Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Blood Of The Vines - The Big Clock

Wine Goes To The Movies With 

One of the most exciting nail-biters in the film noir genre, "The Big Clock" will have you wound up tighter than a cheap analog watch.  No small digital numbers here.  Crimeways Magazine likes it larger than life.  

Of all the things to like about this movie, that huge timepiece in the art deco office buiding may be my favorite.  It's like the old scoreboards of classic baseball parks.  Inside, though, instead of a guy flipping over the runs and outs, it houses a guy about to flip because his time may be running out.  

In Kenneth Fearing's book, the murder weapon is a brandy decanter, which would have fit nicely in this piece.  In the film version, Janoth kills his mistress with a sundial.  That plays into the clock theme so well you have to wonder why Fearing didn't think of it.  Maybe he was up against a deadline.

Janoth is played by Charles Laughton, who was a bit of a wine collector in his lifetime.  The last bottle of his private collection was sold at a British auction in 2008.  It was a rare bottle of Chateau Lafite 1870 which brought 3,450 pounds at the gavel.  I don't 
have my money converter on me, but I think that figures out to somewhere between a hundred and a million dollars.  You lost me at a hundred.

It's cheaper to find that bar around the corner where Ray Milland made it his habit to sip a stinger with green crème de menthe in a classy little gimlet glass.  Then, sneak back in and find some time to watch "The Big Clock."  Be sure to synchronize watches for the opening of the wine to pair with it. 

Paso Robles' Alta Colina Vineyards 12 O'Clock High is named for the north-south alignment of the vines in their white grape block.  Estate Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc are blended together to form a wine that's refreshing enough to make film noir breezy and dense enough to fit with the kind of trouble in which Ray Milland finds himself.  

I met winemaker Bob Tillman's daughter Maggie when she poured her family's wines at a wine tasting event in Los Angeles.  The 12 O'Clock High really impressed me:

"I was most taken with the 2009 12 O'Clock High, a white blend of estate-grown Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc.  Stone fruit and tropical notes are met with honey and minerals and a racy acidity that plays big on the finish."

You'll enjoy it with the big finish of "The Big Clock." 

Head Trailers From Hell guru Joe Dante recently presented "The Big Clock" at the University of Wisconsin's Cinematheque series.  Read about it here.

Time for some more wine?

Mountain View Vintners Clockspring Zinfandel - From Amador County, this Sierra Foothills Zin from the Clockspring Vineyard will no doubt help you unwind at movie time.

Dandelion Vineyards Wishing Clock of the Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc - According to the Australian winery, a wishing clock is the "blow-away" part of a dandelion.  Make a wish.  Sip.  Repeat.

Hourglass Winery - Anything from this Napa Valley winery should be good if you're one of those for whom a clock seems just a little too newfangled.

Clock Labels - Arizona's Su Vino Winery will personalize whatever wine you choose for your Big Clock pairing.

Wine Clocks - You had to see this coming.  Here's a search result for "wine clocks" - you can find one to your liking before the big hand moves too much, I'm sure.

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