While I may love Halloween films above all others, the holiday season boasts its fair share of festive movies ready to be paired with wine. Or, do as my parents do and drink Bailey’s all the damn time. (My Mom did, however, like the Oregon Pinot at Thanksgiving. I’m owning that small victory.) My husband, aka Scrooge, hates all Christmas movies except The Holiday, so I’ll probably be drinking/watching alone with my stupid cats and sweater socks. Don’t get it twisted, this kind of activity is completely acceptable…even envied.
Note: Most specifically mentioned wines are available at Wine Cellars of Annapolis. A shameless plug to my new place of employment. Shout out because they have an amazing selection, and an awesome wine bar attached…yeah I work there too. Sorry not sorry.
Additional Note: I intended to do a whole “12 days of Christmas” thing with 12 movies, but unfortunately…life. You’re lucky to get 6. There’s still time to watch them all before next week. #imanadult2015
Ho, ho, ho, etc.
Elf: Finger Lakes Dry Riesling Whenever I have an opera audition, I feel like Will Ferrell in that scene from Elf…”I’m in a store and I’m singingggggg…I’m in this cramped rental studio in NYC and I’m singgingggg please hear my second aria I’m singginggg!”. I think all young artists could learn something from Buddy the elf’s sense of self and confidence..and love of sugar, because diabetes makes you feel better in the face of rejection. #operaishardgivemechocolate.
You’d think I’d be pairing dessert wine with Will Ferrell’s sugar-shoveling monster gnome, but confession: I kind of hate sweet wine. This may be because I’ve never had the uber expensive stuff (like Chateau d’Yquem…apparently it’s amaze). I guess ruby port could’ve been an option. Whatever. We can save that for the Lifetime movie about J.K. Rowling’s life. (Yes, I watched it. Many feels.) I’ve chosen Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of NY as it offers a sweet bouquet without any “syrup” (sorry Buddy). On the contrary, it’s hella acidic and crispy with a lemony and green apple character to go with the floral notes. Dr.Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling is a great go to for about $15. Pair it with any spicy Asian food or poultry dishes (like Peruvian chicken).
Not sure about syrup spaghetti, though. Enjoy pre-personality Zoe Deschanel and a sassy Mary Steenburgen to balance out the harsh contrast between Buddy and his Scroogy father. The best? Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) as Miles Finch/Angry Elf.
Batman Returns: Tilaria A Tim Burton created holiday treasure, this movie is so weird and I love it. If you need an in depth analysis of the insanity, bustle.com just came out with a great list of details you may have overlooked. Like, literally there are too many things to cover, so let me just elaborate a few. You may ask, is this a Christmas movie? Um, DUH, the entire plot revolves around a riot at the annual Gotham Christmas Tree Lighting.
And it’s snowing the whole time…which, btw, I am SO PISSED at El Niño for this 67 degree weather in December. It’s ruining my holiday cheer. I totally forgot that the Penguin literally runs for political office…sooooo many Donald Trump parallels to be made here. If only he’d go at a raw fish during a GOP debate. I would drink to that. I’m imaging the Donald prepping for the campaign trail by watching the Penguin’s tactics…and basing his persona on John McClane in Die Hard (see below) and the President in Air Force One. Wear monacle/eat fish/have henchmen/guns/racism (yep went there). Anyway, Catwoman majorly trolls around Gotham seeking revenge on her boss, Christopher Walken (yet another reason to make this a holiday tradition), who pushed her out of a window. Don’t worry, cats healed her wounds. Then she went batshit, started doing her hair/make up all sexy, and suddenly could do ninja tricks. Cats are #thebest.
Batman makes several appearances, still doing Batman, still rich AF. The whole movie from the set to the storyline to the Batsuit suggests a rich red wine so I’ve specifically selected Tilaria Toscana Rosso, Villa Piciana. Don’t be intimidated by the long-ass name, it’s just a Tuscan red blend of 5 grapes, but mainly Cabernet Sauvignon (Batman), Sangiovese (Penguin), and Syrah (Catwoman).
Berry forward yet spicy and even a bit floral, you need a nice crockpot beef stew for a full experience. If you’re like me, you will filch from your mom’s kitchen when applicable. (Thanks, mom.)
The Holiday: CA Chardonnay Guess who requested this one? My Criterion Collection mongering spouse…who also happens to love The Holiday. Just like an easy drinking, four-glasses-no-problem Chard, this RomCom goes down easy and quick, delivering a substantial dose of “feelings” and side of Jude Law.
I have several reflections:
- The dialogue is so terrible. Kate Winslet delivers it like Shakespeare, though. She is a shining star and her character totally gets the shaft. See point #3.
- I will have that cottage in the British country side, plz.
- Does Kate Winslet represent the Common Man? You think you’re really doing something, taking your life in a different direction by trading homes with someone for the holidays. Maybe you’ll meet a dream man. Maybe you’ll drink some high class booze and have an awesome house party. But in reality, you end up changing an old man’s diaper for two weeks, teaching him to dog paddle, and hoping he doesn’t die before you can throw him a “hella good job at lyfe” party. This is a metaphor for my life.
- But at least she’s Jack Black’s sloppy seconds…oh wait…
- Did Cameron Diaz drink some frickin’ Felix Felicis before taking that little trip to England? Because Jude Law showed up on her doorstep and like immediately fell in love with her ass. She’s annoying. Yeah, I said it. She also eats/drinks groceries before paying for them. RUDE.
- WTF WHY CAN CAMERON DIAZ RUN SO DAMN LONG/FAR??!!!????!?
- I was not into Jude Law crying. Or Mr.Napkinhead. #no
I prefer an unoaked style or at the very most, lightly oaked. Some Chardonnay is so over oaked you could pour it over popcorn at the movies. MMMMMM BUTTERY WOOD. #vomittown.
Personally, I love a good steel tank fermented style, such as Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Chardonnay 2014. You’ll find a more subdued “bread” note, with hints of apricot and lemon zest, and a finish on the mineral side. Be an adult: pick up a rotisserie chicken and roast some veggies to pair. For $20, you can safely assume you won’t get confused and start spreading wine on toast or corn on the cob.
Die Hard: Montsant blend, Con Blau 2013 I don’t know about you, but Die Hard occupies my thoughts as soon as December rolls around.
Truthfully, you can watch this year round, but it’s festive because of the holiday party and family values. John McClane (Bruce Willis), just an NYC street cop trying to make amends with his wife/kids, finds himself head to head with
Severus Snape Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and terrorist squad at an office Christmas celebration.
Gruber intends to punish the CEO of the company for his “greed”…by stealing his money/using much guns. And rockets. Bruce Willis escapes the initial hostage situation and decides to go ham on the terrorists, sans shoes and a real shirt. Walking barefoot over glass, diving off the roof attached to a firehose, and general bad ass-ery ensue. Ultimate good “guy with a gun” here, folks. I promise to refrain from any political speak, but you may infer my feelings at this time. By far though, the MVP moment goes to Alan Rickman and his fantastic American accent while pretending to be a hostage. I will definitely be naming a cat Hans Gruber in the future. Hans Snape Gruber. As you settle in on a warm and tropical Christmas night (again, eff you, El Niño), try a velvety Spanish, southern Rhone style blend. I’ve picked Can Blau 2013, a blend of Carignan, Garnacha, and Syrah from the Monsant region in Spain. It’s seriously delicious and costs around $15. Plus the bottle is beautiful. With great cedar and blueberry aromas, Can Blau goes down warm and spicy. If you have a local hipster butchery (or even just a fancy Giant), try some artisanal lamb sausages or charcuterie. Yippee ki yay…whatever.
Muppet Christmas Carol: Barrique Cab 2013, Sonoma County There’s nothing more festive than this movie. Seriously, I never get tired of the songs (WE’RE MARLEY AND MARLEYYYY WOOOOO), Gonzo as Charles Dickens, and prickly-pear Michael Caine as Scrooge. Also those rats. They are hilarious.
My dad sings “HEAT WAVE! This is my Island in the sun…” pretty much all year round, either when someone in the family is submitting to unfair treatment at work (like Kermit/rats and a lack of heat in Scrooge’s office) or when it’s literally hot or cold outside. Scrooge’s first appearance brings about a delightful tune featuring a plethora of auxiliary muppets singing of his nastiness and gross love of money. It kind of makes me want a muppet version of Les Misérables, and I think we can all agree it would be better than the Hugh Jackman version i.e. 2 hours of tongue swallowing. I’d like to take a moment to discuss the Ghost of Christmas Present, or as I like to call him, Ginger Hagrid.
I’m a little creeped out by the “human size” puppets. Like, why are they necessary when clearly the muppets share this “world” with actual humans, and it seems like Ginger Hagrid stands alone as the only mutant. He also sings like Johnny Cash. I could go on and hash out all the good songs and moments, but I think we should just start drinking and watching. I hemmed and hawed over which wine to pair with my favorite film of the season (Ok, I guess it’s technically tied with Die Hard), but finally decided after taking Barrique Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 to a holiday gathering the other night. It surprised me, as I tend to be suspicious of cheapish CA cabs. I hate hate hate the overwhelming jamminess that too often accompanies less expensive warm climate red wine, but this cabernet was pleasantly restrained. Intense yet quite easy to drink, this cab presents plum and toasty vanilla on the nose with a silky finish. It’s sizeable enough to keep up with the muppets without being overpowering. This will go nicely with seasonal fair; perhaps some crockpot meatballs or party nachos. I had it along with roasted cinnamon butternut squash, and it was quite delightful. God bless us, everyone. Except you, Ginger Hagrid.
Love Actually: Full Bodied Rosé Oh, where to start. Contrived to make you feel all the things, Love Actually captured our hearts as young impressionable teens and hasn’t let go since. Fun fact: It is one of approximately two real Christmas movies streaming on Netflix. This movie spawned an entire genre of romantic-ish comedies with 25 celebrities falling in love on holidays e.g. Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve etc. They are all terrible. Love Actually is only slightly bad if you realllly start to think about all the storylines. Obviously the most critical plot point centers around Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead. He fell in love with his best friend’s wife, told her how he felt with some flash cards, still couldn’t take it, and assumed a new identity in America. We know the rest.
Other notables: an appearance by half the cast of Harry Potter, a resurrected Qui-Gon Jinn, Betty Draper, Bilbo Baggins/Dr.Watson, Solomon Northup, that weird kid from Game of Thrones who did not show up last season (wtf where’s Bran anyway??), and of course, Keira Knightley’s teeth.
There’s so much going on here…the wine needs to match across the board whether you’re crying or laughing or realizing that Love Actually was way better when you were 13. A reliant, goes-with-everything staple, rosé makes an easy choice. Lest you think I’m repeating myself, this time I’m going with a fuller bodied rosé to better suit the season. Crios Malbec Rosé 2014 out of Argentina or Spanish Artazuri Garnacha Rosé 2014. You can expect some serious depth for both wines while still possessing a flirtacious and “fun” quality. Kind of like being at the funeral of Liam Neeson’s wife one minute and watching porno stand ins talk about traffic the next. Forward bright berries and lemon zest are components in each, and really, any food will work. Not cake though. Wine first, cake second. Wine + cake=gross. Inbox me if you need to talk about dessert wine.
Hellz yeah, we are done. Go forth, enjoy, and remember kids, Christmas morning is for Bailey’s and coffee. And Mimosas…minus the orange juice. Happy Holidays.