Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blood Of The Vines: Robinson Crusoe On Mars

Wine Goes To The Movies

The Curiosity rover has begun snooping about for evidence of life on Mars.  I’ll be watching those pictures closely for evidence of wine on Mars.  Paul Mantee’s character in Robinson Crusoe on Mars could have used a little martian vino, be it red or white.

Had Daniel Defoe’s earthbound Crusoe known he would be marooned for 28 years, he might have tried making some wine - if only for sacramental purposes.  The 18th-century Crusoe got religion by reading the Bible while stranded.  Imagine what he could have accomplished, inspired by a couple of issues of Wine Spectator.

Hollywood’s version of the desert island is Mars in the 1964 film billed as “scientifically authentic.”  That must have referred to the Technicolor process, because little else seems to be very realistic.  TFH says the movie does borrow effects from “War of the Worlds” and “Destination Moon,” and the presentation is 1964-moderne, if not exactly ripped from the pages of NASA handbooks.

You have to wonder what kind of space agency decides it’s a good idea to send a manned mission to Mars with a dangerous wild animal on board.  In case you’ve never had a close encounter of the simian kind before - yes, monkeys are wild.  And yes, they are dangerous.  They didn’t have wine on the ship, but that ape looks to me like he’s been sneaking a nip here and there.  Like the original Crusoe, Mantee seems to be stuck with some horrifically inadequate companionship.  At least until Friday, the intergalactic slave, shows up.  Good thing he’s a quick learner when it comes to picking up language from another world.

If you tour the vineyards of the Canary Islands, you may think you’re about to find wine on Mars.  On Lanzarote, they grow their grapes in little lava craters to help protect them from the wind.  On the Greek island of Santorini, they wrap their grapevines into little baskets, for the same purpose.  Both methods produce a weird effect that looks otherworldly - particularly in Lanzarote’s volcanic ash.

Here’s to life on Mars, and wine on Mars, for that matter.  Just like fires in zero atmosphere and monkeys in space suits, it’s “scientifically authentic.”

For that long-awaited sip of wine for Robinson Crusoe on Mars, where else to start but at Martian Vineyard.  They aren’t on Mars, but they are in Los Alamos - which is close.  They’ve been conducting experiments on Albariño, Grenache Blanc and Grenache that have turned out extremely well.  They also captured a Santa Ynez Viognier and have already taught it to speak English.  The prices aren’t in the stratosphere for wines like UFOric, Mothership, Down To Earth and Ground Central: $20 to $25 range.

Domaine Font-Mars - Bordeaux wine from Mars, here on earth.

White Rocket Wines - An experiment by the late Jess Jackson that didn’t exactly lift off.

Red Rover Wines - If you don’t monkey around with any #$@%& Merlot, they also have Barbera and Chardonnay.

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