Wines to Drink With Angela Merkel and JAY-Z

Diplomacy and hip-hop are two things that should always be celebrated. Let’s get into some wines for both occasions.

Angela Merkel

Angela don’t take no shit. Germany’s Chancellor held the task of hosting the G20 Summit in her hometown of Hamburg last week. It’s where the world’s most powerful leaders come together to address pressing issues facing humanity…and witness the carnival sideshow that is Donald Trump.

Chancellor Merkel, 1 of only 2 women participants in this year’s summit, isn’t shy about expressing displeasure. She rolls her eyes when things are “man-splained” and reminds the world how dumb it is to not invest in climate protection.

So what do you (politely) slam on the table when seated next to Angela Merkel? If not a beer stein filled with Bavarian ale, you go with a classic bottle of Gewürztraminer. Gewürztraminer is an aromatic grape where lychee, pineapple, and apricot are the common, dominant flavors. The grape’s proverbial roots are German but it has thrived among the foothills of the Alps, particularly within France and Italy.

Let’s aim for Domaine Zind-Humbrecht’s 2014 vintage of this cold-climate wine. The winery is located in Alsace, technically in France, but the region sits right along the border with Germany. Gewürztraminer is also one of Alsace’s four noble varieties produced, which means you’re definitely getting the best version of the grape in this terroir.

The Zind-Humbrecht Gewürztraminer is a dry, easy drinker with more subtle notes than a typical “würz”. This is probably due to the wine being grown on a completely organic and biodynamic vineyard – a serious plus for the environment. Make sure you tell Angela.

JAY-Z

Hova pulled back the curtains on 4:44, his first album in 4 years, a couple of weeks ago. The kicker: it was only released on TIDAL (JAY-Z’s streaming music service) as a one-week exclusive to the frustration of many. The cut is now available on Apple Music and Amazon but still noticeably absent from Spotify.

J is no stranger to throwing velvet ropes around product he’s invested in. Surely you’ve heard of Armand de Brignac, a.k.a. Ace of Spades – a Champagne brand JAY-Z owns that will run you no less than $300 a pop. And you thought having to buy a TIDAL subscription is rough…

If that price tag ain’t cutting it for a Sunday afternoon on the patio with Hova, there are potential alternatives that will still impress his palate and your accountant. We’ll roll with a bottle of Bellavista’s Brut Cuvée Franciacorta – a divine Italian sparkling wine.

Now when you’re thinking bubbly Italian vino, Prosecco is probably what first comes to mind. However, Franciacorta – which comes from Lombardy in northern Italy – is, indeed, a closer relative to Champagne as its second round of fermentation happens in the bottle (Prosecco’s happens in a tank).

Bellavista’s version of Franciacorta is 90% Chardonnay with 10% Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero (a.k.a. Pinot Noir). The result is a tasty, effervescent mouthful of citrus, vanilla, and bread – like Mama’s homemade lemon cake. It’s also 90% cheaper at roughly 30 bucks a bottle. No red rope necessary.



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