Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts

Friday, July 2, 2021

Blood Of The Vines - Movies That Aren't Really 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, a "very special" Blood of the Vines for the celebration of the USA's birthday.  The special that's not really special concerns movies that aren't really movies.  Pass the popcorn.

The 1974 film, Pardon My Blooper, presents the same sort of broadcast "misteaks" compiled by Kermit Schafer in his record albums of years previous.  Schafer probably popularized the word "blooper" - a flub or mistake by an announcer or actor - all by himself.  I had the "Pardon My Blooper" record in my teens, and was often amused by the entertaining cover art depicting a TV camera holding its lens, as if it had been punched in the face, and a radio microphone plugging its ears.  Well, I was easily amused in my teens.  I don't think that even then, the film version of Blooper would have held my interest for ten minutes.  It is amusing, though, to watch the staged segments in this movie.  The bad lighting is the same in all of them, and I think it's even the same actress in about half of them.

Yes, Virginia, the bloopers are phony.  Although Blooper is billed in the credits as a documentary, many of the gaffes were recreated in the studio, with limited casting and awful lighting.  Oh, the humanity.  

Celebrate the 4th of July with many clips of a guy who sounds like a newscaster saying "take a leak," instead of "take a look."  Spoonerisms, transposed words and saying "shitty" instead of "city."  That's blooper comedy, my friend.

You'll need booze to get through this one.  Fortunately, one of the more famous bloopers from early YouTube days concerned Georgia's Château Élan winery.  You can see it by Googling - or Binging, if you prefer - Grape Lady Epic Fail.  The TV reporter was trying to foot-stomp some grapes and took a tumble while doing so.  Try a Chambourcin, since that's what she stomping on when she slipped and fell.

Columbo Meets Scotland Yard was actually just a long TV show.  It aired in 1972 as the Columbo episode, "Dagger of the Mind," as one of the movie-length shows from the series.  This one has the disheveled detective in London, helping to investigate a murder.  What, not enough action in L.A. to suit Columbo?  At least his raincoat finally comes in handy.

Have a Scotch with Columbo, if only because of the meme showing a Columbo lookalike holding a Chivas Regal, under the words "so good if you have something to forget."  Of course, Columbo always remembered, if at the last minute.

Now, more television, as The Meanest Men in the West is actually two episodes of  "The Virginian" from the early '60s, TV's Western Era.  The trailer boasts that "Lee Marvin is mean, Charles Bronson is meaner."  What no mention of Chuck Norris?  The Mean Academy will have something to say about that. 

Is it just me, or was "The Virginian" the only TV series without any hooks at all?  (No offense to Lee J. Cobb fans).  I don't recall any Virginian catch phrases, running jokes, theme song or special episodes, even these two.  On a high note, one of the episodes was written and directed by Samuel Fuller and Charles Grodin appears in the other one.  Well, the series drew some great talent, so someone must have been watching it.

Gotta have a Virginia wine for the mean guys.  Stinson Vineyards makes a tough-guy rosé, from the brawny Tannat grape.  Rosé for The Meanest Men in the West?  That's why they started calling it Brosé, bro. 

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Two Wonderful Georgian Wines

Sun Wine is wine from Georgia - the country, not the state.  No Foghorn Leghorn imitations are needed, but if you can manage a decent Eastern European or Western Asian accent, get that one going as you pour.  The republic of Georgia has more than 500 grape varieties on vine.  The label on the bottles mention that in 2016 archaeologists discovered clay vessels in the country containing cultivated grape seeds that date back to 6,000 B.C. - prompting Sun Wines to lay claim that Georgia was the birthplace of wine.

The Sun Wine story dates back more than 50 years, when grand-dad Mzekalashvili planted some Rkatsiteli vines and started making wine.  He used - as does the present winery - qvevri, giant terracotta clay pots in which the grapes turn into wine.  Sun Wines are brought to the U.S. by Georgian wine importer Sada Wine Imports of Philadelphia.

The 2018 Saperavi is a dry red wine made from Saperavi grapes - the name means "to give color," which they do indeed in this dark wine.  The wine has an alcohol level of only 12% abv and sells for about $18.  It really took me back a bit, to Spanada, a wine my mother used to drink back in the 1970s.  That is not an insult, by the way, but a compliment.

The nose on the Saperavi is dark and rich, just beautiful.  Aromas of blackberry and cassis join with savory notes of tobacco and leather.  The palate brings black cherry into play and a fresh acidity keeps it lively.  The wine tastes young, but is still plenty complex.

The 2018 Tsinandali is a dry white wine made from 80% Rkatsiteli and 20% Mtsvane grapes, sourced in the Tsinandali appellation, in the Telavi region.  Alcohol hits 12.5% abv and the retail price is about $17.

This wine's nose is a little bit apricot, a little bit floral; a little bit citrusy, a little bit saline.  There is even an earthy lanolin note coming through.  The palate is where the Tsinandali really makes its mark.  It has highly unusual flavors, most of which lean into the savory side of the spectrum.  The apricot is tempered by a nutty taste, reminiscent of - but not replicating - a Roussanne, or maybe a North American white wine.  Acidity is great.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to sample this grape.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Now And Zin Wine Country Series Stands At 45 States

What started as an idle thought - "can I taste wines from all 50 U.S. states?" - has become a personal mission.  Now And Zin's Wine Country series debuted nearly a decade ago, and we have now tasted wine from 45 states.  Just five to go - Alaska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

Now And Zin's Wine Country started with a series about wines made from America's Norton grape, in which I sampled wine from Missouri, Virginia and Georgia for the first time.  I was surprised by the quality and fascinated by the notion of wine tasting across America.

If you can make good wine in California, that's expected - not that it's easy, but it seems that's what you're supposed to do with great soil and perfect weather.  Making good wine in areas of the country where nature isn't quite as accommodating is a real achievement.

I've heard from American winemakers about Indiana limestone, Cornell grape creations and moderating winds from - of all places - Lake Erie.  I've heard winemakers cry in anguish, "I want to make dry wines, but all my customers want is sweet!"

I've sampled mead from Montana and Maine, Muscadine from Alabama and Kentucky Cabernet Franc.  I've had a Super Tuscan-style blend from Arizona, mile-high wine from Colorado, amazing bubbles from Massachusetts, Michigan and Illinois, Zinfandel from Nevada and New Mexico, New York Riesling, New Jersey Merlot and North Carolina Chardonnay.

I've tried wine made from Vermont apples, Florida blueberries, North Dakota rhubarb, West Virginia blackberries and Hawaiian Maui pineapples.

There have been plenty of unexpected grapes, like Petit Manseng from Georgia, Carménère from Idaho, Traminette from Indiana, Eidelweiss from Iowa, Marquette from Minnesota and Catawba from Pennsylvania.

Two Nebraska wines are named after pelicans; a South Dakota winemaker uses Petite Sirah to take the acidic edge off the Frontenac.  There's Touriga Nacional growing in Tennessee.

Most of the wines for this series have been supplied by the winemakers for the purpose of the article, while some have been sent by friends of mine who had travel plans to a state I had yet to taste.  To all who have sent wine for this project, I offer my heartfelt thanks.

It has taken nine years to sample wine from 45 states, so the end is in sight.  Shipping wine in the United States has proven to be a stumbling block on more than one occasion.

Contacts made in Utah and Oklahoma have dropped out of sight, while responses are hard to come by at all from Alaska, Wyoming and Mississippi.  I am sure for some of these states, I'll probably have to find someone who makes wine in their garage.  Any Mississippi garagistes out there?

While we are on the subject, if you know a winemaker in the states which haven't been covered in Wine Country yet - Alaska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming - please pass this article along to them.  Even if they can't ship to me, I'd love to hear from them.

Also, one state which has been left blank is California.  Of course, I sample a lot of California wine, so finding it isn't the problem.  I want to determine one wine or winery which is representative of California for this series.  If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.  Comment here, email or contact me on Twitter.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011


Wine Country: Georgia

The West Coast of the United States gets most of the attention for domestic wine production, but wine is made in all 50 states.  The “Wine Country” series is my effort to taste wine from all the states.  The recent series on Norton wines got me started, with fine efforts from Missouri and Virginia - so fine, we may revisit those states along the way.  This isn’t an alphabetical journey, nor is it ordered geographically. 

Today, we kick off the official “Wine Country” trail where the Norton series ended - in the state of Georgia.

I sampled a Norton wine from Tiger Mountain Vineyards, in Tiger, Georgia.  You can see the article on their Norton wine for more on the vineyard.

Tiger, Georgia is a tiny burg of just over 300 people.  The town sits at about 2,000 feet above sea level at the foot of Tiger Mountain, a 2,856-ft peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Tiger is in Rabun County which has a slogan - "Where Spring Spends The Summer" - indicating a place where the average temperature in January is about 49F and just under 80F in August - very pleasant.  An annual rainfall of over 70 inches no doubt helps the flora along.

One of the treats I’m looking forward to in this series is the opportunity to sample grape varieties which are not readily available to me in California.  The Norton grape is a prime example.  Tiger Mountain also throws a little winemaker love on the Petit Manseng grape.

Tiger Mountain Petit MansengPetit Manseng 2008 

The white Petit Manseng grape originated in southwestern France.  It is said the wine of this grape was used to baptize Henry IV.  This particular Tiger Mountain wine was entered into the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, where it took a silver medal.  Tiger Mountain’s Petit Manseng has won 11 awards, 5 of them gold.  It sells for $35 from the winery.

Sitting in the glass with a rich, golden color, the smell of this Georgia white wine’s bouquet immediately put me in mind of Chardonnay, then Viognier, then Albariño.  The aromas lean toward green apples, with a nudge toward some tropical fruit which is never fully realized.  There is also the scent of vanilla spice and a trace of nutmeg!  On the palate, a vegetal flavor comes forward first, with spiced apples following; a hint of pepper lingers on the finish.  It’s a full-bodied white wine, with a lively mouthfeel.  The 13.5% alcohol level is moderate and the nearly bracing acidity makes this a wine that pairs well with food.  I had it with a holiday feast of sweet, brown sugar ham, bourbon pecan mashed sweet potatoes and chestnuts on the side.  The Petit Manseng paired well with everything on the plate, especially the ham and the chestnuts.

The next scheduled stop on the Wine Country express is Alabama.  We’ll try some Muscadine from the Deep South.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Norton Wine From Georgia

When Georgia is mentioned in wine circles these days, it is more than likely a reference to the Eastern European country, not the state in the southeastern U.S.  The seat of the Old South, though, does produce wine.  The home of Savannah and Hot ‘Lanta has a small town by the name of Tiger, Georgia, where you’ll find Tiger Mountain Vineyards.

Tiger Mountain Vineyards NortonThis is the final article in my brief study of wine made from the all-American Norton grape, so it’s no surprise to find that variety growing at Tiger Mountain.  They also have Petit Manseng, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Tannat. Viognier and Touriga Nacional planted.  You have to love these guys for their brazen devotion to heritage grapes alone!

Dr. John Ezzard and his wife Martha planted grapes in 1995 on the farm where he was born.  The good doctor says 2,000 feet of altitude, mineral rich soil and well drained slopes make for great terroir.  With all that as a starting point, the step to good wine is a short one.

The Ezzards watched and learned about grape-growing from Virginia's Horton Vineyards.  Tiger Mountain’s winery manager Jabe Hilson assists in the winemaking process.  The Tiger Mountain Norton varietal wine sells for $17.  A sample was sent to me for the purpose of this article.

Tiger Mountain Norton 2005

Subtitled “Georgia Red Wine,” Tiger Mountain Vineyards’ Norton registers the lowest alcohol content of the Nortons in this series - only 11.5% abv.

It is very dark in the glass, almost black, and difficult to see through at the edges.  The core allows no light through.  A cassis aroma dominates the nose, abetted by a fair whiff of licorice.  The jamminess is undeniable, but a faint scent of tar comes through on its coattails.

The palate is surprising, given the fruity nature of the nose.  There’s a big bell pepper play made by this wine, with a white pepper spiciness underlying.  The fruit seems constricted in comparison, but a mix of blackberry and cranberry come through on the substantial finish.  That fruit is somewhat tart - not something I am accustomed to tasting in wine, but something I got used to quickly.  People who love to drink fruit bombs might turn their noses up at this wine, at least at first.  A trace of baker’s chocolate strains to come through late in the game.

The tannins are soft but the wine is nice and dry.  The acidity level is good in this well-balanced effort, and it paired very well with a sweet, maple-glazed ham.  It would probably be a good choice with sweet barbecue sauce, too.  The sweetness of the glaze helped offset the tartness in the wine and balance out the meal.  Semi-sweet chocolate is a nice match, too.