Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blood Of The Vines: The Killing

Wine Goes to the Movies

Who doesn't like to grab a bottle of wine and take in a day at the track?  Well, I've never done it.  When I lose my shirt gambling on sports, I prefer to do my drinking afterward.  I drown my bad luck with free house wine in the casino while nursing a video poker machine - the second most boring waste of time known to man.  The first, of course, is keno.

I suppose seeing your money disappear in person, rather than on one of a dozen closed circuit screens from various racetracks, has a certain allure.  But in “The Killing,” the Stanley Kubrick classic starring Sterling Hayden, everybody's money disappears when a clown-masked robber rips off the gate.  Okay, so now the whole grandstand wishes they had brought a bottle, instead of just those who put Aunt Martha's farm on the horse that couldn’t get around the first turn.

Horse racing, like winemaking, is one of those things rich people get into when they find they just can't spend their money fast enough in other, more conventional pursuits.  Kentucky may have the thoroughbreds, but California has the wine.

The late Jess Jackson blended the two.  He was not only a California wine legend - owner of Kendall-Jackson and changer of the way wine was made and marketed - he was also a mover and shaker in the thoroughbred horse industry.  So, for “The Killing,” we'll go with his hallmark - K-J Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay.  They make a zillion cases a year and it's always lauded as a reliably good wine from vintage to vintage.  Twelve dollars out of the gate at the supermarket can get you a wine that will feel right at home down the stretch.

Comin' on the rail:

RustRidge Winery Racehorse Red - From the Chiles Valley in the northeastern part of Napa, this wine feels good coming' down the backstretch, and better running through the inside.

Wild Horse Winery and Vineyards - They run wild and free in Paso Robles, with a line called “Unbridled” to prove it.

Darkhorse Wines - A great candidate for an after-race unwind.

Iron Horse Winery - "The drink of optimists," they call their wine.  Well, if you're at the racetrack, that must be you.

The obligatory wine novelty - Am I drawn to this sort of thing because I routinely bet on 20-1 long shots running in the mud?

Santa Ynez Horse and Winery Tour - This actually sounds like fun.  Just make sure your horse uses the spit bucket at the tastings.  See novelty above.

Beaulieu Vineyards Beauzeaux Red Blend - “Come on, clown, sing us a chorus from "Pagliacci!”

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