Watch the Throne & Heitz Cellar

Varietal Vibes is created to celebrate the joining of 2 art forms: wine and music. Winemaking is sometimes referred to as art, but Monarch Magazine is about the art of enjoying wine. Drinking wine is an art form, but music makes wine sacred. Varietal Vibes features a wide mix of music. Everything from Classical to Hip-Hop. From Max Richter to Migos (our taste is all over the place). Every week, we’ll feature a new album and a bottle we’re dying to review. We’ll take up the job of sampling great wine so you don’t have to… of course you’re welcome to drink along if you feel so inclined.

Album: Watch the Throne by Kanye West and Jay-Z

Wine: Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2012  

Heitz is an iconic name among wine lovers. The vineyard has been family owned and operated in California’s Napa Valley since 1961. I’ve been enjoying their 2012 Cabernet consistently for the past year, but how will this bottle holdup against the 2011 released hip hop classic album entitled Watch the Throne, by Jay-Z and Kanye West

Both Jay-Z and Yeezy (Kanye West) need no introduction. In 2011 this duo recorded the penultimate mentor vs. protégé showdown. Jay was the undisputed hip-hop heavyweight defending his title against Kanye West, the eccentric prince of avant-garde rap production

It doesn’t get any better than this folks. 


What is it about the first song on an album? It’s normally not very good. “No Church in the Wild” is quite the exception. Don’t you DARE press skip. This is a classic show starter. It sounds like the beginning of something significant, which makes sense because it was the first track released off this eponymous album. Frank Ocean sings the chorus while Jay-Z is first to the mic. By this point you’ve surely gotten the bottle opened and maybe even swilled your first taste. Initial thoughts on the wine: “balanced”. Which I like. I enjoy a Napa Cabernet that doesn’t club you about the head, but enhances an already good time.  Seriously. What a fantastic wine to enjoy with a wily, almost schizophrenic album like “Watch the Throne”. So far, I like what I hear. I like what I taste, too. 


In 2011 hip-hop became heavily influenced by the electronic music movement. A few mainstream artists led the way. Kanye West is arguably the father of the electro/hip hop amalgamation that swept the industry at the time. “Who Gon Stop Me” is a wonderfully executed track. We’re toward the middle of the album and the bottle has decanted some. The music is aggressive but the wine considerable less so. This is a very good Cab but it’s a bit delicate, while this album… uh, isn’t. 


Kanye is part musician part anthropologist. This song is equally contemporary and nostalgic of the Civil Rights Movement. There is nothing understated about “Watch the Throne” (or Jay-Z and Kanye in general). If anything, it becomes louder and more intense as you listen. 


Arguably my favorite track on the album. Not because it’s the best, but because it is most bold. I mean, Jay and Kanye coined their own acronym from this song (H-A-M = Hard as a Mothafucka). “Watch the Throne” is a work of art. it’s provocative and questions whatever preconceived thoughts one might have surrounding hip-hop music. H-A-M is dramatic and operatic, even compared with the other songs on the album. It’s strives for street-cred and refinement simultaneously. 


This was certainly an intense pairing of opposites. The Heitz Cabernet 2012 is immensely versatile, and it held its own, but you could easily pair “Watch the Throne” with a “bold old world red”. What a great combo to enjoy with friends. This is a good “social” album and an approachable bottle. 

The music is extremely masculine while the bottle is slightly feminine (very slight). This juxtaposition should be relatable for both genders to enjoy. 

Monarch Wine's lifestyle publication features a top-shelf collection of artisans from around the globe. With a commitment to storytelling, innovation, and creativity, Monarch inspires and informs readers with a shared desire to connect the wine curious with cultural conversations worldwide.