(Or words to that effect)
That is how Paul Wagner, my instructor, in my Cultural Appreciation of Wine class at Napa Valley College started his lecture.
Actually, he started class by reading a list of names provided by the admissions dept. of Napa Valley College, of students in the class that have yet to pay their lab fees. In fact, it would have been a shorter list had he just read off the names of the students that HAD paid their lab fees. But that is taking this blog in a whole ‘nother direction. Back to the topic at hand. Wine in Movies and Literature.
Here are some quotes of wine from literature:
Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Othello, II. iii. (315)
This bread I break was once the oat,
This wine upon a foreign tree
Plunged in its fruit;
Man in the day or wind at night
Laid the crops low, broke the grape’s joy.
Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
This bread I break
There’s nothing serious in mortality.
All is but toys; renown and grace is dead,
The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees
Is left this vault to brag of.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Macbeth, II. iii. (100)
Days of wine and roses laugh and run away,
Like a child at play.
Johnny Mercer (1909-1976)
Days of Wine and Roses
Give me women, wine and snuff
Until I cry out ‘hold, enough!’
You may do so san objection
Till the day of resurrection;
For bless my beard then aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.
Women, Wine and Snuff
I can certainly see that you know your wine. Most of the guests who stay here wouldn’t know the difference between Bordeaux and Claret.
John Cleese (Basil Fawlty)
Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.
Death in the Afternoon
These are just a very few of the great quotes of wine in literature. Wine is embedded in our literature. Some of the greatest passages written are built around wine. Consider “A Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe. This is definitely worth a read around Halloween. I could just cut and paste the whole thing for you here, acting like I typed it, but I’m sure you, Gentle Reader, would see right through such a charade. So at midnight, when the full moon is evident, click on the following link and read it aloud to an audience in front of a flickering fireplace. Preferably, shine a flashlight up in your face of a bonus spooky effect. The story is about a man who lures a contemporary to his death, with a pipe of Amontillado, which is a variety of sherry that is darker than a fino sherry, but lighter than an oloroso.
Wine is also a leading actor, or at least a co-star, in film.
“Mondovino”. “A Walk in the Clouds”. “Sideways”. These are some of the more well known classics of cinema where wine plays a significant role. And who could forget Tampopo, released in 1985 and directed by Juzo Atami. This Japanese classic was featured in a previous blog I wrote. Trust me, it’s not only a great movie, but it will get all kinds of reactions from an audience.
(Note to self: Play Tampopo while having a blind wine tasting party.)
Another popular movie about wine are “Bottle Shock”. Carlo deVito reviewed the movie and says “Bottle Shock is the story of the Barretts pere’ & fils and their struggles to establish a quality, modern winery in a region that was then most famous for the jug style wines epitomized by Ernest & Julio Gallo and many others in the valley who made dark red sweet wines for wide consumption in that period.”
Think of other movies where wine is a central character. How about just about every James Bond flick? He had champagne flowing out of his ears.
One of my faves is “Silence of the Lambs”. Hanibal Lecter says “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
That’s more my speed.
Lets finish with something really fun.
In class, we listened to a classic reading by John Lithgow. John Lithgow is an incredibly talented actor. I personally think he is great as a serial killer on “Dexter”, which is on Showtime cable. The man can read a line, for sure.
The reading was “Taste”, by Roald Dahl, who also wrote “James and the Giant Peach”.
This is a very enjoyable listen. I suggest a glass of your favorite Claret, some nosh, and several very good friends.
Note to self: Listen to this with a good glass of port, in front of the fireplace, with no one around. But that’s just me.
Anthony Blackburn is a student at Napa Valley College in the Viticulture and Winery Technology Department. He is also the Student Sales and Marketing Intern responsible for selling the wines made by the students in the student winery. www.napavalley.edu/winery