T U B E S T E A K
Wine X Vol 2.6
by Marni Mayerson
Sexy. Racy. Spicy-hot. TV soap opera or a fabo new wine? News flash, darlings, it’s both.There’s no denying it, the ultimate (and obvious) pairing is wine with food (and vice versa). But when dinner means fast frozen Chinese, boil-and-pray Italian or Super Burrito Xtra Valu Combo Meal (extra guac, cheese and sour cream) devoured at the coffee table in front of the tube, your old pal TV suddenly enters into the equation as a partner who’s proven to be loyal, understanding and not too damn demanding after a hard day of slaving over a hot computer. Weird as that may sound, take it from me: the right wine can even make something as sad, pathetic and lonely as a night of reruns look like an almost passable date. Almost.
Strange as it may seem, pairing wine with the old idiot box is really quite simple: once you establish the appropriate category (Rhone blends, Meritage, etc.) or the right varietal (merlot, sauvignon blanc, etc.) to match your viewing tastes, you need only change wine producer or vintage for the next week’s episode. Think of it; after a single season of snickering at The Simpsons, you could become a wine smarty pants. It’s like a no-brainer, which somehow seems appropriate for TV. That being said, here’s my version of Wine X’s TV Guide.
MELROSE PLACEI’m certain that my college friends and I weren’t the only ones who began watching this show after having consumed bladder-busting quantities fresh from the two liter box o’ white zin chillin’ in the fridge. Things change. My taste in wine got better, but Melrose, God bless it, stayed as cheezy as ever. There’s just no possible way that this melodramatic mediocrity could have become such a hit with all of its viewers stone-cold sober. With the likes of Amanda and Peter, this nighttime soap practically screams for a spicy, sexy, peppery wine like the Jade Mountain 1995 Syrah. For our male viewers, try a Haywood 1994 “Los Chamizal” Zinfandel. Its seductive, full-bodied heat will allow you to contemplate both meanings of “great legs” at once. Whatever your sex, don’t hesitate to fling a full glass into the face of that weasel sitting next to you. Special bonus points for a realistic re-creation of the line, “You bitch/slut/creep, how could you sleep with him/her/it!” Now that’s a Monday night!
Since this show is laced with fantasy scenes, why not satisfy a few tongue fantasies of your own. If you can afford it, join the partners of the firm in style and enjoy a fabulous first-growth Bordeaux or a Grand Cru from Burgundy. If your job doesn’t pay you nearly what you’re worth, get deeply into a good, inexpensive chardonnay or cabernet from Napa Ridge, and imagine that it’s one of these impossible-to-find-or-afford wines that’s won the hearts of wine critics worldwide. If it doesn’t win yours, maybe Ally will at least win her next case.
FRIENDSWith all the quirky personalities in this sitcom, your wine-pairing options are wide open. For the female characters, you’d want something floral and lightly spicy, like the EXP 1995 Viognier or Handley 1996 Gewurztraminer. Giggle while you drink it. Or maybe something zippy like the Sanford 1996 Sauvignon Blanc will make even “Smelly Cat” more digestible. Since the guys on the show are so smooth (NOT!), you gotta think about young, tannic reds as the fitting quaff. But, if you’re only going to pop one cork for the whole show, there’s always pinot noir for this mixed-up, trendy gang. The Acacia 1996 Carneros Pinot Noir goes with everything. If you can’t decide on your own, or you arrive home after the episode has already begun, take your cue from the show itself — nary a week goes by that a bottle of wine isn’t conspicuously consumed among Friends. Oh, hugs all-around! I love you guys!
Mystery and suspense are the big draws here, so think about staging a blind tasting with a few bottles and friends. But don’t reveal the wines until the twisted plot finally unfurls. This is the perfect opportunity to sneak into your cellar and abduct a bottle from that case of 1988 cabernet you’ve been saving. Let it reveal some of the mystery of the process of bottle-aging. If you’re a Mulder fan, choose something puzzling, like Caymus Conundrum. For Scully, only a sexy red pinot from Gary Farrell will do. Or if the “Smoking Man” intrigues you, recruit a Cosentino Cigar Zin.
RED, RED, RED! Bonus points for any attempt at an IV delivery system.