ChampagneSupremesThey say that everything old is new again, and this saying seems to hold true with music. Old favorite songs and classic artists long remain in our hearts. In addition, I often find that I like something new because it gives me a pleasant memory of something familiar. Here are some examples of this phenomenon that you can mix up for a pairing party featuring classic soul and a couple of more contemporary companions. First up, check out the sounds of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings on “100 Days 100 Nights.” This record is fairly new – but it will sound like you’ve known it forever. It is enjoyable, energetic and fresh – yet somehow familiar. My pick for a pairing is the classic female Motown choice – the Supremes. You can’t go wrong with any of their greatest hit type collections and your guests will surely sing along. Another musical pairing would be James Hunter, who I stumbled upon at the outdoor stage one enjoyable afternoon at the Monterey Jazz Festival last year. This soulful singer/guitarist has a real classic soul groove, and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand that day. For the pairing comparison, I’d suggest Ray Charles. Your choices here are also numerous, and it is hard to go wrong. This music is lively, but comforting and familiar. We played it recently to jump start a small dinner with friends. We served champagne and light appetizers to kick off the party and establish the tone for a festive evening. One easy and slightly retro appetizer is to cut bite-size celery wedges and fill them with a spreadable herbed cheese (such as the Boursin or Rondele brands). Along with the champagne, it is fun to serve fresh raspberries and orange wedges that guests can add to their drink if they like. A dash of Chambord raspberry liqueur is also a nice addition to champagne. If you like, compare French champagne to domestic champagne-style sparkling wine – or pair a basic bottle with a more expensive one. You’ll surely enjoy the combination of some soul and champagne – and savor the familiar with a fresh twist. See which combination you and your guests prefer between the drinks and the music, and let us know your results by visiting our blog page.

Champagnes: For a solid basic choice – Piper Sonoma, Domaine Chandon or Gloria Ferrer; For a special choice – Schramsberg Vineyards premium label J. Schram; For something French – Blason de Bourgogne, Cuvee Brut Cremant de Bourgogne


  1. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – “100 Days 100 Nights” and Diana Ross and the Supremes – “The Supremes – The Ultimate Collection”
  2. James Hunter – “People Gonna Talk” and Ray Charles – The Best of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years”