Want to drink like a rock star? Grab a bottle of cheap whisky.
Want a drink inspired by rock stars? That gets a little more complicated. Just ask Katrina Frew, general manager at Whistler's Longhorn Saloon. When she began planning the bar's annual Cornucopia costume party this year, she set out in search of an ice wine inspired by the Rolling Stones that she had come across during a wine tasting in the B.C. interior. Instead, Frew stumbled upon Wines That Rock, a line of blends created by an American rock fan based on songs by his favourite bands.
"(The winemaker) has chosen varietals and flavours based on how heavy or mellow the music is and really drawn his creative and pairing forces to pay tribute to the rock stars, which is really cool," Frew says. "The Longhorn (has) been a rock icon for Whistler for over 30 years now and this theme totally fits."
The rock 'n' roll wines, along with The Dreaming Tree Crush by smooth rocker Dave Matthews, will be featured at the Longhorn Saloon's Rock of the Ages party Nov. 10 starting at 9 p.m. The event will pull double duty as a wine tasting and a costume party, with revellers encouraged to dress up like musicians from their favourite era in music. (Expect a lot of tie-dye, tight jeans and plaid.)
"It sells out every year," Frew adds. "It's a totally affordable option for anyone to come party at Cornucopia."
Here's a look at some of the rockin' wines and the music that influenced them.
Rolling Stones' Forty Licks Merlot
Spanning the band's four decade career, Forty Licks is an epic retrospective filled with songs that make up the very foundation of rock 'n' roll. "It's really a statement of timeless classic rock," winemaker Mark Beaman says in his notes on the wine. "Merlot is a variety that captures that in a sense as well... I wanted to capture the essence or the attitude of the variety grown here in Mendocino County."
Based on the box set Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Music released for the 25th anniversary of the fabled festival (not its doomed 1999 follow-up) this chardonnay plays on the "mixture of music. There's soul, rock and roll and psychedelic that's going on — a little bit of everything," Beaman says. "I get a lot of Asian pear apple flavours out of this, certainly some tropical fruits in there as well as some great acid on the finish of this wine."
Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet Sauvignon
Recognized as much for its production value as its unlikely avant-garde rock hits, the record endures as one of the most beloved in the classic rock cannon. "There (are) going to be other things that you probably never recognized before that are in this wine because it's so jam-packed with complexity, like the album it can transport you to other places," Beaman says.
The Police's Synchronicity
The album's theme of light and dark — exemplified in the creepy pop hit "Every Breath You Take" — was the main influence on this red wine blend, Beaman says. According to the tasting notes, this tribute to the Police's swan song contains everything from rose petal aromas to strawberry and raspberry flavours.
Grateful Dead Red Blend
Based on the improvisational vibe permeating the band's live double disc, Steal Your Face, Beaman decided to "meld several varieties into one. Just as the band members would segue through various musical styles, the wines far reaching flavours melt seamlessly from one to the next."
Dreaming Tree Crush wine
Dave Matthews collaborated with winemaker Steve Reeder to create this blended red that "pulls you in with notes of smoky berry and a pop of raspberry jam," Reeder explains in a release.
The craggy-voiced singer says it was so good he decided to forgo traditional wine tasting etiquette.
"I swallowed before I put the glass down," Matthews says. "There wasn't any opportunity to spit."