Wine Pairings for “Check Your Head”

Go wall to wall with Helen Johannesen from Helen’s Wines and Jon & Vinny’s.
Art & Culture
Wine Pairings for “Check Your Head”

Go wall to wall with Helen Johannesen from Helen’s Wines and Jon & Vinny’s.

Words: Helen Johannesen

lettering by Rachelle Sartini Garner

April 26, 2017

Yeah, sure, you may have had your share of brass monkeys while listening to Licensed to Ill, but Check Your Head is a record made for a more mature palette. So we asked Helen Johannesen of Helen’s Wines and the excellent LA restaurant Jon & Vinny’s to take us on a fermented journey through the Beastie Boys classic. Come along, won’t you?


Hit play on “Jimmy James” and turn shit up with a natural iteration of sparkling wine: Pétillant-naturel, a.k.a. Pét-nat, a.k.a. Lil’ Natty. My current obsession is the Brut Nature from Martin Texier, son of famed winemaker Eric Texier. Made mostly from the Chasselas grape, it gets you into a natural state of mind.

Moving into “Funky Boss,” it’s time to pop open some Chablis. I think the most fitting would be some 2009 Raveneau Les Clos to set the precedent for what’s to come. Stay enveloped in this insanely good expression of chardonnay for “Pass the Mic.”


Jean Foillard has a million ideas that he ain’t even rocked yet, and his 2015 Morgon Côte du Py talks no bullshit. The only wine you’d wanna call “Finger Lickin’ Good.” Have some now, but save some for later.

“So What’cha Want” and “Time for Livin’” are a little more intense, and they need the guiding light of electricity that the 2013 Saumur Blanc “Clos David” from Château de Brézé can bring. This is the
truth when it comes to Chenin Blanc.

Clos Davis might be the illest motherfucker from here to Orléans, but “Something’s Got to Give” brings the organs, and that means it’s time to lay low with a bottle of rosé: You need a 2016 Touriga Nacional Rosé made by Arnot-Roberts, and you need to keep that bad boy frigid.


For “The Blue Nun” and “Stand Together,” let’s just take a beat and recognize how insane red burgundy can get with age… Alright, done. Now grab Regis Forey’s 1990 Gaudichots from Vosne-Romanée—and yes, it does go well with the chicken.

“The Maestro” drums up some heavy Italiano vibes. Brunello di Montalcino might have a Riserva por Carla, but you don’t know Carla, and the La Torre alle Tolfe Sangiovese is comin’ up your block. Time to get yours.

Swill it for a minute, then at “Groove Holmes,” it’s time to get sexy, Northern Rhône style. Thiérry Allemand is your man, and his Cornas goes all day, whether Reynaud or Chaillot; both single vineyards are bombastic.


What you need for “Live at P.J.’s” and “Professor Booty” is some Sylvain Pataille—but then again, it’s what you always need. Let some 2014 Le Chapitre rouge rip on that groove.

Finally, dip back into that laid-back bottle of Foillard Morgon with “In 3’s,” chill the fuck out, and ride it to the end of “Namasté.” FL

This article appears in FLOOD 6. You can download or purchase the magazine here.