Friday, April 28, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Three Great Movies

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 examine three films which always turn up in discussions of the greatest of all time.

In case you don't get enough exposure to feelings of entitlement in your average day, take in a viewing of Rules of the Game. The French film from 1939 brings enough biting satire to the table to cover a full day even in an entitlement-rich place like La-La Land.

The setting of Jean Renoir's hard-nosed comedy is a country estate in France, where a group of bougie pals get together for a weekend soirée. The dance card includes staring down the impending World War with an overnight bag in one hand and a magnum of Champagne in the other. The romp includes a dashing aviator's hurt feelings, mistaken identities, and death as the recipe for a bunch of king-sized mal de têtes

You'll want only the best for this viewing party, and we're not talking about Veuve Clicquot. A good bottle of vintage Dom Perignon will run you about three bills - but it could still leave you with stars in your eyes if you gulp too much of it.

In 1941, Orson Welles added Citizen Kane to the G.O.A.T. consideration. It was his debut as a director, and we'll wait while you find us another first-time effort that rose to that height. Go ahead, we have all day. 

The film makes "Rosebud" one of the all-time great movie spoilers, right up there with "Willis is dead for the whole movie," "Bambi's mom gets shot" and "Old Yeller dies."

Neither Kane nor Rules were received very well by audiences of the day, although Welles collected a writing Oscar and Kane garnered heaps of praise for its cinematography and editing. The things that always struck me about Citizen Kane were the sets. How big is your fireplace? How much space lies between you and your spouse at the dinner table? Does your mansion have a warehouse attached?

Since Charles Foster Kane is believed to be at least partially inspired by William Randolph Hearst, let's pair a wine from Hearst Ranch in San Simeon. The 2020 Pancho Petit Verdot and the 2020 GSM both sell for $52. You supply the headlines and let them supply the wine.

1942's To Be Or Not to Be is regarded as a comedy classic today, but it wasn't always so. The satire of the Jack Benny/Carol Lombard vehicle missed the mark for many at the time of its release. There was something about people not finding the humor wrapped in a Nazi uniform. To be fair, there was a camp that saw the film for what it was, so the verdict at the time was mixed.

I have wondered how a Beloved Entertainer like Benny ended up in the lead role of the play-within-the-movie, Gestapo. He was really a "playing the cornfields" type of comic. Well, director Ernst Lubitsch reportedly wrote the role with Benny in mind, which so impressed him that he jumped at the chance to become Josef Tura.

The movie's troupe of actors plays the part of Hitler's goons so well that they even fool Hitler. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, serve Veuve Clicquot and call it Dom. You'll save about $250 and still get all the bubbles you want. 

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Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A Mixtape For Your Palate

If you have a history with mixtapes, you might really love the label art on this white sangria from Spain. It features representations of those blank cassettes we filled with the best songs available, only for those who really deserved them. Don't get me wrong - the picture is nice, but I think you'll like what's mixed on the inside of the bottle, too.

Spanish producer Elvi makes a red and a white sangria, both from Tempranillo grapes with other juice flavors added. Sangria, be it red or white, is a great quaff for a hot summer day. This bottle will save you the trouble of mixing it up yourself. Of course, some of us don't mind making our own special mixes.

The label proclaims that this white sangria is 100% natural grape wine with natural flavors. The alcohol is predictably light at just 7% abv and it sells for $11. The label also has markings indicating that it is kosher, and it is imported by the Royal Wine Company, kosher wine specialists. However, I discovered elsewhere that this white sangria is not kosher for Passover.

The nose of this wine shows huge pears, peaches, melon and apricot. They are all on the palate as well, and the fruit is kept in the semi-sweet range. Acidity is not the strong suit here, but the sip is plenty fun on its own.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Man Drinks Wine - For Dogs

The 2021 Bardog California Cabernet Sauvignon is dedicated to Man's Best Friend, otherwise known as the canine companions often found in bars and tasting rooms. Plenty of "bone-vivant" is promised on the label, and the winery puts their money where their four-footed friends are, donating to animal rescues across North America in a partnership with the Petfinder Foundation.

The Bardog wine was aged in new French oak barrels. Alcohol tips in at 13.5% abv and it retails for $12.50.

There is a medium-dark tint in the glass, while the nose displays red fruit - plums, raspberries - and a healthy dose of oak spice - clove, cinnamon, mocha - along with an herbal note of eucalyptus. The palate is fruit-forward enough to keep the oak at bay and there is a rustic chalkiness to the wine, which I find appealing.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Israeli White Wine With Great Nose, Palate And Acidity

The Sinai White M Series 2021 from Israel's Psâgot winery is made from 76% Gewürztraminer grapes, 10% Viognier, 7% Chardonnay and 7% Sauvignon Blanc, all grown in the northern part of the Jerusalem Mountains.

Alcohol tips only 13% abv, retails is $25 and winemaker Sam Soroka attests that the wine is kosher for Passover and mevushal. 

The floral and fruity nose is as sweet as could be hoped for, while the palate offers fleshy peach, pear and melon flavors with a nice acidity that begs for food pairing. I had mine with a delicious white pizza, and it was perfect.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Kosher Cab From Galilee

Israel's Carmel Winery has their Appellation series, wines produced from grapes grown in the Judean Hills, Galilee and Shomron. The label of the 2020 Carmel Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon from Galilee shows the likeness of an Israeli gazelle, endangered and indigenous to the Galilee.  Alcohol touches 14% abv while the price tag reads $25. The wine was aged a year in oak barrels.

The dark ruby kosher wine from Galilee has a nose which is rustic and earthy. Plum and other dark red fruit aromas abound, while spices show themselves well. The palate shows plenty of minerals and earth notes without crossing over into chalkiness. The finish is medium long.