see nerd) blog — unforgivable

Music reviews too often ignore the wine to be drunk when listening. Having just returned from a tour of Scottish vineyards, I found myself asked to review Armin van Buuren and Jaren’s EP Unforgivable, so I’ve taken this opportunity to repair the omission. Ok, so I was asked by spam, but WTF… .

There’s a complication. There are many versions of this EP. Most share tracks. I suspect it’s a mix album under construction, given mixes keep appearing. No doubt those noted will gain siblings. C’est la vin.

Unforgivable (Extended Mix) is a fruity white with a dark edge. The words provide the jealous darkness on smooth trance, perhaps a Gewurztraminer. But the music’s sweet sense is false security, the harmonies add their own blood glamour. This is a wine with acidity, one opened too young. Last year’s Gewurztraminer from the MacLeod vineyard in Ullapool is a good choice.

The First State Rough Mix is a powerful piece with broken edges. The first ninety seconds take you far away, then the music lets you down. It’s far too young … but the track name says this, so it’s no problem. This is a youthful red that needs to be drunk now because it won’t age well. That describes a tourist plonk, so I’ve chosen the Bonnie Prince Charlie, a beaujolais style red from the Flora MacDonald vineyard on Skye.

The First State Smooth Mix looks a light red, but one taste and you discover substantial body, a good combination of interesting flavours. The mix works a treat, so the wine should too. The obvious choice is Papa’s Number Nine from Rifkind’s Edinburgh vineyard, a solid Rhone Valley style red that delivers. As they have great fun pointing out, it isn’t Chateauneuf du Pape, but it’s just as tasty, and just as available in Aldi.

The Stoneface & Terminal Dub Mix starts corked, then drags, before recovering pace. Once the music gets going, it works well. Do sequencers have mornings after the night before? Anyway, this piece needs a session wine. The mix has dark character, but the session drink must be weak enough for all night drinking without knocking you over. I suggest a light white, the Pinot Gringo from the new Gorbals vineyard run by the Mexican immigrant and vinter extraordinaire, Plutarco Calles.

The EP finishes with the Stoneface & Terminal Vocal Mix, & I’ve had four bottles of good wine. Unsurprisingly, I’m drunk. The music quickly takes me into a trance, despite tripping over shoelaces. The wine for the mix is too good to be drunk when drunk, but ,WTF, the music deserves it. I’ve chosen Sinclair’s C5, a Côte du Rhone style red from Scotland’s most northerly mainland vineyard in Wick.

The EP isn’t something you’ll reminisce over in your seventies, but it’s worthy of good bottle. If you can’t get a difficult-to-find Scottish wine, and want a good choice, try that Aldi young Chateauneuf du Pape. It’s a good red and a good excuse.