It’s only natural that my inaugural blog post pays homage to that most excellent of wine soaked holidays: Halloween. It’s usually mid July when I realize that slow anticipation bubbling to the surface, the visions of Fall festivities to be had, all washed down with copious amounts of wine while wrapped in various knitted items and knee high boots. Now that I am married and don’t sleep alone, I find watching terrifying movies completely tolerable given the right circumstances…read: hella wine. This has lead me to believe that, like food, maybe film can enhance our emotional and sensory experience of a wine, given the right storyline, setting, monsters, wtf moments etc…Regardless, it’s always a grand old time to drink and watch slasher movies so get your Netflix queue in check and get thee to thy local Wine Shoppe.
DISCLAIMER: I know there are a million other wines that can be argued for each movie…I’m really just putting together my own personal schedule of film viewing/drinking. Also, please don’t, like, drink 3 bottles of each wine yourself during each film. I don’t want to be responsible for lewd behavior and/or hangovers.
PART 1 #hallowine2015
1. HOCUS POCUS: SPARKLING ROSÉ This is the first movie you check listings for come October 1st (ok, ok, more like September 5th). Hocus Pocus has it all; mystery, intrigue, hilarity, a talking cat, and that song Sarah sings to bring Salem’s children to
have fun be sucked of their youth. You can’t stop singing all month. Don’t deny it. To accompany the celebratory mood that comes with your first viewing (it’s on, like, every damn day), why not pair the Sanderson Sisters with a sparkling rosé? We’ll keep this one broad in terms of region, but I would suggest a crisp Brut with a good swath of berries and red roses. For the budget wary, try Gruet Brut Rose NV from New Mexico or Charles de Fere NV, both for sale around $16.99. If these witches are the pinnacle of your Halloween experience, spring for something special like Perrier Jouet Rosé Champagne, which will set you back about $85. Of course, there are a whole lot of “middle ground” sparklers between $30 and $50. Schramsberg or even Mumm Napa are perfectly acceptable Californian contenders. Food suggestion: Really it’s your choice, but I would suggest a delicious Charcuterie platter…and maybe some Candy Corn.
2. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT: VIRGINIA LEFT BANK BORDEAUX STYLE BLEND Let me just say what we are all thinking: these teenagers are stupid AF. An older kid told me the plot of this movie (rather, lack of plot?) at youth group and that alone kept me awake at night for weeks back in 1999. Plus, these kids supposedly filmed their documentary and disappeared in the woods in Maryland, my sacred homeland, so naturally I felt the Blair Witch was coming for my soul at all times. Only last year could my husband convince me to finally face the Witch herself and actually watch the movie. Although still partially disturbing, I will admit it wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined as an impressionable middle schooler. This movie has a woodsy, earthen setting, so naturally something tannic and fuller bodied would be a good choice. Since the “legend” is American, how about an American wine? Virginia seems to be churning out some fantastic Left Bank Bordeaux style wines which would pair perfectly with raw terror in a rustic wooded setting. Boxwood Winery has a fabulous red blend poised to get you through all the unstable camera angles of weirdly constructed witch icons and amputated human ears. Notes of fallen leaves, fresh forest floor, cherry, violets, tobacco, and a hearty bouquet of trepidation. Maybe eat something gamey along with this one. Advice: Decant this for at least an hour for these flavors to really shine. It’s a little too “fresh” right out of the bottle…
3. THE CRAFT: ROSÉ POTLUCK I went around and around with this one just trying to figure out where to begin. So many wines could accompany this 1996 pop culture smash. One of my fondest memories of grad school involved a gathering we christened the Craft-Kraft-Craft party,engineered to involve watching The Craft, eating Kraft mac and cheese, and making crafts. We ended up too intoxicated to hold a glue stick, so no craft souvenirs survived to mark the occasion. Because The Craft embodies both chick flick and disturbing horror film, I propose rosé to please the coven of wenches who will obviously be joining you for the fun. This is not one to watch alone.
With so many regions making decent rosés these days, and the wine’s growing popularity among the plebeians, something exists to please every palate. Have everyone bring their own, like a Goosebumps choose your own ending. However, if “friend” Karen shows up with White Zinfandel in a box, that heifer is uninvited. There’s no time for that breed of negativity during a festive rosé potluck. (Fine, let her back in, but only if she also brought cheese. Tis the season.) Although I’ve never tried it, I might even purchase White Girl Rosé for sheer novelty. As the power of Manon is invoked and the rivalry between good witch Sarah and evil harpy Nancy heats up, you may want to switch to a more serious beverage. All hail to the guardians of the watchtowers of the North, I sanction thee a gin cocktail. (gasp)
4. THE WICKER MAN (2006): SPÄTLESE We are discussing the 2006 remake, not the original 1973 film which actually boasts good reviews. Before reading any further, refresh your memory with this Wicker Man montage. Full disclosure, Nicolas Cage movies are an obsession of mine, and The Wicker Man may be the crowning jewel in his cinematic sceptre.
Part thriller, part weird cult horror movie with a sprinkle of awkward romantic comedy, even the most cowardly of movie watchers can find something to love. A traumatized cop played by N.Cage, lured to an isolated island inhabited by a bee obsessed matriarchal cult seemingly to look for an ex girlfriend’s missing daughter, falls victim to a sacrificial practice that involves setting a giant wicker man on fire…with him inside. #thatescalatedquickly. All this to protect the failing honey harvest and ensure the colony’s future. WTF. For this intense spectacle, we need a little botrytis, “noble rot”, such as a German Spätlese. Literally a “late harvest” wine, Spätlese will provide a honeyed ginger backdrop to the hilarity of N. Cage’s demise.
The final scene involves a hearty harvest festival, so I suggest wearing flower crowns while you drink your wine and eat some middle eastern take out.
5. THE SHINING: SOUTHERN RHONE “Firing a rifle into the air while balls deep in squealing hog.” This quote from Cards Against Humanity encapsulates my mindset while watching the slow descent of Jack’s sanity. From the moment I see that tiny yellow car, trucking along a dangerous mountain road accompanied by the Dies Irae, I know I will be mentally raging and unable to look away for the next 2 hours. Do not mistake me, I LOVE this movie. I respect it. I even feel a little fancy while watching it..because you know, Stanley Kubrick, genius, blah blah blah. Starring Jack Nicholson and
Olive Oil Shelly Duval, The Shining established many of the hotel horror tropes still used on screen today. (Anyone watch American Horror Story: Hotel? Creepy kids in hallways…eeeeeeek.) We obviously need a drink, and an exclusive mountain getaway is bound to have an excellent wine selection. I’ve chosen one of my personal favorites: the Southern Rhone. If you can’t afford a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, don’t fret, we have more options. (But if you can, drink it for me…help me, I’m poor. #studentloansruiningmywinehobby) How about a delicious Vacqueras? Black currants, blue fruit, peppercorns, maybe a little dirt covered mushroom? Another earthy choice for sure. I’ll have mine with a side of mulch and a Jack Nicholson popsicle. I bet you thought I would suggest a Red Rum…HERE’S JOHNNY.
6. INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: BOTH BANKS OF THE BORDEAUX The original Twilight? No. Circa 1800s era Vampire (Vampyre for you nerds) flick I watched in high school during my goth/Hot Topic phase? Absolutely. Lavish, gothic era decor, Victorian costumes, the blood-thirsty yet lustfully charming undead…and it streams on Netflix for free…blessed be. The story unfolds as Brad Pitt, Louis, chronicles a century spanning, fang-filled sojourn with buddy/maker Lestat, played by a blonde Tom Cruise. Intrigued journalist Christian Slater records the intimate tale incredulously as we are introduced to baby Kirsten Dunst playing a child vampire named Claudia, and even Antonio Banderas, a bad boy from the “vamp underground” who puts on supposedly mock plays in which he and his cohorts devour terrified humans in front of a live studio audience. Because we have two extremes in Louis and Lestat, two red (duh) wines from Bordeaux, France seem the obvious choice. Team Louis, more in touch with the “human” side, is assigned the Merlot dominant wine of Bordeaux’s right bank. A bit more restrained and fruity with less tannin, a wine from a decent producer will give you a delightfully smoky complexity with hints of black cherries. Warning…cheap Merlot (really any poorly made wine) is a bad time, so be prepared to spend at least $15, ok? So worth it.
Team Lestat calls for a bit more bite, pun obviously intended. Try a Cabernet Sauvignon from the left bank of Bordeaux, if you can get your hands on something reasonably priced. Expect a more tannic, peppery, and red fruit profile with a little charcoal to finish. Food? Anything steak or red meat related to bind with those tannins, although I also love both wines with a giant gyro platter from the local Greek eatery.
7. THE EXORCIST: BRUNELLO OR ROSSO DI MONTALCINO Who can get through Halloween season without Linda Blair’s spinning head? Not me, that’s for sure. If you need a plot summary, basically, Pazuzu the demon returns to seek revenge on Father Merrin who exorcised him years prior. He possesses Regan, the daughter of a famous actress, and two priests are called in as a last resort to free her of his demonic grip. Head spinning, excessive profanity, projectile vomiting, and crawling upside down on stairs ensues. Because of the unmistakable Catholic flavor, we are going Italian with this wine selection.
Plus, I think one of the priests was Italian? The Vatican is in Italy? Whatever…who needs an excuse to drink delicious Tuscan wine?
Sangiovese is king, and Brunello di Montalcino shines with an herbaceous and balsamic structure and fleshy hints of sour cherry. Most of us, however, may want to spend a bit less than the typical price for a Brunello, so Rosso di Montalcino makes for a fantastic alternative with the same, albeit less complex, flavor profile. Plus, it’s WAAAY less expensive! Eat something meaty and tomato based before Regan starts her decline (aforementioned projectile vomiting). Wait for a perfectly cold and dreary day, decant your Montalcino, and let the games begin. #blessed
Well folks, that does it for Hallowine, part the first. Stay tuned for part deux, coming next week! In the meantime, get to drinking, watching, and enjoying some general Fall merriment.