Thursday, March 31, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - Countercultural Appropriation

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌  This week, we go a-hunting for wines to pair with three filmfuls of countercultural appropriations.  

The Trial of Billy Jack was one of 1974's worst films, to hear the critics tell it.  Movie goers opened their wallets and made it a big success, but the critics of the day seemed to have a contest going amongst themselves to find out who could pan it the most.  Scribes strung stinging superlatives together at length to describe the movie's politics, message, incoherence and length - almost three hours.  They sharpened their knives and dug in like it was a plate of brisket.  Someone wrote a book about the 50 worst movies of all time, and Trial is in there.

In the movie, Billy Jack is on trial for involuntary manslaughter stemming from the series' first film - Billy Jack.  He is convicted and sent to prison, which probably would have made a good ending, but he is unfortunately released and kills someone else.  The story involves a lot of action set on an Arizona Native American reservation, at a school for kids who are apparently on the same track that Billy Jack lives on.  The National Guard gets in on the body count by killing four students.  Where have we heard that before? 

The Trial of Billy Jack didn’t fare well internationally, which star, screenwriter and director Tom Laughlin reportedly blamed on U.S. government efforts to have the movie banned in other countries.  Hey, Tom, it's not a ban if people simply don't want to see it. 

For The Trial of Billy Jack, perhaps an applejack will do - a whiskey made from apples.  The scenery on the screen is from Utah's Monument Valley, but let's look to Arizona for a wine pairing - at least you can get a decent drink there.  Arizona Stronghold Vineyards has a red wine for the occasion - Lozen, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, for $48.  Lozen was a real person, an Apache woman warrior who the chief called his right hand.

1970's The Strawberry Statement was taken from a non-fiction book about the 1968 student protests at Columbia University, transplanting them to the West Coast.  The film's good intentions did not overcome what critics saw as naked opportunism, and tickets didn't sell either.  The soundtrack album, however, was one of the coolest movie records of the era.  

The National Guard gets some play here between scenes of college radicals and radical wannabes - knocking heads and shooting teargas at student demonstrations.  Gee, how'd they ever get that bad rap?

For The Strawberry Statement - how about a jug of Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill?  I drank plenty of that stuff back in my non-radical college days, and not because I had a fine, discerning taste for the grape.  Shop around a bit and you might find it for three bucks.  Aah, still priced right.

In 1969's Changes, a guy named Kent travels along the California coast.  Kent is what we call a drifter, but in the '60s his aimless wandering was called "looking for his head."  We don’t know if he ever found it, but it's hard to care about it when even he doesn't seem too interested.  

Kent's wanderlust seems fueled by an attempt to escape the squares - parents, establishment, Nixon voters - but they are harder to shake than the IRS in April.  He is driven by memories of a girlfriend who committed suicide and he can't seem to find any real meaning in his existence.  This guy's introspection makes Kierkegaard look like a party hound.  

To balance Kent's indifference, let's go the other way for the wine pairing - anything but boredom.  That is how Domain Mada's Tout Sauf L'Ennui translates.  It's a $35 Carignan from the Laungedoc-Rousillan in the south of France, and it's sure to help you find your head.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Rioja Wines For The Choosy Among Us

From importer González Byass.

Bodegas Beronia is known for its Rioja Alta vineyards.  The winery was formed by several Basque friends who wanted to have just the right wine to go with their culinary get-togethers.  Now that's a bunch of choosy wine drinkers.  The beautiful state of the art revamp on the winery is only a couple of years old.  Winemaker Matías Calleja puts his signature on the label of each bottle.

The 2017 Beronia Reserva has three grape varieties in it, 95% Tempranillo, 4% Mazuelo and 1% Graciano.  The winery says that the vines are all more than 40 years old.  The wine was aged in oak barrels for eighteen months and in the bottle for another year and a half.  Alcohol sits at 14.5% abv and the retail price is $25.

This is a dark wine,black cherry red but almost opaque.  Black fruit abounds on the nose, joined by notes of anise, mocha, cinnamon and clove.  The palate is jammy, with spices and herbs making themselves clearly known.  A savory aftertaste lingers on the long finish and the tannins are a bit toothy upon opening, so be sure to decant before serving.

The 2013 Beronia Gran Reserva is a blend of 97% Tempranillo and 3% Graciano grapes, from old vines.  The wine was aged for more than two years in French oak barrels and then another similar time frame in the bottle.  Alcohol hits 14.5% abv and the retail price is $30.

The nose offers black fruit - plums, currant, blackberries - and a savory spice and herb rack featuring pepper, anise, cinnamon, clove and sage.  On the palate, there's plenty of dark fruit and more savory touches.  The tannins are firm and the acidity is refreshing, while the finish lasts a good long while.  

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Monday, March 28, 2022

Wairau River NZ Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand wine producer Wairau River points out that the pandemic has had at least one positive effect - it got more Americans than ever to go outside for a bit of recreation.  The fine folks at the family-run winery believe that their wines are great for bringing along on your outdoor excursions.  The motto is, "Extraordinary wine for every day."

The grapes for the 2021 Sauvignon Blanc come from their locale in the Marlborough appellation, where Phil and Chris Rose started the vineyard in 1978.  It is truly a family affair at Wairau River, with Sam Rose tending to the winemaking duties and the Restaurant and Cellar Door managed by daughter Pip and served up by head chef Caroline.  The wine is made entirely from estate-grown Sauvignon Blanc grapes, carries alcohol at 12.5% and retails for $21.

This wine has huge notes of grapefruit and freshly mown grass on the nose.  The palate shows ripe grapefruit - riper than expected from the cool climate New Zealand terroir - lemon, tangerine, nectarine and a healthy acidity.  Shellfish, here we come.  Oysters, probably.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - The Paddy Wagon

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌  This week, we come up with bottles to go with three movies written by Paddy Chayefsky.

1955's Marty was taken from a television play which Chayefsky had written two years earlier.  The effort won the film an Oscar and a Palme d'Or, one of only three movies to grab them both.  Nice going for a kid from the Bronx.  

There weren't any major changes to the script from small screen to big, but casting replaced Rod Steiger with Ernest Borgnine as Marty, reportedly after Steiger demanded a three-picture deal to repeat the role.  Every now and then, I try to imagine Steiger as Marty instead of Borgnine, and it just doesn't work.  In fact, all the actors in the film, every last one, were just perfect in their roles.  

Chayefsky gave Borgnine a script that the actor played the hell out of, a heartbreaking performance of a guy who thinks he's just a "fat, ugly man" who is not good enough to deserve the love of the girl on whom he is crushing.  Chayefsky, he's okay, but, "boy, that Mickey Spillane, boy, he could write."

Portland Wine Company makes a red wine called Marty, although the label image will remind you more of the Elephant Man than the Borgnine role.  At least it's fairly cheap.

The Hospital got Chayefsky another Oscar, for Best Original Screenplay.  The 1971 satire stars George C. Scott as a doctor who is torn between a woman - Diana Rigg, who can blame him? - and his crumbling institution.  Chayefsky takes a scalpel to the American health care system decades before it becomes a moral imperative.

There is a hospital in France's Alsace region which prescribes wine for your ailments.  Why didn't we think of that?  Let's get a Bordeaux, from Château de l'Hospital.  It's mostly Cab Franc and Cab Sauv, with a touch of Malbec for what ails ya.  Don't let it bother you that the winery is located in a place called Graves… à votre santé!

In 1964, The Americanization of Emily brought James Garner and Julie Andrews together in Chayefsky’s anti-war statement - which came at a time when American anti-war statements were not considered en vogue.  Both actors remembered the film as their personal favorite in which they acted.

Americanization refers to the practice, in WWII London, of trading sexual favor for hard-to-get commodities.  Andrews wonders if she is behaving like a whore, and Garner assures her that "whoring is a peacetime activity."  The movie is chock-full of smart writing like that, a specialty of the house at Chez Chayefsky.  

Let's make it special, a night to remember.  No, not Lowenbrau, but a sparkling wine from the British Isles.  The PR firm who decided that those wines should be called "British Fizz," by the way, should be sacked.  Hambledon Premiere Cuvée Brut will cost you about 50 pounds the next time you drop in to Fortnum and Mason.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Women in Wine, Part Three

Alexia Luca de Tena is the winemaker for Bodegas Viña Nora.  Her 2020 Albariño is a marvel of the grape.  The full varietal wine concentrates its power on salinity, not flowers.  It carries alcohol at 13.5% abv and retails for $18.  

Viña Nora is located in the Rias Baixas region of northwestern Spain, the home of Albariño.  It is in the heart of Condado do Tea, bordering Portugal and next to the River Miño - the only inland region in the Rías Baixas Denomination of Origin.

The winery says that Alexia Luca de Tena was born into this Galician wine-making family and has been a harvest worker for as long as she can remember.  She believes in "wines that reflect the personality of the place where they are made," the granitic soil of her home.

This golden-tinted single-vineyard wine is an Albariño with a little meat on its bones.  The grape is sometimes a little too pretty for my taste, but this Nora bottling hits me just right.  The nose has a little floral aspect, but it is almost wiped out by citrus, savory and wet sidewalk minerality.  The palate brings loads of lemon, apple and apricot and a wonderful salinity that came as a surprise.  The acidity is certainly serviceable, if not razor-sharp, and the finish is long, creamy and savory. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Women In Wine, Part Two

Isabel Galindo is responsible for the 2017 Las Moradas de San Martín Garnacha, and has been the winemaker since 2002.  The winery is located on the Madrid side of the Gredos range of hills.  Las Moradas de San Martín has recovered ancient Garnacha vineyards which have been cultivated since the 12th century.  For decades, Sierra de Gredos has been seen as an under-the-radar region.

Galindo has introduced a low intervention style of winemaking and is committed to maintaining old vines.  She says she works her vineyards ecologically and with an inherent trust for the land, using natural yeast from the grapes and aiming for low sulfur dioxide levels.

The soil of the vineyard consists of sandy granitic hilltop dirt, poor in quality and perfect for growing grapes that boast great acidity, minerality and color.  The Senda wine aged for ten months in French oak barrels, alcohol stands at 14.5% abv and it retails for an incredible $16.

This is a dark purple wine, laden with shades of blueberry, cherry, anise, clove and cinnamon on the nose.  The palate offers a similar package - heavier on the fruit and lighter on the oak spice.  The tannins are firm, but not annoying, and the acidity is a real lip-smacker.  The finish goes too quickly, but is pleasant while it's there. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Weld

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌  This week, our three films star the vivacious Tuesday Weld.

Weld starred in A Safe Place in 1971, alongside Orson Welles and Jack Nicholson.  She played a New York City "hippie chick" who was a few cards short of a deck.  She has two men in her life, neither of whom are right for her, so she seeks comfort in childhood memories, including some gifts given to her by a Central Park magician.  Wonder where he's doing time right now?

The public wasn't buying it, and the critics were even harsher.  Director Henry Jaglom took most of the heat.  He says he started making films after seeing , but nowhere except on the movie poster was he mistaken for Fellini.

Freaked Out Hippie Wine is really just grape juice, sugar and yeast - make it yourself and no guarantees that it won't taste like something you'd find in prison.  Not much more hope goes out for Fish Hippie Seersucker Red.  It's made from Muscadine grapes and is available at Total Wine, although you may have to pick it up at a North Carolina store.

1968's Pretty Poison had Weld paired with Anthony Perkins, as a cheerleader and an ex-con, and you don't need two guesses to figure which was which.  Trouble doesn't take long to find them, and when it does, it turns out she has the flair for crime.  The Perkins character decides it's safer back in prison than hanging out with Ms. Poison, and that's the best move he makes in the whole picture.  Beware a cheerleader who knows how to kill and doesn't mind it one bit.

It is reportedly not poisonous, but Bitch Grenache comes from Australia and actually gets favorable reviews from users on websites not usually associated with fine wines.  The moniker suits the essence of Weld's character like a 9 mm pom pom.  Find Bitch wherever you buy your wines, beers, malt liquors, hard seltzer or rubbing alcohol. 

In Sex Kittens Go to College, from 1960, forget the cast - even though it features Mamie Van Doren, Weld, John Carradine, Jackie Coogan, Louis Nye, Vampira (not as herself) and Elektro the Robot as Thinko the Robot.  Check out the character names - Admiral Wildcat MacPherson, Legs Raffertino, Woo Woo Grabowski (his real name) and Tallahassee Tassel Tosser, among them.  That last name is a tipoff that strippers are involved, but don't get too excited unless you have the version which was released to adult theaters, featuring a lengthy dream sequence starring those exotic dancers.  Essential viewing?  You be the judge.

When sex kittens go to college at UC Davis, they join the Aggies Uncorked wine club, which sends out monthly shipments of wines with a connection to the old oenological alma mater.  At some point, the university will sell the wine made by students in the wine program - for upwards of $100 a bottle.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Loire Valley Delight - Vouvray Wine

Domaine Pichot Vouvray Le Peu de la Moriette 2020

Talk about an institution - Jean-Claude Pichot runs the domaine the way his family has since 1770.  Vineyard Brands imports it.  All three of the Pichot vineyards yield Chenin Blanc grapes, and the ones for this wine came from Le Peu de la Moriette. The wine was vinified in oak barrels, has alcohol at 12.5% abv and it cost about $18 at Whole Foods Market.

This wine is dry, has a pale yellow tint and smells like lemons, flowers and just a hint of oak.  It is a beautiful bouquet.  The palate shows more citrus along with peaches and nectarines.  There is a bit of orange zest on the finish, which is rather lengthy.  The acidity is as fresh as you need for mussels or other shellfish.  I used it in a mushroom broth - like you would make for mussels, but without them - and my wife raved about it.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Women In Wine

Ruth Fernandez is the woman winemaker behind the 2020 Dominio de Punctum Petulante White, a pétillant natural, or pét nat, wine introduced last year.  This family winery dates back to 1905, so they are not newcomers to the wine business.  She is the Punctum oenologist, working at the winery in the central part of Spain, southeast of Madrid, the Castillo y Leon region.  She is one of three siblings who lead the winery on a mission to provide organic, biodynamic wines.  They farm their grapes free of any chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers on the soil. 

Fernandez says Petulante takes sparkling wine a step farther, with minimal intervention and maximum flavor.  The grapes involved - there isn't much in the way of a tech sheet available - are likely Verdejo, Viura or a combination of the two.  This wine has alcohol at 13% abv and retails for $22.

This white, sparkling wine is actually a cloudy yellow color and brings a savory nose of citrus, floral and minerals aplenty.  The palate also rings the citrus bell, with a bit of apple and many minerals thrown into the mix.  The bubbles are scant, but the flavor is what you're really after, right?  This wine delivers white wine flavor by the carload. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - The Great Edward G

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌  This week, a trio of films which featured Mr. Edward G. Robinson.

1942's Larceny Inc. has Edward G turning his frown upside down… well, sort of.  The role of Pressure Maxwell gives Robinson a chance to show his prodigious comic chops.  He reportedly took the role specifically to soften his tough guy image, which had accumulated over a series of gangster pics starring him as the bad man.

In this one, he is a freshly released ex-con who wants to go straight as a businessman.  The bank refuses the loan he needs for seed money, so he says, "Well, I tried," and starts a complicated plan to rob said institution.  Hilarity naturally ensues.  With support from the likes of Broderick Crawford, Jack Carson, Anthony Quinn and Jackie Gleason, it's a standout picture, directed by Warner Brothers' King of the Gangster films, Lloyd Bacon.

Let's not overthink this pairing.  Grab a bottle of Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.  It's heavy on the wheat - like Pappy Van Winkle - but far easier on the wallet.

Key Largo is a film noir from that genre's golden age, 1948.  Robinson is back to the bullets here, playing a holed-up mobster during the hurricane that frames the action.  His claim to be on a fishing trip doesn't hold water for anybody.  It brings to mind the old joke that wraps up with, "You didn't come here to fish, didja?"

Just the words Key Largo summon images of the film's tense standoff between Robinson and Humphrey Bogart.  Unfortunately, it also dredges up memories of the pop song that was far too popular for a solid stretch of 1981.  Where were A Flock of Seagulls when we really needed them?

It may be hard to imagine a winery in the Florida Keys, but Key's Meads - on Key Largo - has mead, or honey wine, for the adventurous.  Of course, honey is the last thing I would compare to Rocco, G's horrific character in Key Largo.  It may be easier to get your hands on a Largo Ridge wine, from up around Ukiah, CA.

The Hatchet Man came out in 1932, meaning it was "pre-code," meaning the action included sex, drugs and a flying hatchet.  It was also "pre-woke," meaning it was okay for Edward G to play a Chinese dispenser of justice.  Of course, that was just in the setup.  For most of the movie, he plays a Chinese businessman.

Considering all the Chinese names in the character list, we are hard pressed to find one among the actors.  It is reported that moviemakers back then didn't want Americans who were playing Chinese people to be too close to actual Chinese, to prevent the audience from comparing the two.  

Bury the Hatchet White comes from The Hatch, a British Columbia winery.  It's crisp and dry and also pairs well with chow mein.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Chenin Blanc From Vouvray

Talk about an institution - Jean-Claude Pichot runs the domaine the way his family has since 1770.  Vineyard Brands imports it.  All three of the Pichot vineyards yield Chenin Blanc grapes, and the ones for this wine came from Le Peu de la Moriette. The wine was vinified in oak barrels, has alcohol at 12.5% abv and it cost about $18 at Whole Foods Market.

This wine - Domaine Pichot Vouvray Le Peu de la Moriette 2020 - is dry, has a pale yellow tint and smells like lemons, flowers and just a hint of oak.  It is a beautiful bouquet.  The palate shows more citrus along with peaches and nectarines.  There is a bit of orange zest on the finish, which is rather lengthy.  The acidity is as fresh as you need for mussels or other shellfish.  I used it in a mushroom broth - like you would make for mussels, but without them - and my wife raved about it.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Four Great Pink Wines For Spring - Or Anytime

Wine importers are important.  Good ones can sniff out the good stuff and bring it to us from all over the world.  Mack and Schühle are Miami-based importers who find great wine and pass it along at a price that is more than fair.  Founded in 1939, the company expanded to the Miami office a number of years ago.  They produce wine in Italy and Spain and distribute other wines globally.

Here are a few pink wines found by Mack and Schühle which would fit nicely on anyone's porch or patio.

Mosketto Frizzante Rosato NV

This fun, pink wine comes from the Vino d'Italia appellation, from grapes grown in Piedmont.  It's a blend of 80% Moscato and 20% Brachetto grapes which the distributor says is produced in a "modified Martinotti method."  Fermentation is stopped to keep the alcohol low and the fruit fresh.  Alcohol content is only 5.5% abv - a real summer sipper - and the wine retails for $12.

This wine is very sweet, very low in alcohol and as drinkable as it gets.  There is no brain-stumping complexity here, just sweet, simple sipping pleasure.  The Moscato/Brachetto blend is a wine of Italy, one that shows sweet floral aromas and sweet peaches on the palate.  Acidity is fairly low, but the wine pours frizzante and will be suitable for spicy or salty dishes.

Art of Earth Organic Rosé
2019 comes from Michigan negociant Woodberry Wine.  They produce wines from Germany, Spain, Argentina, Italy and this one, from France.

The appellation is Vin de France - I don't have any more specific sourcing for the vines - and the organic grapes are 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah.  The wine has alcohol at 13% abv and a sticker price of $14.

This beautiful, pale salmon-colored wine has a nose which is just as gorgeous - melon, cherry and strawberry aromas dominate, with a little herbal angle in the mix.  Herbs become more focused on the palate, which carries a nice tartness along with the racy acidity.  There is a grapefruit flavor draping the red fruit and adding to the freshness.  It's a really great, and complex, rosé. 

The 2020 Fête de Fleurs Rosé was made in the heart of the AOC Côtes de Provence Region by a cooperative of a hundred local winegrowers, Maîtres Vignerons de Vidauban.  It was formed 110 years ago in the spirit of rosé, the raison d'etre of Provence.  The terroir features the stony galet soil for which the area is known and the vintage was blessed with dry mistral winds.

The importer says the wine is released each year in time for the French celebration of Springtime, the Fete des Fleurs or Festival of Flowers.  The grapes involved are 40% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 10% Carignane, 10% Syrah, 3% Mourvèdre and 2% Rolle.  It was aged on the lees, or sur lie, carries alcohol at 13% abv - possibly as low as 11.5% - and it sells for $19.

The Acquesi Brachetto DOC Piemonte is a spumante, or sparkling wine, made from 100% Brachetto grapes grown in the Monferrato area of Piedmont.  The wine carries a very low alcohol content of 6.5% abv and a retail suggestion of $18, although it is usually lower.

This wine colors up in the beautiful garnet red for which Brachetto is famous, and it has a layer of fine, light violet bubbles atop it, which are quite long lasting.  The nose is rich with cherries, strawberries, red currant, flowers and an earthy element - an absolutely wonderful collection of aromas.  The palate is sweet with a cherry pie flavor and baking spices, all rolled into a candy treat.  The acidity is very nice.  While the winery calls this a dessert wine - it is, really - it also pairs nicely with dessert favorites like anisette cookies, chocolates or apricot tarts.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - Holden His Own

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌  This week, a trio of films starring a man's man, the one and only William Holden

The 1954 war flick, Bridges at Toko-Ri, starred Holden opposite Grace Kelly.  He plays a former WWII Navy pilot who was called from a life of relative leisure - as a lawyer - to fly Navy fighters in the Korean conflict.  It just goes to show - never do a job too well or you'll end up having to do it again.  

Holden shows unflinchingly how even a man's man can have doubts about a dangerous job, a job which he didn't feel should have been his in the first place.  He is in a squadron sent to blow up some strategic bridges, a feat that the team pulls off.  There is a bit of trouble getting back to the carrier, which produces a nail-biter of a rescue attempt.

Our wine pairing - nothing here to go with fingernails, sorry - could be Korean wine.  It's called soju, and is actually a rice spirit at about the alcoholic strength of a Port wine.  Too bad it doesn't taste as good as Port - experts say it's more like watery vodka, or worse.  Koreans drink a ton of the stuff, though, by the shot.

In 1950's Sunset Boulevard, Holden's Joe Gillis - and the pool he always wanted - show us a side of Hollywood often hidden from view.  Sheltered and living in delusions of past greatness, screen legend Norma Desmond has an employee who keeps her from finding out that her car is more in demand than she.  Gillis takes a ride on the gravy train and ends up a floater.  One of my favorite sideshows here is Jack Webb as a guy at a social gathering.  It's hard to imagine Joe Friday as a party boy.

Let’s get the party started for Sunset Boulevard with a wine from just north of Sunset.  Moraga Bel Air occupies some very pricey Los Angeles real estate, which is reflected in the price of the wine.  Get ready to shell out a couple or three Benjamins for a bottle of the good stuff.  They are ready for their close-up, Mr. DeVille.

Network was about as dark as 1976 got.  The media satire had Holden as a network news chief with a fed-up and suicidal news anchor on his hands.  He was reportedly offered the role of the disturbed talking head, but opted for the saner, cooler, man's man instead.  So the anchor became the first man "killed because he had lousy ratings."  When the story got told in bars over the years, you can bet there was someone who said, "Yeah, but lemme tell you about a guy I worked for…"

If you're mad as hell and don't know if you want a wine, a beer or a cider, here's Crazy Crazy, from Germany.  They swear it's made from grapes, but it may make you say "I'm not drinking this anymore!"

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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Super Tuscan From Tenuta Luce

Located in Montalcino, Tuscany, - Toscana IGT - the Luce winery specializes in Super Tuscan wines.  La Vite Lucente is the estate's second bottling, a 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Merlot.  The 2018 vintage was marked by rains in the winter and spring, which made up somewhat for the previous year's drought.  The summer was temperate and dry.

The 2018 Lucente was aged for a year in a mix of new and used barriques.  Alcohol hits 14.5% abv and the wine retails for $30.

This brilliant red wine presents itself elegantly, with a nose that marries the fruit of Sangiovese with the smoke of Merlot.  Dark fruit is what you smell, with a bit of vanilla and spice from the wood.  The wine drinks spectacularly, with a full mouthfeel, soft tannins and a long-lasting finish.  My friendly neighborhood publicist feels that it is a great wine with which to toast a strong, bold woman on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Ukraine Solidarity From Royal Wine Corp.

My thanks to the publicist who informed me of this great action from Royal Wine Corp.  Here is the press release:

In a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian victims and refugees under attack by Russian forces, Royal Wine Corp. will donate 100% of the proceeds of the sales starting on 2/24/2022 through 3/10/2022 of two of their leading vodka brands – Xdar, which is a Ukrainian vodka, and Lvov, a Polish vodka named after the Ukrainian town Lviv – to Emergency Ukraine. The donation will be at a minimum of $30,000.

"Royal Wine stands with the people of Ukraine and we demonstrate our support for their independence," said Mordy Herzog CEO of Royal Wine Corp. "While we are all praying and hoping for peace to return to the region we feel compelled to help in a meaningful way. As a flagship Jewish-American business, we are committed to their material and moral sustenance in their fight for freedom."

Founded in 1848, Royal Wine Corp. has been owned and operated in the United States by the Herzog family, whose winemaking roots go back eight generations to its origin in Czechoslovakia.

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