Domaine Frederic Brouca's Clos Sauveplane and Solange's When I Get Home
Content is important. In fact, most marketing specialists would say it’s king. But to me, it’s style that creates a vibe. And the vibe has everything to do with setting the mood and supporting a good or bad time. Solange’s “When I Get Home” and Frederic Brouca’s 2013 “Clos Souveplane” are full of premium content, sure, but it’s their style that sets them apart and sparks a visceral reaction.
Solange’s fourth album following 2016’s critically acclaimed “A Seat at the Table” finds her a little more experimental, playful and relaxed. It’s 19 tracks including quick, enticing interludes full of space, repetitive but impactful lyrics and a sonic feast for the ears. It has a calming effect and allows you to drift through it from start to finish. It’s not punchy with lots of hooks and neatly packaged bops, but more of a chill, exploratory stream of consciousness that draws you in and beckons to be revisited.
Like “When I Get Home”, Frederic Brouca’s 2013 “Clos Sauveplane” mourvedre/syrah blend from Faugeres in the Languedoc region of France also shows restraint. Brouca is relatively new to the wine game. 2013 was his inaugural vintage as a winemaker after retreating from his former path towards business and finance to forge a new one in wine. He purchased a small area of vineyards in the village of Faugeres, which happens to be my favorite in the Languedoc, and set out to make wine his own way -- self-taught and shaking things up in a region set in tradition and predictable results. He picks his grapes 2-3 weeks earlier than most others in the region for lower alcohol content and to avoid an overripe fruit bomb.
Domaine Frederic Brouca is certified organic and everything is hand-harvested, fermented with native yeasts, unfined, unfiltered and with minimal sulfite additions. This is real wine made the right way. The “Clos Sauveplane” is heady and delicious. It’s deep purple with ruby tints. The nose is amazing and intense. There’s dark fruit; herbal notes of licorice, menthol and sage; a bloody iron quality; dirt and subtle purple flower. The palate is chewy and dense but the tannins are super fine, no doubt softened with some ageing. It’s juicy with blackberry fruit. It’s indulgent.
“When I Get Home” opens with “Things I Imagined”, a lyrically-repetitive track with spaced-out electronic sounds that sets the tone of the album. The music and production are multifaceted and slick, and Solange’s lyrics are minimal yet carefully selected and full of intention.
“Down with the Clique” is a shout-out to Solange’s hometown, Houston that’s infused with jazz percussion and high-pitched soprano vocals. It’s a perfect song for listening to at a dimly lit club or lounge. “Way to the Show” is a total ‘70s groove, featuring silky vocals and an overall sexiness that’s on par with Brouca’s mourvedre and syrah blend.
Each song is a new little treat that serves its own purpose, building a cohesive yet diversified album from beginning to end. “Stay Flo” is the jam. It’s one of many songs on the record to play with the windows down cruising around town. This is a song about girls’ superior ability to basically be the shit with grace and ease: “Girls getting down every day/ Working out of town on the floor/ Making thangs swang on the go/ Niggas get down and they feel it on they face.”
“Time (Is)” featuring Sampha is an elegant slow jam dripping with bass and deliberate piano about giving into fear and moving forward, with motivating and comforting lyrics that speak to Solange’s strong and unique identity as an artist that’s notably different from her sister’s and Frederic Brouca’s enterprising spirit and courage to break out on his own as a winemaker:
"Give your all," you would say to me
Only way to know your heart (If I call you now)
And it gives me hope for the trials
And the fear of the unknown that moves too close (Real close)
But we gotta go
Yeah, we gotta go
But the way to do it
Do us just
Then you’ll know”
“My Skin My Logo” is a charming collaboration with Gucci Mane that feels like we got a behind the scene glimpse of a candid, playful session between the two artists. The song features jazz instrumentation over Solange and Gucci speaking back and forth that builds up to singing melodies and energetic beats.
The wine and the record mingle in a very seductive way, with the hedonistic qualities of each playing off each other, especially towards the end of the album with the irresistible feel-good bop “Binz” and the dreamy, ambient “Sound of Rain”.
“When I Get Home” concludes with with a modern spiritual song, “I’m a Witness” that ends neatly with the same closing lyrics as the opening track: “taking on the light”. It’s appropriately celestial and ethereal just like the entirety of this record and wine which I should be so lucky enough to enjoy together in heaven.