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Wednesday, 10 April 2013 08:00

Sniff the Cap: Skipping Coachella and Pairing Wine With Tunes, Folded Towels

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Hot, windy, crowded. Long lines for the toilet. Overpriced food.

But all the bands you love. And now, you can have wine carefully paired with the music.

Yes, we’ll be listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds while drinking some red wine barrel-aged in a cavern. Maybe one of those Castello di Amorosa 2009 Zingaro “The Gypsy” reds. Yeah, the Castello in Napa is fake, with its caves excavated centuries ago (in 1995). Still, the Tuscan-style replica has a fun vibe. And Zingaro would pair nicely with the band’s “Red Right Hand.”

Ah, now you’re wondering: Coachella’s doing wine-music pairings? The lyrics of aged Cave, 55, come to mind: “We call upon the author to explain!”

Sure, no problem.

I’m not going to Coachella the Fest. This means avoiding pricey tickets and constricting wristbands. This means not having to worry about finding parking, obtaining a shuttle, camping and enduring strip searches, hoping security guards won’t find the bottle of Aquafina that I slid into a balloon and swallowed in order to save serious water dough.

This means no chance encounters with a drugged-out Lindsay Lohan, who’s outfoxed her handlers and disappeared into the crowd, disguised as an 80-year-old man to confuse the paparazzi, and who’s now spending way too much time in the portable potty. I need to pee, Old Man Lohan; I need to pee now!

This means no long waits for service in the wine tent. What, wine tent? What wine tent? No wine tent?

This means no live music for me. So sad. I’m crying in my Riedel. But necessity is the French oak barrel of invention, as they say.

So I’ve fermented a plan. I hope you like it: I’m calling it the Sniff the Cap Laundry Room Music Fest and Wine Pairing. Or SCLRMFWP, for short.

My laundry room is about 8 by 10 feet. It’s a nice place for Granny Deidre to wash, dry and fold towels and undies while listening to punk rock from the ’70s, ’80s and whatever. The room is half the size of the Matson shipping container that carried my household goods—beds and tables and chairs and books—from Honolulu to Oakland’s port last summer. I wanted to be closer to the grapes.

My laundry room should hold 60 people or so. SCLRMFWP 2013 will be exclusive and sufficiently crowded. My friend with public-relations expertise says that holding an event in cramped quarters builds excitement. If the room is too capacious, people flop around and go limp with boredom.

We’ll jam into the room, compact, like riding a big-city metro during rush hour. I’ll turn on the dryer for added heat and noise, and run a couple of fans to simulate wind. My gigantic 32-inch monitor should rest nicely on the shelf next to my detergent and fabric softener. Or maybe I’ll just use my MacBook. Haven’t decided.

Then, the music. We’ll stream all our favorite Coachella artists on YouTube. And drink. The plan’s still rough, but here’s a sample of what you might experience at SCLRMFWP 2013, in oenological order, from whites to reds:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs and sparkling wine. Obviously, California champagne is in order for the triple Yeahs, who’re releasing their new album on April 16—coincidentally, between Coachella’s weekends one and two. My guests will be pleased that I’ve tasted the sparkling wines of Carneros, south of Napa. The 2008 Domaine Carneros Brut Vintage feels celebratory to me. “Pack up. I’m straight.” I hope you’re singing. I hope you don’t mind plastic cups. Broken glass = laundry room lawsuits. No thanks.

Lumineers. My folks made dandelion wine when I was 8. No me gusta nada. But the dandelion vibe feels about right for the Lumineers. I like to boast that I saw the Lumineers before they were famous, at the Biggest Little City Club in Reno. Yes, that’s really the name of a bar.

My friend and I went to see Kung Fu Sophie but stayed for the obscure folk-rockin’ hippies from Denver. The Lumineers were into audience participation, but only about eight drunks were at City Club that night. Most of ’em were regulars, ignoring the floor show. I ended up playing something percussive with the band. And the Lumineers changed the lyrics of “Darlene” and sang “Deidre.”

If you come to my event, I will regale you with this tale at least two times while we listen to “Submarines.” Since I have no dandelion wine, we’ll go with an organic chardonnay from Mendocino’s Girasole Vineyards. Sunflowers on the label! “Ho hey!”

Red Hot Chili Peppers. No prob. Just pair this with whatever you’d serve with spicy Tibetan, of course. First, I was thinking a barbera, fruit forward, like Pilot Peak’s 2008. I tasted this in Grass Valley last summer. Alas, sold out. I blame psychic spies from out of state. On reflection, something grimmer and glummer might be in order. Plummy, hint of minerality, without losing popular appeal. So not too complex. I’m talking about the wine. Turns out any big garish cab will do. “Space may be the final frontier, but it’s made in a (Napa) basement.”

Violent Femmes. Wisconsin. Not known for wine. So, beer? Don’t mock; it’s not all about the Schlitz. Milwaukee has been brewing up some crafty tastiness in recent years. Horny Goat. Buffalo Water. Cheesey Bratwurst. (I made up the last one.)

I spent the first 25 years of my existence in Wisconsin. If anything would get me to Coachella, it would be the chance to see the Violent Femmes live for a reunion after 5 1/2 years of performative silence. Even though, you know, the lead guy Gordon Gano’s a bit older than me. He turns 50 in June. I don’t turn 50 for two more fabulous years.

Oh yeah, wine. We’re listening to Viva Wisconsin and sniffing Bounce in my laundry room in California. What wine pairs with weird? What’s shadowy enough to accompany “Dahmer Is Dead” and “Blister in the Sun” and the catchy ditty about the dad who, during troubled economic times, throws his lovely daughter down the well?

Ah, something from the far reaches of the state of California. In the deep north, a winery in the Redwoods obtains grapes from all my favorite places. Moonstone Crossing’s 2007 Dark as Night is a blend of Mendocino merlot, Amador County cabernet Franc and cabernet sauvignon with Lake County petit verdot. There’s nothing subtle about its dark fruit, black oak, brown spice and bramble.

“Words to memorize, words hypnotize. Words make my mouth exercise. Words all fail the magic prize.”

I haven’t plotted overpriced snacks yet. “Wait a minute, honey, I’m going to add it up.”

Deidre Pike has no actual plans for a music festival in her laundry room. No SCLRMFWP 2013 wristbands will ever be available online. Please don’t call or write with your credit card information.

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