Welcome back to Hallowine 2015, all 4 of my readers! I sincerely hope you had a great time exploring some new wines while being terrified. Get ready to do it all over again as the countdown continues…
8. CARRIE: ALBARIÑO Ah, the youths. High school: that awkward and difficult time, no matter how cool you actually turn out to be once puberty is over. It’s even harder to fit in if you suffer the cruel antics of an extremist Evangelical mother constantly accusing you of witchcraft. Teenage girls can be vicious wenches and few escape unscathed (I was very popular…can’t you tell?). Poor, poor Carrie, our swiney sanguine prom queen. Just another victim of high school hell…until that nifty telekinesis makes it’s debut. Yas, girl, you crushed it. Literally. The gymnasium, on top of everyone inside. But at least crazy mom gets what’s hers, am I right? Let’s celebrate the “youthful” vibe of Carrie by drinking a Spanish Albariño from Rias Biaxas, a wine well enjoyed within a year of it’s release. Super affordable with zesty hints of crispy lime and great minerality, drink with spicy Thai curry or something from the sea. Does NOT pair well with pig’s blood.
I love M. Night Shyamalan…at least his classics from the early 2000s. My husband and I have a Christmas Eve tradition of watching all his twisty movies from morning til night. Marriage win. When compiling the films to include on this list, it occurred to me The Sixth Sense deserved to be moved up a couple holidays since it terrified me in the 6th grade. My mom can attest to the sleepless nights that ensued after a well intentioned friend introduced me to Haley Joel Osment’s creepy little problem of seeing EFFING DEAD PEOPLE (sorry, spoiler alert…) Some bullies lock Cole in a closet at a birthday party that happens to be chock full of ghosts….I just cannot, even to this day. Commence opening closets with extreme trepidation for the next 10 years…To get deep for a moment here, there is a refined restraint to the subtle horror of this movie. Cole finds himself utterly isolated in a world crowded with ghosts who don’t realize they are DEAD. And then, frickin Bruce Willis is dead too. So instead of him helping the boy, Cole helps him realize he’s dead. Everyone is dead…except Cole, but at least he and his mom end up ok and B Willis can rest in peace? And the ghosts can fulfill their unfinished business? Womp womp. OK, for the drinking…to celebrate the subtlety and refinement of the storytelling, Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley seems a great choice. While still a bit fruitier than it’s Old World counterparts, these pinots boast a Burgundian, acidic yet earthen flair for a cheaper price. Enjoy with bacon wrapped baked salmon and a high anxiety complex. BONUS GAME: reread this paragraph and take a shot every time I wrote the word “DEAD”. Then go drunk watch Pay It Forward.
10. THE OMEN: CRÉMANT DE LOIRE Huzzah! A new baby is born and he’s the son of the jackal. Let’s name him Damien and just hope he’s not, like, the Antichrist or anything. Time to break out the bubbly for this most festive occasion. Here we have yet another classic horror, this time with Gregory Peck as the leading man, desperately searching for his adopted son’s origins after bizarre events begin to occur, such as nannies hanging themselves publically or priests being impaled in graveyards. If you are wealthy and/or are lucky enough to have zero student loans (get off my blog, rich person), go ahead and buy a nice Champagne, because this movie is worth it. For the rest of us mere mortals, there are plenty of weeknight-appropriate sparklers made in the Champagne method sure to impress. A white Crémant from the Loire Valley provides an excellent accoutroment to some delectable shrimp cocktail or pumpkin pie or cheetos…because you’re an adult, damnit. Chateau Gaillard makes an excellent Chenin Blanc sparkling wine from Vouvray for around $17. *Insert photo of Damien breaking the 4th wall with that demonic smile in the final scene* A for effort though, Gregory Peck.
11. HALLOWEENTOWN: RIOJA RESERVA OR GRAN RESERVA Oh heeeeiiiii Millennials, this one’s for you. Picture this: It’s October 17, 1998 (thanks Wikipedia), poised in front of the big box TV, you prepare yourself to watch angsty young witch Marnie Cromwell come of age and save Halloweentown, a magical village in which ghoulish creatures coexist with witches and other humanoid fairytale archetypes. After discovering she was spawned from supernatural DNA, Marnie steals away on the flying bus to H-Town and embarks on scavenger hunt to find ingredients for a spell sure to defeat the evil Kalabar. Note: this movie obviously made the list purely for nostalgic indulgence rather than any cinematic merit…although let’s be real, Debbie Reynolds acts the hell out of Aggie Cromwell, battle-ax matriarch of the Cromwell Coven. #bae
To throw a curve ball, I will be suggesting the food FIRST, since we were 10-13 years old and (hopefully) not yet versed in wine snobbery. I know y’all were eating either Little Caesar’s “pizza pizza” or Taco Bell. The most festive of treats. No judgement. One day I will eat Crunchwrap Supremes and Nacho Cheese Gorditas with Jesus, while drinking some insane Burgundy. They will pair well together, because heaven…
Anyway, for these fast food delectables, lets pair a delicious Spanish Rioja, preferably a Reserva or Gran Reserva. A little oak goes a long way in giving this wine medium body with full flavors of clove, vanilla, red fruit, and mouthwatering leather. I had a fantastic Reserva the other night from Marques de Riscal…a 2009 for about $20!
12. PSYCHO: ALSACE RIESLING To not include a Hitchcock film on this list would be devastating travesty. Psycho seemed the obvious choice given it’s legendary shower scene and my man, Norman Bates. Marion (Janet Leigh), steals a bunch of money, skips town, and decides the best place to pull over during a rain storm is a roadside motel situated downhill from the House of Usher. (Edgar Allen Poe reference for all those who didn’t pay attention during high school English. Holla.) Enter Norm, who obvs has the hots for our heroine.
Shower stabbing, cross dressing, corpse finding ensues, and we realize Norman has a teensy little problem of assuming his dead mother’s persona and killing people. I’d love to read his tweets…@iamnormforrealz “A boy’s best friend is his mother. #realtalk #skeletor”
Side note for all you Arrested Development fans: Isn’t Norman just Buster gone terribly wrong?? MOTHERBOY? I chose a wine region with a disoriented history to highlight our antagonist’s flip-flopping persona. Located in north-eastern France, Alsace has been annexed by Germany and then reinstated to France several times over the last few hundred years. Cultural identity crisis, especially during WWII. Riesling from Alsace is usually much drier than its German counterpart, with great minerality, little residual sugar, floral, honeysuckle aromas, and hints of apricots. It can really be a game changer. You know, kinda like when people actually show up looking for the missing person you shanked. As Norman’s facade unravels, enjoy some artisanal fish tacos with said Riesling.
13. HALLOWEEN:WINE FRIGHT FLIGHT OF NIGHTMARES For me, Halloween is everything, and again, I saw this one late in life. My husband and mom were both busy Halloween night a few years ago, so I stayed in with mi padre to hand out candy and drink some nasty, overly jammy, red blend of shame. Three quarters of a bottle in, we discovered Halloween on cable.
After being properly chastised for never having seen this slasher classic, the title music started, and I was hooked. For literally half the movie, the recently escaped Michael Myers rolls down the street in his station wagon, breathes heavily, and stalks Jamie Lee Curtis, all to that unmistakable and unrelenting theme song. Playing the innocent, goody two shoes cliché, she alone seems to notice the aforementioned creep combing through the small town…in broad daylight…wearing a white mask. A sorry mistake for several promiscuous teenagers who meet Michael later that evening. I finally broke down and bought the DVD on Amazon for $5 after a long cycle of borrowing it from the public library in August and renewing over and over again to ensure possession come October 31st. Alas, library DVDs are unreliable, so I am now the proud owner of a “used, good, like new” copy . There’s no way to pick just one wine to match such an excellent horror movie (IMO), so a wine flight becomes absolutely necessary. #extrafestive I’ve put together three “courses” rather than your typical regional or grape specific flight. I know several sparklers have been paired with other Hallowine movies, but I have to add just one more to the mix. As soon as you hear the theme, pop that Blanc de Noirs. With great density and smoky flavor, this wine celebrates Michael Myers’ escape from the psychiatric hospital. You go, Glen Coco!
Enjoy the toasty pear and vanilla notes as an apéritif to the gruesome night that lies ahead. To save money, I’d go with a Champagne method style rather than one from the actual region. New Mexico winery Gruet has a fantastic Blanc de Noirs, priced around $16. Once things get a bit more serious (like, people getting stabbed etc), we move on to our next wine in the Fright Flight: Australian Shiraz, which makes a beautiful accompaniment to the essential crock pot of Halloween chili. Robust and spicy with deep berry fruitiness, this high alcohol red is best when it’s at least 5-10 years old, so don’t go buying a 2014 (unless you enjoy fire breathing). Also, no Yellowtail-sorry not sorry. The Australian wine market is still on the up and up, so a Shiraz from a higher quality producer can be quite affordable. Try something from South Australia…Barossa Valley, McClaren Vale, and Clare Valley are usually reliable. As the evening winds down and you start to filch candy from the trick or treaters’ bowl by the door, our last wine, a hearty port, pairs with this inevitable albeit slightly shameful dessert. I just ordered this one from Vinport.com, set to arrive before Halloween (EXCITE). Probably best paired with a Snickers, just saying. Keep sipping as you sail on to Halloween II, because you know it’ll play immediately after the original. If you stay up watching the entire franchise til 4am, godspeed. Slowly switch to coffee and make some bacon. All I know is when those pinging, open fifths start, I’ll be chanting “yas yas yas” through gritted teeth while filling my flute with bubbly and decanting my Shiraz. YOLO.
BONUS: ANTICHRIST Conceived by Lars Von Trier, the may possibly be the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen. I only saw this because Nick (my spouse who is supposed to shield me from such filth) said we should watch it..because Netflix, free, etc etc. NOPE. Hard alcohol was the only respite during the extremely uncomfortable 90 minutes. A husband and wife, just called He and She, go to the most isolated and scary cabin in the woods to work on their marriage after their son falls out of a window while they are *cough* making love, and unfortunately, dies.
Long story short, the wife believes that her “womanhood” is the cause of her son’s death, and goes batshit on Willem Dafoe, the husband. I will not even describe what happens, but it’s INSANE. I can’t even recommend a wine. Only hard whiskey to be imbibed as you gouge out your eyes with a dull spoon while simultaneously screaming obscenities. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. I can’t even. Girl bye.
Well, that does it for Hallowine 2015. So let’s raise a glass, and get to some delicious and fancy-ish wine drinking. BLESSED BE.