“The count himself came forward and took off the cover of a dish, and I fell to at once on an excellent roast chicken. This, with some cheese and a salad and a bottle of old tokay, of which I had two glasses, was my supper.” – Bram Stoker, Dracula
WARNING: Lots and lots of spoilers....
(My) Wine Thoughts: This week Will went rogue and broke one of our rules (bad Will). Without my knowledge he dropped some considerable coin on our weekly wine pick. “In the book, Dracula gives Jonathan Tokaji which would be perfect for this week’s pairing” Who am I to say no to this level of nerding out? I applaud my partner’s wine/story connection — although it should be noted that there was no drinking of Tokaji in the film. That being said.. I’m so happy with his choice… after the last wine, this was a breath of sweet air! The tokaji was soft, balanced and tasted like sweet, golden raisins (I told you I wasn’t a wine person) with a hint of …varnish. The varnish took me down memory lane when I use to have to glaze my oil paintings after they had dried. It reminds me of one of my favorite styles of dessert wines, Vin Santo. We paired it with vanilla ice cream which I was not into… Will had this really great coconut-based dairy-free ice cream which worked perfectly with the Tokaji. Yes to coconut ice cream, no to the stuff that made my stomach hurt. All in all, 4 Stars.
(My) Movie Thoughts: Even though I use to own the VHS (har har), it has been at least 15+ years since I had seen this. I had forgotten how completely ridiculous certain scenes from this movie are. I know it’s technically a horror movie but I could not stop laughing. Another thing I was very aware of is the film’s connection to Sonoma Wine Country. From Tom Waits’ cameo (Sebastopol native) to Coppola’s direction (Coppola Winery in Healdsburg). I have to imagine they crossed paths in wine country long before this movie was made. Other observations are that Gary Oldman was much better and less cheesy than I remembered him being and Winona Ryder isn’t completely awful in this either. I must admit that beast scene with Lucy (lets keep it at that) completely overridden any other memories of the film….Also Keanu Reeves totally gets an A for effort in attempting a “totally” British accent. All in all, I really enjoyed watching this movie as an adult. I recommend giving it a rewatch if you need a good laugh. If you’re a fan of this movie and live in Sonoma County, I also recommend visiting Francis Ford Coppola’s Winery and checking out Lucy’s wedding dress on display. 3 Stars.
(My)Comparison: You know, I really can’t be clever with this one because, this one is all Will… and no one puts Will in a corner or a coffin…..
(My)My Weekly Winner: This was almost a tie for me but the wine is well , just so much….better.
(W’s) Wine Thoughts: I regret nothing. First and foremost it should be noted that this wine, in the style I was looking for, is unavailable below…lets say $25-$30. I know I broke our rules but it’s not everyday you get to drink the wine of kings and vampires. This Hungarian dessert wine was considered ambrosia of the gods by royal families throughout Europe for years until World War I effectively ended its production. In general, Tokaji wines sugar levels are measured in units called, Puttonyos. Puttonyos are baskets full of deliciously rotten, dried grapes that are added to wine barrels. The lowest existing level of sugar for Tokaji wines is 3 Puttonyos or 60 grams of sugar per liter. For this weeks selection we drank a bottle of Tokaji at 5 Puttonyos or 120 g/l! When I stuck my nose into my glass I smelled: Warm golden honey, orange rinds, soft vanilla and this super funky barnyard thing (very common in wine made with rotten/moldy grapes). Upon biting the neck of this wine and drinking I tasted: honey, pear juice. It was flavorful but also had so much weight to it, like a big heavy spoonful of highly concentrated fruit juice. It’s incredibly rich.
For those of you who can’t enjoy dairy treats, like myself, do yourself a favor and pair this with coconut milk, vanilla pseudo ice cream. Life. Changing. The wine is a 5/5!
(W’s) Movie Thoughts: In short, Romanian warrior (Gary Oldman) who fervently fought off armies of Turkish muslims loses his one and only love/bride to be after she believes him to be dead. Devastated by this loss he renounces Christianity, drinks some statue’s blood and becomes, essentially, the devil. But a devil who you kind of root for…because everyone else in this turd of a movie must have wandered on to se by accident and Francis Ford Coppola just ran with it. Then, what I can only assume was an awesome 400 years of bachelorhood and blood sucking go by (where’s THAT movie?) and Dracula decides to move to London to live a quiet English life only to be stopped by vampire hunters and Keanu Reeves (Jonathan Harker) on again off again British(?) accent. Later he falls in love with the reincarnation (this is never explicitly said but neither is any other exposition) of his dead bride, Winona Ryder, and she’s totally into him too. And it’s kind of wonderful and romantic in this love lost and found again kind of way. Unfortunately a really lecherous Anthony Hopkins (Van Helsing) and friends chase Dracula out of town and wound him to the point of submission. Then Winona Ryder chops his head off. You know, out of love. Credits roll. ⅖ Stars.
(W’s) Comparison: Jonathan Harker is greeted with a plate of roast chicken, potatoes and a pour of Tokaji when he first arrives at Dracula’s home (castle). Tokaji of course being a wine from Dracula’s neighboring country, Hungary. It’s this simple gesture of hospitality that makes Dracula a lot more than just a monster. He’s a sophisticated creature of the night. Tokaji wines were renowned by everybody from Pope Pius IV to Frederick the Great to Voltaire and Beethoven. Hell even Bram Stoker drank Tokaji … Wait a minute … Tokaji is made from desiccated grapes, grapes that have had their very essence sucked out from them by a mold, a rot…A parasite. But that rot is far more than just a rot. It’s a desirable rot, a sophisticated rot that makes a sophisticated wine. The kind of wine that would bite you on the neck, try to steal your bride to be and maybe leave you a little hungover in the morning, but it would at least have the decency to give you Roast Chicken and potatoes first. Oh my God, Bram Stoker was a drunken genius. He turned moldy grape dessert wine into an immortal horror icon.
(W’s) Weekly Winner: The wine wins hands down. The movie is so messy and confused. But the wine is so damn perfect. I also would like to mention one more thing, the holy grail of Tokaji wines is something called Tokajin Eszencia. This is wine made from ONLY the rotten grapes which when collected are stored in a way that they slowly release what little sugar filled liquid they have left in them. This insanely small amount of liquid is fermented for sometimes half a decade or more, reaching alcohol levels of under 5% abv. It is said that this wine, this blood of the Tokaji region, can be aged forever. An immortal wine. Wink wink nudge nudge.
The weekly winner is Disznókő Tokaji
Disznókő, Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2007, Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. United Kingdom: Archibald Constable and Company, 1897. Print.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Columbia Pictures Corporation, 1992. Film.