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Things I Have Learned

Sune Rose Wagner Of The Raveonettes On Fine Wine
Julian Marszalek , October 20th, 2009 07:30

The Raveonettes sing of crushed and fermented grape on their new album In And Out Of Control. Here, Sune talks about his love affair with wine. Bottoms up!

A guide and mentor is useful when you're getting started on wine

When I came to Copenhagen I was 17 years old. I had a band back then and I gave a demo tape to this American guy who had a place called Café Tex and he turned out to be something of a wine scientist. So he became my manager and I lived with him for nearly 10 years and he taught me a lot about wine and food. He used to take me on trips to the Napa Valley and introduced me to the great wines of Washington and Oregon and stuff like that. And then after that, I sort of took wine trips on my own to Germany for the Riesling and I went to Tuscany. Now I know good wine when I taste it.

White wine for relaxing, red for eating

It all depends on what people want to use wine for. Like, with red wine, I can't just sit around drinking red wine; I need food with red wine. White wine I can drink on my own but red wine I can't. But if I had to sit around and drink wine I'd probably go for a white wine like a nice Riesling or a Spanish Ortorinio or something like. I think a lot of people like the Riesling if they can get one that's a little bit sweet because that's really appealing - a great wine with sweetness to it. But I'm not good at sitting around drinking really dry white wine but I really like the sweetness of the Riesling. And the alcohol content in a Riesling is not very high so you can drink more of it and have a good time without getting plastered.

Rose used to get a bad press, but not any more

I must admit that I wasn't a fan of rose for a very long time, but I've had some good ones recently. If I go to a wine bar or a nice restaurant I sometimes have one to start with, or when I've asked the waiter for a recommendation they've sometimes come back with a rose. It seems like more people are picking up on it recently just to get a nice glass of wine. I'm not big fan but I'm OK with it and have some that are really, really good. A winemaker friend has started to make roses and they are really good.

Wine is for everybody

I think that a lot people have this notion that snobs are the only people who care about wine but my winemaking friend, who's like this totally stoner rock-type guy with long shaggy hair and a Ramones T-shirt - and he's one of the top producers in the world - he can walk into a wine bar, ask for the wine list and picks out the most amazing wine, you can see the waiters go, "Oh, who is he? Where does he know that wine from?" But there is weird attitude to wine, as if it's only for people who sit around in country clubs and fancy restaurants. But lots of more people are starting to drink wine, and it's great especially if you like food.

Wine doesn't have to break the bank

It doesn't have to be expensive to drink good wine. A lot of producers make really good house wine; some of them are just outstanding and they're only about $10 a bottle. That's very reasonable!

Wine drinking is intrinsically linked to national character

Wine drinking if definitely a culture thing. I mean, you know, Britain is a beer drinking country and so is Denmark and it's impossible to walk into any bar and get a good glass of wine. I think it's so stupid because I know that there are so many people that love wine but instead go to a really seedy bar and get wasted. I just don't understand that as it's so cheap now to buy really good wine. But then again, they're so used to drinking bad alcohol so they wouldn't even know if they're drinking a good or a bad wine.

I'd fill the Holy Grail with Pinot Noir

A good Pinot Noir has a good balance, a good nose and good light. It's a very delicate grape and there's this amazing place we go to in Portland, Oregon called Wines on Broadway and they pretty much specialise in Pinots and it's a great place to sit and relax. And they have so many different types and they bring you these little pieces of paper so can make comments about each one and the wine is great! I always leave there with a bottle or two because you always taste something that you haven't tasted before.

Still, you shouldn't sniff at a good beer

There's a really good place in Copenhagen called Charlie's Bar and it's a couple of Brits who own it and almost every day they have a new selection from a microbrewery and really great homemade cider. There's nothing wrong with that either.