Of all winegrapes Pinot Noir is the easiest and the most difficult to pair with music. Easy because Pinot can be so many things, difficult because it is hard to grasp the essence of the grape. In ‘Grapes & Wines’ Oz Clarke writes about Pinot Noir:

“Is it pale, ethereal, with a scent as sweet and wistful as half-forgotten childhood summer memories hovering over the glass? Is it sensual or heady, swirling with the intoxicating excitement of the super-ripe cherries and strawberries and blackberries of the gardens of Paradise? Is it muscular, glowering, dark as blood, bittersweet as black cherries and liquorice and yet even within this brutish cave, invaded with an insidious, exotic scent? Is it any of these?”

So what is its essence? No one probably knows exactly but combining terms like feminine, mysterious, sensual and complex at least leads to a playing field, a magic set of parameters to judge music and compare artists. So sorry guys, Bob Dylan doesn’t really fit the bill. Complex and mysterious enough, but sensual and feminine? Don’t think so.

Who should be considered then? First and foremost female artists like Nico, PJ Harvey and Björk. All bring a timeless, not always easy to understand, off the beaten track beauty, full of mystery. That was easy enough. Being a feminine grape, Pinot Noir can easily be associated with female artists. Where to look for male equivalents? I suggest to go where life is complex, the approach intellectual, but the result nevertheless sensual. Like loving the alien. Early Roxy Music and selected picks from Radiohead’s discography should do the trick, and get you intoxicated rather than drunk.