Monday, December 25, 2023

Blood Of The Vines - Holiday Cheer

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're working our streaming platforms as if they are pack animals. Christmas movie after Christmas movie after Christmas movie, only pausing for refills, bathroom breaks and an occasional viewing of Die Hard. We have wine pairings, too, so don't say we didn't give you anything for Christmas. Happy holidays!

The original film version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is from 1938. That's 85 years ago and, yes Virginia, there were movies then. With talking and everything. A Christmas Carol has been remade a number of times over the years, notably in 1951, with Alastair Sim in the lead role. Yes, Virginia, it was filmed in black and white. Colorized later, for your protection. Sim was a great Scrooge, but has there been a bad one? My fave? Jim Backus, from Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

Dickens let Ebeneezer Scrooge's nephew Fred describe Port to Bob Cratchit: "It's wine, Bob.  A cheery, warming, goodly wine.  A wine that'll race through your veins with little torches.  It's port, Bob.  The fifth essence of the Christmas spirit." Well, way to bring it, Fred.

Quinta de la Rosa's vineyards are on the slopes above Portugal's Douro River, and the grapes are crushed by foot. Ruby Port is usually the least expensive of the many different styles of the wine. The de la Rosa Ruby Reserve Lot No. 601 tends to be slightly drier than the norm. The fruit flavors are bold, while the acidity rips and the tannins exert their will, with little torches. 

Christmas in Connecticut was released in 1945 to great success.  The end of the war left people hungry for a screwball comedy about food, romance and a hero returning home from the conflict.  Usually, characters who are far from home and dream of "a steak that thick" are marked for death.  But Dennis Morgan's wounded warrior escapes the worst and actually gets his meal, in the form of Barbara Stanwyck.  

Actually, he gets his meals from those around her who can cook. She provided the love interest, all-important in a holiday movie.

In addition to the seasonal setting, a sleigh ride adds to the holiday flavor.  Me, I've never even seen a real sleigh, but apparently back then, in Connecticut, they were left unattended outside barn dances, just there for the taking.  Understand that not only will you spend a Christmassy night in jail, but Grand Theft Sleigh is sure to land you on Santa's naughty list.

A wine from Connecticut would be fine here, but how about one which was made in a WWII-era airfield?  The Nutmeg State's Saltwater Farm Vineyard has a Cabernet Franc with enough fruit and spice to tempt Santa before he's finished assembling the kids' toys.

1940's The Shop Around the Corner is a wonderful movie, one of the best ever made about the holiday season. There is Christmas shopping, shopping for food for Christmas dinner, more Christmas shopping, talking about Christmas dinner, shopping again, and decorating the shop for Christmas. Isn't anyone going to put on a play showing us the real meaning of Christmas? Anyone? Charlie Brown? And how about some Christmas music instead of Ochi Chernye? "And look, the music box plays 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' when you open it!" 

Here it is in a nutshell: He can't stand her. She can't stand him. Then, they fall for each other anonymously. Swipe left in person, swipe right on the internet, which was called writing letters back then. It's the love story version of "Well, I guess there won't be a Christmas this year… but wait!"

Okay, so the store employees are a family unit like no other, the love that runs among them is the fabric of this movie and the fact that they literally save the life of their boss, the store owner… well, isn't that the kind of love that Christmas is all about?

If the shop around the corner from your home is a wine shop, that's good news wrapped in bad. The good news is, you can browse there any time you want. The bad news is, you'll go broke buying wine everyday. As long as we're going broke buying wine, let's buy the best. Hungary's Tokaji Aszu is generally regarded as the best dessert wine in the world. It is expensive, and it is worth it.

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