Soooo… it’s National Drink Wine Day! Which is apparently a thing. Now, for people who drink wine it’s likely that Drink Wine Day does not come once a year (try once a day at 4:59PM). But food and beverage holy days are super important to observe, much like the feast days of saints in the Roman Catholic calendar. For instance, girls born on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, are often named Mary; if you happen to bear a child on National Drink Wine Day, consider naming him or her Meritage, or Trebbiano, or Cooper, or Brett (for Brettanomyces, the yeast responsible for “barnyard” notes in wine). Because this is serious stuff. We’re talking about a National Day of Drinking Wine, a civic obligation. Capisce?
Fifty Shades Darker was released last weekend, which is a thing too. So you might want to know what to sneak into the theater when you go to see this film, because trust me, you’re gonna need a drink. And if you’re truly pious about National Drink Wine Day, you might want to just go for it and polish off the whole bottle. You’ll need a Lyft to get home, but it will create the temporary illusion that what you’re watching has a cogent plot. And the headache? Trust me, you would’ve had it anyway.
Presumably due to the legendary sexual performance enhancing properties of getting drunk, the folks who brought you the Fifty Shades trilogy have also provided you with a branded wine. By branded, I do not mean stamped on the haunch with a red-hot “this is my property” mark. Or a mysterious, mysterious cigarette burn for that matter. I mean the other, more painful kind of branding, the marketing kind.
Oh my God, so many missed opportunities.
Like the books and the film adaptations of the books, there’s really no time for nuance or development, so while these are crucial elements of winemaking (and hey, fiction!) you’ll need to accept that we aren’t going to get something as redemptive as the self-referential and self-effacing humor that we got with the release of Klingon Bloodwine. Had these people actually released a suite of fifty Gris de Gris (that’s “gray from gray,” meaning a rosé wine from a tinted, rather than black, grape) from Washington State fruit, I would have applauded. Even if they’d gone with a really feisty Malbec (frequently described as “a leathery attack”) for the red, I would’ve gotten a giggle out of it. The leather note in some red wines comes from really high tannin levels-and that word got its name because it is the substance used to tan leather. Like the kind you might find in a riding crop, or a whip, or high-end restraints. So that would have been funny. Instead, we’ve got a rather overripe Petite Sirah-Syrah blend that tastes like… red wine.
I guess they at least got a “hot finish.” In wine, that means “too alcoholic,” but… well.
And maybe the white could have been-I don’t know, something sparkling that’s under too much CO2 pressure so that you can’t pull the cork without a shocking explosion of… anyway. What you get instead is a high-Brix blend of Gewürztraminer and Sauvingnon Blanc-the term “hard finish” is difficult to find in the same sentence as “Gewürztraminer” but they’ve managed it. Plenty of florals-kind of like in the movie when Christian festoons the indoor pool area with about 10K worth of exotic blossoms to propose to Ana, the woman who ran away from him because of his insistence on binding contracts. Apparently no one explained to her that marriage is actually also a binding contract. But I digress-she might have been three sheets to the wind on this stuff.
Now, it is important to remember that although “shades of gray” normally means “layered, nuanced, complex,” that’s not what it means here. But: National Drink Wine Day isn’t about snooty sommeliers testing the Coriolis Effect on magnesium oxide crystal glasses of ’83 Chateau Margaux, folks. It’s a populist, everyman kinda thing. Inclusive and friendly. Like movies about plucky virgins who are of two minds about descending into a sadistic relationship with a damaged and emotionally void billionaire. So in that spirit, you might want to ignore the utterly unimaginative packaging, agree that “sensual” and “overdone” are the same thing, embrace franchises that don’t know when to quit, and hit the bottle and then the cinema. Or vice versa. Or hey… simultaneously. Because hot, am I right?
It’s National Drink Wine Day, everyone. It’s unpatriotic to ignore it, and more prudish and repressed than a Mayflower Puritan to imagine you shouldn’t cough up a fifty, as it were, on a box-set of two shades of wine: White, and Red. Oooh! Add a bottle of this for the whole Stars and Stripes Shebang. I’m not sure when National Get Kinky Day is, but I’ll find out and report back.
Meanwhile, today works.