White and Red: Wines to Pair with Early-’00s White Stripes
As Jack White is currently touring the United States and Europe, I feel nostalgic for how his work has shaped alternative music over the past two decades. These wine pairing suggestions will help you enjoy your favorite White Stripes albums even more.
In 2001, we were nearing the end of our garage revival. The White Stripes, featuring Jack and Meg White, are at their peak, still reaping the success of their first two studio albums.
This band quickly became famous for its archetypal rock and roll sound and raw blues melody. Jack White’s passion for finding simple, natural connections in his music fueled their hit 2001 album White Blood Cells. He recounted, with Detroit Metro Timesa similar appreciation for the simplicity of number three and a special connection to this project, especially since this is the band’s third album together:
“I think it’s just perfection — like Holy Trinity… or song structure. It just seems like a perfect connection. Features vocals, drums and guitar. “
We are starting this musical journey with Albariño, and if I were to simplify this classic, sour white to three descriptive words, they would be: salty, pale with honey and heavy with attitude. Here’s what we got with this first part of the album: Albariño will hit you as fast as “Hotel Yorba” and as strong as “Fell In Love”.
This middle piece of white blood cells is especially difficult to pair — I couldn’t choose between Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. For slower tracks like “Union Forever” and “Offend in Every Way”, Pinot Blanc pairs perfectly with fresh peaches and ripe peaches.
But considering the style spectrum of Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio), this is the wine I chose. You’ll find similar peach notes with possibly complementary flavors of cantaloupe and lemon zest. I recommend choosing a simple Italian style, something smooth to go with the consistent rhythms of “Little Room” and the sunny day vibes of “We Are going to be Friends”.
“I Think I Smell a Rat” is finally starting our transition to the red. This song calls for a strong, hateful red, so we’re going to pair it with Tempranillo. I challenge you to skip the classic Rioja for this one and lean more towards the bold Argentinian style with flavors of cocoa, rosemary and lava rock.
Tempranillo is one of those wines that goes well with almost anything and everything, so it worked perfectly for some of the last White Blood Cells songs, which really shows the timing of the recording. the rush of the album and the aura of disorganization that Jack White experienced.
Two years later, the White Stripes kept their original drums and ragamuffin tunes when they recorded Elephant, released in 2003. The album caught the attention of critics in various ways, with Rolling Stone hailed “the majesty of gutbucket” as a victory and Times call it “empty”. Either way, few could disagree that this album was a revolution to the band’s career.
Start by opening the sharp Oregon red mix. You’ll want to go for a lighter style, using white varieties strategically to give the mix a fresh, complex flavor. Fossil & Fawn did this perfectly with their 2020 “Do nothing” mix. It features a classic Pinot Noir complication with Chardonnay and Pinot Gris added for an extra layer of fruit and minerals.
Elephant begins to hurl a slow but steady punch in the face with its iconic “Seven Nations Army”. This song establishes the tone of the first part of the album: consistency, driving rhythms, and layers of sound.
As we tune into Meg White’s smooth vocals on “Cold Cold Night,” the red blend becomes less crunchy and more earthy, while the heat in the throat from the wine parallels the Elephant’s transition to its middle tracks.
Every few years, I get so swept up in an old Jack White song that I swear it’s the best song ever written. Right now, that song is “Ball and Biscuit.” This song, along with the rest in the middle of the album, pairs well with Syrah.
Syrah is a widely grown grape with distinctly different flavors in different countries. Australian Shiraz will be stronger, more aromatic and sweeter. The South American versions will be more fruity and easier to drink. Classic Rhône Syrah is spicy and smoky. However, at this point you’re feeling the music, pair your Syrah accordingly.
I certainly struggled to figure out what to associate with this emotional, chaotic collection of children’s imaginations, but I eventually reached out to spirits. Brandy is technically a type of alcohol but is made from distilled alcohol; so it gets a place in the list.
So pour a glass of Cognac and let the gentle melodies of Holly Golightly’s voice over the new beats of Meg White drown out your sadness.