Sunday, May 2, 2010
While wine pairings are- to many consumers- a point of substantial anxiety, for others, they're a creative and engaging exercise. Pulling together the food and the drink that so perfectly complement each other is a rush, sparking a "eureka!" moment that begs to be repeated...
But does the challenge of the perfect pairing become addictive? Have folks gone too far? I've seen wines paired with everything, from breakfast to shoes. I used to think that pairing wines with the music you're listen to while imbibing was a cool idea, until I realized finding a wine/music pairing is about as rare as finding a Hall & Oates song on a random iPod. I think I heard a comedian once say that iPods probably come preloaded with at least one Hall & Oates hit. I'm starting to think this wasn't a joke. Anyway, this concept is allegedly so overblown that it's caught the ire of the magnificent Hosemaster, officially relegating it to "stay away" status, for fear of a lampooning.
However, pairing with a smattering of bad 80's movies is something I've yet to see, and something that I feel must be done. Not only because I think it's got entertainment value, but also because a participant on the Facebook opus solicited the challenge. The original plan was to pair one red and one white with each, but I feel there's a unique style that defines each of these films. So, donning my Hypercolor t-shirt and best pair of acid-washed, tight-rolled jeans, I attempt part 1 of 2 (because I got a list of too many movies):
Roadhouse: when things get out of control at the Double Deuce and Dalton's not around, you're only hope to survive is to smash a bottle over someone's head. Go with a sparkling Blanc de Blancs. Made from 100% Chardonnay, "Blanc de Blancs" means "white from whites", meaning a white wine from white grapes. More critical to the situation, though, is that a Champagne or sparkling bottle is substantially thicker than a still wine bottle so it can hold the 6 atmospheres of pressure built up within. This extra-thick glass might hold up, allowing for multiple head smashings. Furthermore, the wine held inside the bottle is very nice. And it's important to always be nice.
RoboCop: Cabernet Sauvignon. This authoritative grape is a cross of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc (yes, a red grape and a white grape combined to make a more powerful red grape...makes about as much sense as combining man with machine). Highly respected and often feared by those with soft palates; yet this grape can produce wines that are incredibly powerful, but also display finesse and precision. Unfortunately, some Cabernet Sauvignons can command incredibly high prices, so the odds of them being affordable in futuristic Detroit are highly unlikely.
Sixteen Candles: Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill. What else would you drink when 16?
Joe versus the Volcano: Sierra Foothills AVA Zinfandel. As many parts of Amador and Calveras Counties in California rate as "Zone 5" on the Winkler Scale (a way of measuring heat for the purpose of growing grapes), many of the grapes get very ripe, producing lots of sugar, which is converted into alcohol. Zinfandel, also notorious for ripening unevenly, is often left on the vine until the slowest grapes hit peak ripeness, and the early ones have pretty much turned to raisins. This- in turn- presents more sugar for the yeast to metabolize, producing higher alcohol levels as well. Many Zinfandels from California's hotter growing regions have alcohol levels of over 16% printed on the labels (with state law allowing a varience of 1% at these high percentages...meaning wines with potentially 17%+). But why all this talk about ripeness, fermentation, and high alcohol levels? Because you're gonna want to knock yourself out as quickly as possibly while watching this crap movie.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: German Riesling. Many are bottled with residual sugar present, so- as this has not been converted to alcohol during fermentation- the ABV tends to be lower, often around 8%. You'll be able to keep your wits about you longer and not be lulled to sleep. However, the ripping acidity of the Riesling grape may feel like Freddy's clawed hand across your tongue.
The Little Mermaid: if you're looking for a wine to pair with Disney cartoons... #justsayin
The Breakfast Club: A brain. And an athlete. And a basketcase. A princess. And a criminal. No grape fits this description better than the enigmatic Chardonnay. A brain, capable of beautiful and thought-provoking expression, particularly the wines of Burgundy. An athlete, globetrotting the world as one of the top grapes covering acreage under vine. A basketcase, taking on multiple personalities depending on climate, region, oak regime, malolactic fermentation, battonage, and/or sparkling production. A princess, gaining the admiration of perhaps more white-wine lovers than any other grape. And, a criminal, sometimes committing unspeakable atrocities when bottled in its cheapest and most manipulated forms. Sincerely, The Breakfast Club.
To be continued...