoustic guitars and a relaxed tempo. As much as this song compliments the taste of the chardonnay itself, the addition of lyrics about highway driving in tandem with the imagery of the label is a nice coupling that adds to the experience and in my book makes for an unforgettable Wine and Music pairing.
Wine: Bohemian Highway Chardonnay
Wine Year: 2005
Wine Style: Chardonnay
Wine Region: Northern California, Russian River
Wine Label: Bohemian Highway
Wine Link: http://www.snooth.com/wine/bohemian-highway-chardonnay-2005-5/
Wine Description: This lightly-oaked Chardonnay is marketed as the “embodiment of the casual, free-flowing spirit you'll find along the way when driving the Bohemian Highway“. The wine is great for summer and is clean and crisp and full of fresh apple and pear flavors. I have shared a few bottles with a salmon dinner and some friends, and on another occasion with a picnic lunch hike and it was perfectly suited for either occasion. I was not as impressed with the merlot from Bohemian Highway, so would steer interested parties toward their Chardonnay.
Music Year: 2008 (May)
Music Style: Folk
Music Region: San Francisco, CA
Music Label: Gnomonsong
Music Link: http://www.midheaven.com/artists/vetiver.html
Music Description: Vetiver is guitarist and songwriter Andy Cabic and a host of his instrumentally savvy friends and touring buddies. Vetiver's most recent album “Thing of the Past” is comprised entirely of cover versions of some of the band's influences and favorite songs.
I've had the pleasure of seeing Vetiver perform live on a number of occasions and they are always a treat. They have been releasing albums since 2005, which is the year of the Bohemian Chardonnay included in this pairing. As the band is from San Francisco, comparisons to The Grateful Dead and other psychedelic folk/Americana bands are often used. I do agree with these comparisons, but find that Vetiver has its own unique and desirable angle - one that is especially evident in songs such as the one posted here.
In line with the relaxing, uncorked layed back mentality of the Bohemian Highway, it's worth noting that - “Blue Driver” was originally written and performed by Michael Hurley, a folk legend from the late 70's who has recorded records in many different parts of the country, including California. Although Hurley has never gained a large audience, critics, musicians, and loyal followers have all sung his praises. Hurley's music is a known influence for popular acts including Lucinda Williams, Smog, Yo La Tengo, and Cat Power. Hurley sings with Vetiver during the chorus of the song included with this post, and is the voice of the police man at the very end of the track. Fun stuff – check out Michael Hurley singing his own version of the track here.
Vetiver - Blue Driver - blue_driver.mp3
Adam Rabinovitz is Senior Director of Retail Marketing at IODA, the global leader in digital distribution, marketing, and technology solutions for the independent music industry. IODA distributes music from over 4000 labels, representing over 50 different countries and over 170 different genre styles.