Friday, August 19, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - Auteur Week

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 select a few wines to put alongside films of auteur directors, filmmakers whose visions for the scripts were so strong that we credit them almost entirely for what appears on the screen.

A number of auteurs have become household names for fine artistes. Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini and Akira Kurosawa are among those cited whenever the topic of auteurs comes up. Any of them is worth a wine pairing, in my humble opinion.

Army of Shadows is a 1969 film about the French Resistance in World War II. Written and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, the script was adapted from a book by a real Resistance fighter, Joseph Kessel. The movie was not received well by French critics, who thought Melville kissed up to Charles de Gaulle a bit too much for their liking. It wasn't released in the U.S. until 37 years later, when it was hailed as a masterpiece.

The film does not sugarcoat the Resistance, presenting instead a stark and haunting view of the danger those men and women faced as they fought to free their country from the Nazis. It's a testimony to them that the word resistance came into popular usage during the Trump administration.

During WWII, many French winemakers acted bravely to hide Jews in their wine cellars and prevent the country's premier wines from being looted by the Germans. Bernard de Nonancourt, the head of the Laurent-Perrier Champagne house, was a member of the Resistance. Let's blow the cork on any of their fine Champagnes to pair with Army of Shadows. You can find some of them for as little as $40.

1972's Aguirre, the Wrath of God was written and directed by Werner Herzog. The movie fictionalizes the search for the gold of El Dorado. It was shot in what must have been a hellish five weeks on the Amazon River. 

Klaus Kinski, who stars as the Spanish conquistador Aguirre, reportedly ranted and raved like a madman at Herzog over their differences in how Aguirre should be played. Kinski wanted the ranting and raving madman approach, while Herzog opted for something a little more low key. Herzog got his way, and some say Kinski acted at gunpoint, although Herzog denied the story. If it's even remotely true, that would be one ballsy auteur. Herzog and Kinski worked together again on four more films, so there must have been an attraction that rose above the threat of violence.

It would be easy to select a wine from the El Dorado AVA in California's Sierra Foothills for Aguirre and be done with it. I even found wines called Conquistador from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Chile. However, a Spanish conquistador deserves a Spanish wine, one that may have been on board the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria. Lustau's Don Nuño Oloroso sherry is dry, dark brown and rich, and available for around $25.

From 1974, Celine and Julie Go Boating is a French fantasy from director Jacques Rivette. There is a bit of Alice in Wonderland in it, along with other literary inspirations, and it has a title that probably loses something in the translation. For most of the movie, you’re wondering, "Where's the damn boat?" A lot of people like it, though, and it is quite highly regarded by critics, too. 

There is a fanciful friendship which becomes fueled by eating mysterious candies and taking trips to a house in another time. The young ladies attempt to unravel a mystery at the house and find that time follows them back home and lets them become auteurs themselves, rewriting the mystery. It is a trippy film, and fully deserving of a trippy wine pairing.

Shroom Wines claims to sell non-alcoholic wine made from the grapes you know and love with a bit of magic mushroom mixed in with them. I don't know if the laws governing psilocybin have been relaxed - or tossed aside - but the last time I had magic mushrooms, there was definitely an air of illegality about the whole affair. Well, trippy is trippy, and if you’ve got some Shroom wine on hand, or just some shrooms, schlagers!


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