Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Cooking With Aglianico

The 2021 Epicuro Aglianico was produced by the D'Aquino family. The brand is not listed on their website, so this may be a second label from the maker. I remember reading someone's opinion, years ago, that Epicuro was a good cheap wine to look for. 

The grapes came from southern Italy's Puglia region. Alcohol tips only 13% abv and my bottle cost $7 at Trader Joe's. I always use an Italian wine in my pasta sauce, and this Aglianico gave the sauce a dark richness that I had never found before. 

This wine has a medium-dark purple color in the glass. The nose is somewhat muted, but a good sniff will find some blackberry and blueberry aromas with a strong rustic sensibility. The flavors are certainly not shy about coming forward. Very dark fruit comes forth right away. A bit of oak spice makes itself known, but does not overwhelm. The tannins are firm and the acidity is refreshing. This is a full and juicy wine, with a finish that lingers awhile.

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Monday, February 26, 2024

A Rosé From Germany

When we look for a good rosé, we often rely on Provence. There is nothing wrong with that at all, of course. However, would it surprise you to find a high quality rosé that was produced in Germany? It surprised me. 

The 2022 Emma Reichart Rheinhessen Pinot Noir Rosé is a steal at just $5 at Trader Joe's. Alcohol sits at 12% abv. The grapes were grown in Rheinhessen, the biggest of Germany's 13 wine regions. Thankfully, on the label the Pinot Noir does not go by its German name of Spätburgunder.

This rosé has a lovely rose petal pink shade in the glass. The nose offers red fruit, such as cherries and raspberries, along with citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit. The palate has some heft for a pink wine, and it drinks like a rosato. Acidity is fresh but not overpowering and the finish is lengthy and pleasant. For the money, it is a fine rosé.

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Friday, February 23, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - Happy Birthday, Sidney

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 celebrate the fact that Sir Sidney Poitier walked the earth with us regular humans for 94 years. His birthday of February 20th is a great reason to pair wines with a few of the films in which he starred.

Sidney Poitier sought out roles that challenged society's norms and he became a loud voice in the fight for civil rights. That, right there, is reason enough to lift a glass in his memory. But on top of his contributions to film, and life in general, the Queen of England made him a knight. An actual knight. I never heard him talk about that, though. If it were me, I would never stop talking about it.

Brother John premiered in 1971, a damn good year for the big screen. The French Connection, Straw Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, The Last Picture Show, Harold and Maude, they were all great films that made a mark. Unfortunately, Brother John didn't make anyone's "Best Of" list. The critics didn't exactly welcome it with open arms. Some of them were downright rude about it. Vincent Canby got a little bit cranky about it.

Brother John is an enigmatic character who has answers to questions no one's asked, answers no one really wants to hear. This puts him at odds with southern law enforcement, a very popular Poitier theme.

Let's choose a wine from a city in France called Poitiers. It is in a region known as Haut-Poitou, and it is a bit of an outlier from its Loire Valley kin. Domaine La Tour Beaumont produces a Cabernet Franc which has a price tag of $10. Incroyable, non?

The real Sidney Poitier vs Southern Law Enforcement movie hit the front burner in 1967 with In the Heat of the Night. Just as the civil rights movement was reaching a riot-stoked peak in America, this film shows a white, racist southern sheriff and a black northern detective learning to work together despite their extreme differences. 

Poitier as Virgil Tibbs has one of the most memorable lines in movie history when he answers Rod Steiger's question about what they call him in Philly. The tense reading of "They call me Mister Tibbs" gave Poitier a career catchphrase. It was so good that it was used as the title for one of the film's sequels. 

There is a Tibbs wine on the market for about $10, and it's a Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County's Sta. Rita Hills. You're thinking, "Right, a $10 Pinot Noir. Pick up a gallon jug of Gallo while you’re at it." People say the Mayhall Tibbs Pinot Noir is a decent little wine. Still, it is a $10 Pinot Noir. Hey, gamble a little. They call me Mayhall Tibbs.

In 1967, Poitier also starred in To Sir With Love, a pop culture smash that once again left the critics unconvinced. But, it's a fairy tale, innit?  Everyone wanted a teacher like Sir. Social, racial and sexual inequality ended up on a level playing field, thanks to his nurturing hand. South Africa banned the film, so they must have been doing something right. 

Pop star Lulu made her first film appearance in Sir and also sang the title song, which was one of the biggest hits of the year on the charts. The Mindbenders also appeared as the dance band.

Let's lift a glass of British sparkling wine to Sir, with much love. Hattingley Valley Wines makes a classic reserve brut which goes for just $60 a bottle. It is a happy mix of Chardonnay, along with Pinots Noir, Meunière and Gris. Is it as good as Champagne? After you've plunked down the $60, you tell us. 

Happy birthday Sir.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

A Wow! Wine From Spain's North

Antonio Díez Martín is an artisan winemaker from Spain's Ribera del Duero region. He pulls grapes from the vines in his family's vineyard, which has 100 years of grape production behind it. He sells wine through the Naked Wines network, and he credits those angels with helping him to start producing wine again after a fire destroyed his winery and back vintages eleven years ago.

This 2021 Verdejo is a single vineyard estate wine, a white which typifies the refreshing wines of northern Spain. Martin's labels are cool, too. They remind me of Picasso. The wine carries alcohol at 13% abv, and it cost a little under $10 at Whole Foods Market.

Expected aromas of citrus appear first in this pale, yellow wine - lemons, limes, oranges. There is a lot of zest in there, and a sense of what the sidewalk smells like after a rain. A soapy undercurrent of lanolin brings a bit more complexity. The palate is straight-line savory, with salinity leading the fruit around on a leash. Acidity is fresh and lively without the razor-sharp edge that can be disconcerting. Pair this wine with seafood of any sort or pasta and oil dishes. 

Monday, February 19, 2024

Oakless Chianti

If all you know of Italy's Chianti region is that straw-wrapped wine bottle with the candle drippings down the side from your college dorm, you need to know more.  First of all, they dispensed with the straw baskets years ago.  Second, the area has undergone a complete transformation since those days.  It is now home to some of Tuscany's best wines.

Ruffino was founded in 1877, when cousins Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino set up a small winery in the town of Pontassieve, near Florence.  Wine had been a thing there for ages, but the two Tuscan natives felt certain that much of the area's greatness had yet to be revealed, what with Tuscany's mineral-laden soils, the cooling influence of the Mediterranean Sea and the dry summers that wine grapes just love. 

Ruffino lays claim to being one of the first major wineries with vineyard estates in Italy's three most famous wine-producing regions – Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

The 2020 Chianti Superiore is made from 70% Sangiovese grapes and a 30% blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Those grapes really get a chance to shine, since aging takes place in concrete and stainless steel tanks for six months, then another two months in the bottle.  Superiore serves as a sort of midpoint between the Chianti DOCG and the more complex Chianti Classico.  Alcohol ticks 13.5% abv and it generally sells for around $12.

Aromas of black cherry and dark raspberry come forth on the nose, nice and bright due to the oakless aging process. Acidity is refreshing and the tannins are firm. This is a good wine to pair with a spaghetti dinner, with or without meatballs. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - Creature Comforts

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 pair wines with three creature features, the stuff we stayed up late to watch on Friday nights. Maybe we still do.

Oh joy! Three monster movies are on the menu this week. Peeps who were old enough to go into theaters by themselves will remember sitting in the icy air conditioning, soaking up the scares from the likes of Gill-man. Younger folks *ahem* will remember the Friday night Fear Theater presentations on TV, or the double features on the Saturday kiddie show at the movie house down the street. The former always featured popcorn in a big bowl, while the latter always featured Raisinettes and M&Ms bouncing off our heads. 

Revenge of the Creature was surely one of the highlights of 1955, along with The Honeymooners and "Speedoo" by the Cadillacs. It was a three dimensional fright fest, which also went under the names Return of the Creature and for those who didn't get the connection, Return of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. You have to really spell it out for some people. If there had been any more rereleases, they would have had to put the title in all capital letters.

In Revenge, Gill-man has apparently recovered from the hail of bullets he suffered in the original film and is incarcerated in an oceanarium to be studied by scientists. They make the critical mistake of bringing in a beautiful female researcher, and Gill-man falls in lust again. He can't help it, he's a sucker for a pretty face. It's terror in the city this time around, as nobody wanted to go back to the Amazon to shoot this sequel. 

Look for a fresh-from-Central-Casting Clint Eastwood here, as a young scientist trying to explain why there's a missing rat in his labcoat pocket. "You were going to try and blame the cat. Well, weren't ya, punk?"

Here is the perfect wine for Gill-man: Gillman Vineyard Clairet. Okay, so there's no hyphen, and it's from New Zealand, and it's pink. Any other complaints before we move on? This blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot runs about $60.

From the previous year, Creature from the Black Lagoon got to the 3D party a little late. It was shown only in some theaters with that technology. It is the movie where the Gill-man got his start. When it comes to instinct-driven characters in the movies, that creature has primal motivation. Does Gill-man want to kill? No. Does he want to destroy? Not really. Does he want to find a way back home? Hell no. He wants the girl. And, as we just mentioned, he keeps jumping into Love Lagoon webbed feet first. 

Not only is Gill-man the ultimate man-in-a-suit movie monster, he has also inspired countless other creatures, a song, a casino slot machine and homoerotic literature. Pretty good for a creature who just crawled out of a river.

You've seen Black Lagoon Carignan in this space before. The wine comes from the south of France - Languedoc-Roussillon, to be precise - and has a depiction of the creature on the label. At least, I'm guessing it is the Gill-man. It looks like it could be a pair of frog's legs, which is not a bad idea for what to nibble on while watching and imbibing. 

1961's Creature from the Haunted Sea is a Roger Corman special that was shot in a week for probably only a little more than the money you have in your pockets right now. The horror genre gets played for laughs, with several other genres du jour thrown in. One of the stars of the picture was Robert Towne, who would later win an Oscar for writing Chinatown. Corman may have been the B-movie king, but he knew how to surround himself with talented people. 

The plot centers on a scheme to rob Cuba's national treasury, placing the blame on the mythical Creature from the Haunted Sea. But, guess what? The creature isn't mythical, it's real, and it doesn't like being used as a beard for robbery. Never mind that it looks like an overgrown muppet, payback is a puta. 

A wine from a haunted sea would be perfect here, but is the water off Santa Barbara haunted? Only the creature knows for sure. However, the folks at Ocean Fathoms Wine say they know that their bottles age better than others because they are underwater. At least they were underwater. The company never got the proper permits from the California Coastal Commission to sink those cases, and the agency made them pour out the wine. Every last drop. Will they have more? That depends on who is handling their paperwork, I suppose. Their website looks kinda haunted right now, but if they do start selling wine again, be ready to spend $500 for a bottle with barnacles on it.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

A Classic From Chianti Classico

The Sangiovese grapes for the 2020 Il Grigio da San Felice Riserva Chianti Classico were grown at the San Felice estate vineyard in Castelnuovo Berardenga, Siena. That is the part of Chianti Classico where it is said the wines are the ripest and richest in the region. 

It was a mild winter in the 2020 vintage, but a freeze in the spring lowered the yield of the Sangiovese grapes. Lower yield means higher concentration, so all was not lost.  

Most of the wine achieved malolactic fermentation in steel tanks before being transferred to Slovenian oak casks for a 24-month aging period. The remaining 20% went into smaller French oak barriques. The wine aged for three months in the bottle to justify its riserva status. The label art shows a painting by Titian of a knight in armor who was instrumental in a Siena military victory. Alcohol for Il Grigio hits 13.9% abv and the retail price sits just a bit below the $28 mark. 

This wine has a dark purple color and a complex nose. Aromas of black cherry, violets, anise, clove, leather and earth are plentiful in the bouquet. The palate offers a medium mouthfeel with great acidity and firm tannins. The fruit flavors are carried along by the more savory aspects of the profile. It is a wine which would love a pairing with a steak or a pork chop, or with a meaty stew. 

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Monday, February 12, 2024

Pour Some Chardonnay On My Popcorn

California Chardonnay- big, bombastic white wines full of oak and all that implies - is a style many wine drinkers have been shying away from in recent years.  The swing toward unoaked - naked, if you will - Chardonnays which emphasize the flavor of the fruit and the effect of the earth has left many old-line California Chardonnays holding the oak.

I'll admit: I love the purity and minerality expressed in an unoaked or low-oaked Chardonnay.  Burgundy found long ago how much was to be gained by letting the terroir do the talking.  There are times, though, when you want a Chardonnay to get all hedonistic on you.  For me, that's in the wintertime.

This bottle of 2021 Edna Valley Buttery Chardonnay (they put the hedonism right on the label) somehow managed to survive the holiday season, which is when I most appreciate a good, oaky, buttery Chardonnay. 

The winery folks say this wine is a "bright and creamy expression of California's Central Coast," and their location in San Luis Obispo County would support that. The label, however, shows an appellation of "California," so there are likely some grapes from outside their estate included. Alcohol tips 14.3% abv and the price is listed on the website at $15. I found mine at a grocery store sale for about half that. 

This wine colors up straw-gold in the glass. The nose, which I was expecting to offer aromas of a movie theater snack bar, actually shows more fruit than butter or oak. Meyer lemon and tangerine are most noticeable, along with a slightly savory salinity. On the palate, that's where the butter is. Citrus flavors mingle with the sweet oak spice. Although there is a lot of that spice, the oak treatment is handled extremely well. The acidity is fresh and invigorating, too, despite the creaminess of the wine. For pairing, think chicken in an alfredo sauce or a scampi. 

Friday, February 9, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - Soul Music

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 put on the headphones/earbuds and let the music wash over us. Are we high? If not, we have some wine pairings to go along with the musical movies.

This is one of those weeks where music and movies merge, a happy affair, for me at least, even when the sound and the pictures are not of the highest quality. The beach party movies come to mind, as do Elvis flicks. Somewhere, there is probably a home movie of the legendary 30-minute version of "Louie Louie" recorded at a Hell’s Angels party. That would fall into this category as well. But on we go to the films that reach loftier heights.

The 1986 film, Crossroads, was inspired by the legend of blues pioneer Robert Johnson. The legend says he went down to the crossroads and sold his soul to the devil to get his guitar prowess. If that's how it's done, what did Carlos Santana have to give up? Eric Clapton? Stevie Ray Vaughn? Well, that last one doesn't need answering. We know what he gave up. 

For authenticity, guitar god Ry Cooder provided a lot of music for the movie, but he was passed over to play the guitarist in the film's climactic guitar battle. Ry was reportedly a little bit pissed that Steve Vai ended up shredding the hot licks. If anyone else wants to carp about the choice, Vai could easily say, "Hold my beer" while showing you a thing or two. 

Napa Valley's Crossroads Wines are made by Samantha Rudd and utilize grapes with a pedigree, from places like Oakville and Mt. Veeder. You may have to shop around to find them, and you will spend $80 or more for a Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. Their Sauvignon Blanc runs quite a bit less. 

Honeydripper was written and directed by John Sayles for a 2007 release. The plot deals with the owner of a blues club in rural Alabama and his effort to save the place by hiring a hot, young guitar man, played by Gary Clark, Jr. Keb’ Mo also appears and R&B great Ruth Brown would have had a starring role, had she lived long enough. She was replaced by Mable John.

The movie ran hot and cold for critics, with one scribe taking issue with caricatures like a "blind guitar picker, redneck sheriff, revival meetings, cotton-picking, fights in juke joints and the like." Having grown up in the American South, I can attest that blind guitar pickers, redneck sheriffs, revival meetings, cotton-picking and fights in juke joints are not so much caricatures as they are the actual stuff of everyday life. 

The story is great, and the music mixes old classics like "Good Rockin" Tonight," "Move It On Over" and "Why Don’t You Do Right" with stuff penned in more modern times. Having Gary Clark, Jr and Keb’ Mo on hand certainly doesn't hurt the soundtrack's street cred.

I ran across a recipe for a cocktail called Honeydripper, but there's no booze in it. What are they thinking? Since we are safely clear of Dry January, try Batch Mead, located in Temecula. It's honey wine. Their Smokin Hickory Barrel Aged Mead doesn't sound like it would get you into a fight in an Alabama roadhouse in 1950. Well, actually, it does. Try it anyway. 

Charlie Parker's brief life was directed for the big screen by Clint Eastwood. The biopic Bird showed the saxophonist's connection with his wife, Chan, and trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Red Rodney. Red and Bird were drug buddies of a sort, and the heroin no doubt contributed to Parker's fatal heart attack at the age of 34. As for Rodney, he lived to be 66, although he was plagued by heroin addiction, stroke and lung cancer for many of those years.

Despite the fantastic performance by Forest Whitaker as Parker, the movie stands as one of Eastwood's least successful films. It has a solid following these days, particularly among jazz fans. The soundtrack features re-recorded tracks with Parker's sax work extracted from original takes and cleaned up through the magic of modern audio technology. 

How can we not give at least a cursory glance to Jazz Cellars? They are in the Sierra Foothills village of Murphys, California, the town that needs to either drop the S or add an apostrophe. Their Grenache Rosé is a $24 bottle of Calaveras County grapes, jazzed up to a beautiful pinkish hue. 

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Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Pink Wine From Monterey County

The Seaglass Wine Company is based in St. Helena, California, while making wines from vineyards south of Napa, in the state's Central Coast appellation. They notably pull fruit from the Los Alamos Vineyard in Santa Barbara County, but for their Rosé they went to Monterey County for the grapes.

The 2022 Seaglass Wine Rosé was made from 53% Grenache grapes, 23% Pinot Noir, 19% Syrah and 5% Viognier. The wine was crafted entirely from free-run juice, with no pressed grapes at all. The winery claims that this move helps produce a softer wine with a lighter body. Fermentation took place cold, in steel tanks, with no malolactic fermentation. Alcohol hits 13.5% and I bought the wine for less than $10.

This wine has a pale salmon color, like onion skin. The nose carries light aromas of strawberry and citrus, but easy on the lemon. On the palate, there is a lovely sense of fruit, with minerals along for the ride. Strawberry, raspberry, lemon and a very light flavor of cardamom. Acidity is fresh and the finish is lengthy. 

Monday, February 5, 2024

Too Big, Too Bold, Too Brawny: Bogle's Not-So-Essential Red

The Bogle family has farmed the California delta region for six generations, 50 years now in the effort of growing wine grapes. Like a lot of farming families in the area, they started out selling their fruit to others, then got wise and started turning their grapes into wine themselves. 

The 2020 Essential Red is a California red blend of four grapes: 53% Petite Sirah, 23% Syrah, 16% Teroldego and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was aged for a full year in American oak barrels. Alcohol is right where one would expect it to be, 14.5%. Essential Red sells for $10 or less. The Bogle website suggests making a mulled wine of it. I am not a fan of such, but it does seem to be a good use for this bottle, as bold and brawny as it is. 

This wine is quite dark and quite aromatic. The nose would be fruit-forward if the oak spices weren't so strident. The big display shows dark fruit - plum, blackberry and black currant - carried along by a huge whiff of clove, cedar, tobacco, cardamom and several other occupants of the spice rack, I'm sure. The palate is similarly blessed, or handicapped, depending on your own view of oak treatment. The oak in this wine is heavy-handed and best suited for blunt-force trauma. That is disappointing, since I have long been a fan of Bogle's wines. I’ll stick with their other offerings in the future. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - Tortured Artists

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 dealing with the downside of being a fine artiste.

The 1986 biodrama, Caravaggio, is an interpretive account of the life, and death, of Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. His name was shortened for the movie title likely because the original wouldn't fit on a marquee. 

Caravaggio was what one might call "ahead of his time," in that he ran through his 17th century life, and the art world, with little regard for how others viewed him. His childhood was tough, his adult years even tougher. Those years ended before they numbered forty, and his death is still a matter for speculation. The movie opts to believe the, ahem, lead poisoning theory, while fever and murder are still getting good odds. 

Murder wouldn't seem out of bounds, as this tortured artist led a violent life that included killing a man, an act for which he was given a death sentence. He managed to evade that fate while seeking a pardon from the Pope. 

Malta winery Marsovin has a Merlot called Caravaggio, presumably after the artist since one of his paintings is depicted on the label. It should have been the one featuring Bacchus, if I had been asked. But it's not, and no one did. If you can find it, Caravaggio the wine costs about ten bucks.

The Music Lovers, from 1971, is a Ken Russell film that concerns the life of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. His name was, again shortened for the movie title, because who the hell ever called him anything but Tchaikovsy? 

If you want a real tortured artist, this Tchaikovsky guy is the real McCoyvski. He sees his mother die a horrible death, marries a nymphomaniac who turns out to be just a plain old maniac, and hides his homosexual identity for his entire life. It's enough to drive a tortured artist to drink.

Fortunately, that's what we're here for. Vinoterra’s Saperavi is from Georgia, which is close enough for a Russian wine for me. You could also go with a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley, and no one will take points off your grade for the easy reach. Either way, plan to spend around $30. 

1972's Savage Messiah was about 20th century French sculptor and painter Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. The film was directed and produced by Ken Russell. Hey, didn't we just hear from him? Yes, he liked making movies about artists. 

This artist, Gaudier-Brzeska, did not get a lot of time to become tortured. He was killed at the age of 23 by the Germans in WWI as a member of the French army. That is a pretty big drag, but he did cram a lot into his short life. Gaudier-Brzeska left his native France for London while he was still a teenager and managed some (pre-war) studies in Germany. I would imagine that there aren't many people who died as young as he who are still remembered for their accomplishments. 

For any of these films about tortured artists, this is the wine to have. Tortured Artist Albariño is made by a Paso Robles outfit called League of Rogues. This refreshing white was made from grapes that were yanked from an Edna Valley vineyard and tortured until they became wine. They are okay with it now. 

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