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My Favourite Wine: John Lodge
The Moody Blues band member talks about Krisemma, what he drinks back stage and why he loves wine
Posted August 19th, 2011
In the 1970s and 1980s, you couldn’t turn on a rock radio station without hearing a song from The Moody Blues. The English rocker trio — Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge — have sold more than 55 million albums, won dozens of awards, and topped charts around the world with a lengthy list of hits that includes Gemini Dream, Nights in White Satin, In Your Wildest Dreams, and Seventh Sojourn.
Along the way, band member John Lodge developed a serious passion for wine. Although he lives in England, he also has a place in Provence, France, where, he says, he enjoys some very good rosé wines.
And earlier this year, he partnered with Napa Valley’s Behrens & Hitchcock Winery to release Krisemma, a red Bordeaux-style blend that retails for $100 a bottle. Although the wine isn’t available in the Canadian market, email info@behrensandhitchcock or call 707-942-0619 for more information.
As for The Moody Blues, the band is back on the road, touring across Canada this fall. Click here for tour dates.
Q: How did you become interested in wine?
When I was a teenager, you’d go to a Chinese restaurant and have a nice bottle of German wine. I suppose that’s really where it started.
But, then, I was really interested in France, and in Burgundy and its white wines in particular, Meursault and Montrachet.
The headmistress at the school where my daughter went, her husband was a grand commander of Burgundy, one of the great wine tasters. His name is Richard Staples, and he was the No. 1 wine taster in the UK.
One day he invited me to go to Clos du Vougeot in Burgundy, where the Hospice de Beaune is. I went there with him and it was a thrilling experience, so we went back and forth there a couple of times, and one day, he said, ‘I have a surprise for you.’
That’s when they made me a Chevalier de Tastevin. Yes, I could become a real sommelier if I ever wanted a day job.
Q: What wine do you drink back stage at concerts?
Stag’s Leap is the white wine that I drink when I’m on tour. That’s what’s in my dressing room. Stag’s Leap Chardonnay, two bottles in case I have guests. That’s part of my rider. No cheese, though, or bread. Nothing like that. Just the wine. It’s one of the niceties of life, to have a bottle of wine and enjoy a glass or two after a concert.
Q: What is Krisemma?
It’s called Krisemma — that’s because my son is Kristian with a K, and my daughter is called Emily. Emma. It is such a great name for a wine. It’s now drinking, if I may say so, absolutely wonderfully.
We [Behrens & Hitchcock Winery] talked about wine and I said I always love a fine red wine, and we discussed it some more, and they made this wine for me — a cabernet sauvignon-syrah-merlot-cabernet franc blend. It’s a blend, unfiltered, which makes it more special for me, and natural fermentation.
Q: Do you have any future winemaking plans?
We just launched this June in Napa, so we’ll see how it goes, how people react to it.
But we’re living just south of London [England] and I do have grapes growing here. Last year we bottled our first wine from here. It was a great experiment, but I think the flowers enjoyed the wine more than we did. We used the first vintage as nourishment for the garden. [He laughs.]
But we made some more, a red, which has come out more like a blush. We’ll open the first bottle of that in a month or so. My daughter has been making it, Emily. She’s very knowledgeable on wine. She comes wine tasting with my wife and I to different places.
Q: If you could share a bottle of wine with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
I was inspired to be a musician by Buddy Holly, so it probably would have been nice to sit down with a couple of Fender Stratocaster guitars and strum along to Peggy Sue and drink a nice glass of wine with Buddy Holly. That would have been really nice. Because he died so young, he probably didn’t get the privilege of just sitting down and enjoying a beautiful bottle of wine.
Red or white? He was from Texas, so I would think red. But I’m going to take the Stag’s Leap (Chardonnay) and a Montrachet just in case. And I’d take my own wine, a bottle of the Krisemma.
Q: Why do you love wine?
Wine isn’t just about tasting the wine. It’s about the culture, and where people live and the history of those vineyards, hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s fascinating.