Cabernet Sauvignon is a straightforward grape. It is easy to recognise and easy to love. Red wine based on Cabernet tastes remarkably similar, no matter where it is planted. One could argue it is even a bit boring. It doesn’t possess the mysterious qualities of Pinot Noir or the wildness of Syrah. Cabernet is more of a husband than a lover, always there when you need it, always giving you exactly what you need. Or is there more? Why do so many people love Cabernet Sauvignon if its only true charm is reliability?
There is a hidden, darker side of course. Cabernet is a jealous lover, it suffers a bit from Borderline syndrome. It doesn’t tolerate competition and it demands full and unconditional attention. Once planted it will overgrow all indigenous grapes, once blended it will overpower all other flavours, and once tasted it will stay with you forever. King Cab is a ruthless conqueror who doesn’t need force to conquer and rule. Like a charming aristocrat It gently gets under your skin. You love and adore it without even realising. You will never leave it because you don’t know you’re under its spell.
So what comes close in music? Music of a gentle, aristocratic and perversely reliable quality. Rock music in its purest form. No Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin. All too much sex in songs and stage presence. Definitely no Bon Jovi, Europe, Kiss, Guns ‘n Roses or other representatives of Stadium Rock. Too linear and simplistic. Cabernet resembles Rock music of a deceptively straightforward kind. Music that millions love, even though it has a subversive undertone that no ones seems to see.
I would go for artists and songs like:
Neil Young – Cortez the Killer. Maybe not the most obvious musician. Neil Young isn’t exactly music for millions. But the song sucks you in, it gently gets under your skin, until you love it without even knowing why. And Cortez was not only a killer, but also a conqueror.
Queen – Killer Queen. Everybody loves Queen. The band is responsible for an endless series of killer tracks that everybody can sing. However, the sexual innuendo is everywhere, but so carefully hidden that hardly anyone notices.
Leonard Cohen – Tower of Song. No better example of an aristocrat artist than Leonard Cohen. A ladies man, obviously, but of the very very subtle kind.
U2 – The unforgettable Fire. Mid to end 80’s U2 were majestic, almost god like. Bono wasn’t trying to save the world and the band just produced über-romantic killer tracks like this one.
George Harrison – My Sweet Lord. The only Beatle who you could imagine standing on the porch of his estate, overseeing his land. A true lord.