Oscars Gold Wine

I had a blast watching this year’s Best Picture nominees. Sadly, aside from Parasite we’ve got ourselves another Oscars So White. I will forever continue to champion a more varied demographic of performers and filmmakers, but I’m not a voting member of the Academy...yet. Someone put me in your picture! So all I can do about this year’s nominees is give you a wide variety of drinks, so this column doesn’t turn into Oscars So White Wine. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ FORD V FERRARI I’ve got a wine and a cocktail for you because I live to over-deliver. I wanted to pay homage to the Ferrari and the Ford. The Italian and the American. Your cocktail: The Americano! It consists of equal parts sweet vermouth and Campari topped with club soda. Presumably named because it was all the rage with Americans in Italy? Either which way it eventually leads to the Negroni so I am forever saying grazie to whoever invented it. For the wine, I give you an Italian variety tended to by an Italian, and grown in California! 2017 Andis Wines Sierra Foothills Barbera d’Amador Omigosh it is yummy. The bees don’t have enough knees to tell you how much I dig it. Lush and bright. Cranberry relish made with cinnamon and bourbon and vanilla with a back note kick of cocoa. Rolls into your mouth like a Burgundy velvet cloak with a secret pocket containing cordial. THE IRISHMAN Not that I’m telling you to drink like a hetman…but if you did, it would be wine in small tumblers. I recommend Bormioli—I use them when I want to feel too cool for Zalto. Problem is there is nothing better than Zalto but tumblers are cool if you want to pretend you can transcend those delicate stems. I missed this detail, and am loathe to sit through 3 ½ hours of this film yet again to confirm it, but according to Winespeed, Karen MacNeil’s email newsletter, you see consumption of 1948, 1955 and 1962 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico . We are going for a little more recent for us. As it was for them! Serve in a tumbler. 2015 Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva It is so sassy and bitter plum and rich fruit, so you love it. It tastes of umeboshi plums and sunset-soaked hillsides. And herbes. It is quite a looker and structured enough to be deemed “the wine”. JOJO RABBIT There was a lot of Nazi flask-swigging done, but I am assuming you want to drink what the good guys drank, and Jojo’s mom did some swigging of her own: red wine straight from the bottle. How about a Spätburgunder ? AKA German Pinot Noir . 2016 Weingut Wittman Rotwein Trocken Spätburgunder An affordable, tasty, somewhat acidic kick in the balls and also a velvety hug. You probably need both. Ripe velvety cherries. Good acid keeps you on your toes but lulling cherry coke-ness lets you wind down. It is not overly complicated nor does it need to be. It just needs to be a familiar friend you feel cool chugging from the bottle while keeping an eye out for the Third Reich. Or, ya know, our current regime here in the US. JOKER I contemplated some sort of green cocktail, but then Freakshow wine flashed before my eyes and I knew that was the right thing. You’ll want rich silky warmth throughout this film, and Freakshow wine will provide it much better than our healthcare system does for the mentally ill. 2017 Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon This won’t challenge you; the movie is enough to grapple with. It is fruity and fun and rich and embraces those of us just outside the norm. LITTLE WOMEN The drinks I saw consumed in Little Women appeared to be sparkling wine and a wine that looked rather golden. Well, I’m going with a stereotypically woman’s wine for these Little ones: a nice oaked Chardonnay . But elegant oak. One that toes the line between maudlin and refined. As do these young women growing up and learning how to deal. This is a wine for learning to deal. It’s a bigger deal than you’d think. PS I am giving Greta Gerwig an honorary Best Director with this post. She was robbed of the nomination. 2016 Talbott Sleepy Hollow Chardonnay Lip smacking but not THAT heavy and fun! Stones, vanilla, apples and corn tortillas are all tasting notes on this and if that doesn’t sound like wholesome girlhood, I don’t know what does. All to be indulged in under the old oak tree (that possibly has a secret mailbox nailed to it for missives to the neighbor boy). MARRIAGE STORY You need one great New York wine for Kylo Ren and one from California for ScarJo’s character. And a cup of tea with Manuka honey with a biscotti for Laura Dern, bless her. The California wine must have depth and warmth and the New York one must be brutal that have heart. 2016 Unti Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Dreamy deep. Heady as Scarlett Johansson and 76% Zinfandel 18% Petite Sirah 6% Barbera. MY GOSH. Plummy pruney, ugh so good I can’t even. It is full, and full of purple things and jam but also fresh currant juice. And vanilla. And it is someone both swarthy and elegant, which somehow describes Scarlett Johansson too. 2017 Empire Estate Finger Lakes Dry Riesling Acid as cutting as Adam Driver’s putdowns he screams at Scarlett shortly before collapsing on his knees and sobbing. Daintily laced with delicious ripe lemons and white flowers. Silky smooth but cool as…well, cool as Adam Driver. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD Omigosh you guys they drank SO much in this film that I kept a list of drinks both seen and mentioned but…that’s a lot. That being said this is about 2 ½ hours of film to get through, so I will give you a full drink menu to sustain you, based on what I observed the characters drinking. *Begin with a Bloody Mary. Either light on the vodka or sip slowly. *Next, go big and get a Martini. Pretend you are in Los Angeles dining at Musso & Frank. *Sloppily shake up an egg white with whisky, lemon juice and simple syrup for a whisky sour. But unlike Leo’s character have only one, not eight. Intermission. The characters don’t, but you might want to, I dunno have diet coke and if you are full enough of booze stop. If you want to throw caution to the wind (I take no liability you’ve been warned), continue on. *It’s your choice at this point—get into beer, as the characters do throughout the film, or blend up some icy margaritas. Watch out for cults. PARASITE Whiskey? Plum extract? Soju? Beer? Capitalism and classism on the rocks? Let’s get trashed and take down the man. I did not have Korean whiskey at home but I did have at least one whisky, which the Kim family seems to verily enjoy. Let’s raise a glass by one of my favorite Scotch producers, Tomatin . Tomatin Cù Bòcan Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Subtle (for Scotch) smoke. Flour, oats, and grains of (almost) every sort. Light and citrus-forward with some flowers and whether taking on the man or just getting sloshed. It is grand. 1917 This film may make you tempted swig whatever numbing booze the soldiers had in their flasks. But I am turning towards the film’s tender moments involving milk. You’ll have to watch the movie see what I mean, but in the meantime, let us have some warm milk. Or just get a latte but at least a half-caf. 1917 will get your heart racing enough. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Winter Rosé Wonderland Winter Comes: Solstice Libations Super Natural: RAW WINE More Than Green Grapes Ellen in LalaLand Take One: Nighttime at Wally’s Wine Wine is Virgo, Virgo Wine You can also listen to Ellen's podcast with Shaughn Buchholz, The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! With Dana Farner Wine Situation Final Five! With Caroline Liem


Cù Bòcan Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

As far as scotch goes I’m down with this. A lot. Subtle smoke. All types of flour and grain. A mélange o’ citrus and some flowers. So cool. — 3 years ago

Eric, Paul and 8 others liked this


Rotwein Trocken Spätburgunder 2016

Quite fabulous! Earthy and also friendly. Not overly complex but has a depth to it. Could be both serious and chuggable. Cherries, cola, herbs and dirt. Refreshing red! — 3 years ago

Eric, Ron and 19 others liked this

Unti Vineyards

Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2016

It is alive! And growing! But carries the wisdom of at least 50 years so like, if baby Yoda was wine...what I’m saying is this wine has youth and verve and also wisdom and it is a sage. Not that the wine or winery has age but this wine feels like it. This is the perfect balance of weight and weightless. And dried fruit and fresh and dark and light. Oh my. It inspires love in my heart n soul. — 3 years ago

Paul, Eric and 18 others liked this
Jay Kline

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@Ellen Clifford and the people behind UNTI are wonderful to boot

Michael David Winery

Freakshow The Strongest Man on Earth Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon

Trying out my new Zalto Bordeaux glasses with Cali cab. This wine is easy peasy. It will not challenge you but sometimes that’s okay. Very ripe tannins and purpley fruit and there is a whiff of pepper to give a little edge. I have a feeling this may be a highly engineered act but I guess that’s why it’s a Freakshow. — 3 years ago

Eric, Trixie and 17 others liked this


Congratulations on you test success!🌟
Paul T- Huntington Beach

Paul T- Huntington Beach

The blend Freakshow is better than the Cabernet Freakshow, so at least you picked the right one. The Freakshow Zin isn’t bad either.
The Earthquake series is a step up though for only a few dollars more
Ellen Clifford

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@Paul T- Huntington Beach haven’t tried the other ones! But perhaps I shall...

Castello di Gabbiano

Riserva Chianti Classico Sangiovese 2015

Angry enough to hit you with a sour plum and loving enough to make you a nice pasta with so many herbs. Tannins are prevalent which I’m into but others may want to wait a minute. Not the most complex but it has intelligence — 3 years ago

Paul, David and 15 others liked this
Paul T- Huntington Beach

Paul T- Huntington Beach

Nice to see your wine war scars have healed
Ellen Clifford

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@Paul T- Huntington Beach i could have used some pasta with this!


@Paul T- Huntington Beach the white wine didn’t bruise her 🙄. Never blame the white vino.

Andis Wines

Amador County Barbera 2017

Omigosh I love this. It is warming and silky and also spicy but has enough acid to keep your mouth watering and it feels like a holiday in the winter that gives you the excuse to drink sweet liqueurs and eat fudge all wrapped up in velvet. It’s that kind of happy. — 3 years ago

Eric, Trixie and 15 others liked this
Vasanth Balakrishnan

Vasanth Balakrishnan

@Ellen Clifford have you tried Scott Harvey wines? They make a great Amador Co Barbera as well.
Ellen Clifford

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@Vasanth Balakrishnan i have not tried them but will keep an eye out for them!


Estate Grown Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay 2016

Divine! Refined. Yet not too un-subtle. It will embrace you with a baked apple-y vanilla lemon curd butter hug. That’s a good hug. But it is bright and lovely. Still there is a zing and brightness to counter anything hinting at rich. Good stuff. — 3 years ago

Paul, David and 12 others liked this