And The Emmy Goes to Wine

The Emmys are this weekend and the tension in Tinseltown is rising. Our LA based columnist Ellen Clifford toasts the unsung members of the production crew with her very own Behind the Scenes Emmy Wine Awards. ---------------------------- All the stress of awards season surely deserves a drink. I am an actress when not nerding out on wine knowledge, so I feel particularly fit to pair wines with people in show business. But I want to reward the ones who don’t get big props—they make them. I’m pairing wines with a selection of behind the scenes heroes. Ever wondered what a grip is? You are about to find out. I give you, the Behind the Scenes Emmy Wine Awards! The Director: They get the time commitment and the glory. They need a wine that takes time and is lauded. I’m going vintage port . Have I tasted it? Only once but I dream of more. It is a sweet and highly alcoholic elixir. Rare, and once you open it, fleeting. It would be an excellent wrap party share. Vintage ports are only produced in years officially declared as being worthy. ‘Recent’ vintages that would be ready to drink now? 1980, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1992 and 1997. Share that bottle. Once it is open it won’t hold up long. But like a David Fincher film, a lengthy process (his shoots are infamously long) yields winning results. DP aka the Cinematographer: Responsible for getting just the right shot, they get a wine that is as rich and saturated as a Technicolor remake. Can I recommend Cali Zinfandel ?! As I write I’m drinking the Once and Future Frank’s Block Teldeschi Vineyard 2016. Ridiculously opulent. Once And Future is Joel Peterson aka the mastermind behind Ravenswood . It is: branches, cinnamon and allspice, raisins, currants and vigor. Brawn and brains with a sensual end. The beauty that, as an actress, I always hope cinematographers will be able to capture if they just angle their lenses correctly and blast me with light. Writer: Most of us writers foster our carpal tunnel in solitude. What we need at the end of the long day is skin contact. Ahem. I picked a Sicilian skin contact wine: Alessandro Viola Note di Bianco 2017. Sicilian. Even that just sounds sexy. It is golden, a bit mineral, grilled melon with a wild undercurrent of animal that conjures hedonistic sweat and perhaps feasting on wild greens while someone anoints you in essential oils. I’m still alone at the end of the day but at least I get skin contact…wine. Casting director: Casting directors prefer to bring in actors that are reliably good. And when not commandeering stars they are hoping for a solid cast that will work in their budget. They don’t have time to mess around. They get wine that is super affordable and grab-able at the grocery store: Charles and Charles Rosé . I’ve cited previous vintages as loves and it continues to show up solidly tasty and budget-friendly year after year—and solid performance from someone easy to get along with is what CD’s want to cast, no? Gaffer: This dude, dudette or non-du-identifying individual handles all things electrical. So it occurred to me you might want them sober. No wine for you! Boom: Bless the boom. They hold the long pole with a mic at the end and do their best to keep it out of the shot. Sometimes they are the same ones politely asking to put their hands up your shirt so as to properly position your mic. They deal in sound while being quiet themselves. Their wine is an understated big player: Chateau Gris Nuits-Saint-Georges ‘Les Terrasses’. Chardonnay can be big and blowsy OR elegant and understated OR a delightful middle ground. Chateau Gris manages to be in the middle. You almost will miss the oaky and buttery notes because the Meyer lemon and orange blossom dominate. But you’ll pick up the light oak and butter in the background like the boom can pick up a whispering actor’s lines. Grip: They build important things! Like pretty much all the equipment that supports cameras such as dollies and cranes. Their wine is one of solid structure: Tannat . Best known in France for being from Madiran, Tannat is rising in popularity out of Uruguay too. In France it is a tannic knock out albeit sometimes moderated by additions of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and given ample aging to mellow. It has the strength to last a hundred takes. All the way to the martini shot. Stuntperson: They have to roll with the punches, literally. They have to be flexible. And strong. So I am picking a wine that can leap from pairing to pairing all while maintaining a (limber) spine of steel. “Granite” by Michel Guignier is a Beaujolais beauty that is so complex I had to restrain myself from going back for more and more and more as I found new nuances with every sip. Both lean and robust it is all violets and sour yet candied red Sour Patch kids with a strong hit of, well, granitic stone and a wash of green herbs. And yet the low abv won’t get you too trashed to execute a flip. Note: that stands only if you could already do one. But it won’t get you too trashed to THINK you can do a flip either so a win either way. Showrunner: Just give them double espressos by an IV. They are the last word and they do, oh, everything? Best boy: This person assists both the key grip and the gaffer. The name reportedly comes from one department asking to borrow the other’s “best boy”. Since the best boy is neither here nor there, and may not even be a boy, I give them a Cerasuolo ! At first blush (get into the pun) is red. Or is it rosé? I like to think of it as color fluid (and the instagram freshcutgardenhose turned that Delectable note into a cartoon). My first Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo was by Annona. It is a wine for someone who cannot commit to red or rosé. Yet for all that ambiguity it has a grounding earthiness to it and embraces a slight chill. Craft service: These heroes keep us hungry actors nourished. Because we get grumpy and a grumpy actor is…well honestly I’ve done some of my best performances when pissed off, but one does need to stay nourished, and craft services keep the snacks and drinks readily available. There will usually be fruit, coffee, and some sort of starchy treat like crackers or chips. What pairs with snacks? I’d say something with a touch of sweet. How about a GOOD moscato d’asti ? L’Armangerie Moscato D’Asti Il Giai 2013 is all overripe apples and honeysuckle blossoms. A sweet treat that is not so sweet as to cause a sugar crash, which would ruin a long day on set. Crack open that snack size baggy of Fritos for a salty-sweet pairing. You may be working for 16 hours. You’re worth it. Hair and Makeup: These are my true heroes. The first time I worked on a feature I marveled how they made me look, oh, reasonable, the first day…and just as presentable day after day as we all got less and less sleep. Obviously they need a wine beautiful inside and out. I couldn’t help but thinking of a bottle I had with a glorious redhead on the label. I only wish my own scarlet locks held a candle to McGah Family Cellars Scarlett 2015 . It is a divinely balanced California Cab. Arresting and elegant as a chic updo and sexy cat-eye. Set tutor: When there is a minor on the set a tutor is required! I’ve met many of these tutors, hanging out, bored, waiting for their students to not be performing so they can inflict on/give schooling to them. I’d give them Scotch in a flask. Because Scotch has tweed-y professor vibes and if you are dealing with entitled star children a nip of Scotch might help. I’d give them Ardbeg . It is potent, smoky, and has a hint of ballpark hotdog on the nose. If the tutor is new in the kid and booze game (either/or) I’d give them a milder less oaky/smokey brew like Glenmorangie . Call it orange juice for grownups. As you tune in to the Emmy’s take the time to raise a glass to all these unsung heroes. They deserve a drink! Thanks to Ellen Clifford Delectable columnist Ellen Clifford is a WSET 3 and CMS 2 wine professional and comedic actress living in Los Angeles. Her musings on all things wine can be found on her blog Scrumptious Gruel and weekly podcast The Whine Situation . You can follow Ellen on Delectable and Instagram at @ellenclifford.

Charles & Charles

Columbia Valley Syrah Rosé Blend 2017

This rosé always impresses me. Or at least makes me happy I took it home so take that as you will. 2017 is the right combo of rich berries of the red sort a bit of pepper and a swash YES SWASH (if that’s not a word don’t wanna know) of wet river stone. A friend who won’t leave you. They may not save you but they will be there to lean on. — 6 years ago

Bob, "Odedi" and 11 others liked this


Swash great word!
Ellen Clifford

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@Trixie thank you!!💞

Alessandro Viola

Note di Bianco Grillo 2017

At first blush I got a hit of Brett but a vigorous decant aired it out and it’s drinking quite deftly. A new natural wine shop opened in my hood: Psychic Wines. So I had to chat the owner up on what he was into. This Sicilian elixir is a gentle beast. Grilled melon, a bit of sea salt, and an animal undercurrent of pleasant funk. Feels like summer love: sharp, poignant, and a bit sweaty. The first two sips I did not love. The more decant time the more I’m relishing. Very sexy wine. — 6 years ago

Stan, Trixie and 17 others liked this


Grandfather Rare Tawny Port Blend

Oh my. Recently I’ve discovered I AM a fortified wine person. IF it’s good. Can we revive this as a trend in the next few years? Because there is caramel nut magic here. I remember discovering caramel popcorn as a kid. And how amazing it was and no matter how many mouthfuls I got it was good and complex and sugary but salty and complex and this wine is that without being overbearingly sweet like the popcorn. The finish finishes...then comes back overwhelmingly intoxicating in every sense of the word. In-flippin-sane. — 6 years ago

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Isaac Pirolo

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Honestly, this gets me much more excited than the attempt to trend Sherry a couple years ago. Excellent note. Vivid.
Ellen Clifford

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@Isaac Pirolo it’s funny I shunned fortified for a long time. It’s not something for everyday glugging but it is truly special when you get the good examples!!
Isaac Pirolo

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@Ellen Clifford Right there with you. A style/segment that will have an uphill battle for many years to come, but should not be ignored...

Azienda Agricola L'Armangia

Il Giai Moscato d'Asti 2013

Off dry. Candied orange blossom and clover. Honeysuckle and frolics through fields of overripe apples. Sincerely I’m picturing crunching into a sweet apple while being rained on by honeysuckle but someone has cut the grass I’m standing on recently. Am I a moscato person?! Perhaps not totally yet but this one is yummy. With a nutty cheese I’m imagining a happy future exploration of boundaries if not a lasting friendship. — 6 years ago

GV, Severn and 9 others liked this

Maison Albert Bichot

Château-Gris Les Terrasses Nuits Saint Georges Chardonnay 2014

Well now Meyer lemons vanilla beans (dating oak trees so...) and a butter churned all couldn’t decide what wine to make and contributed equally. This is exquisite. The acid sings and the lemon and oak sing backup. Delightful. It’s balance of many contenders. All flavors and nuances may not be feisty but all together they are worth enjoying. So nice to taste chardonnay with oak that blends seamlessly into the other fun flavors of a ripe but acidity Chardonnay. So good so get the H in — 6 years ago

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12 Years The Nectar d'Or Extra Matured Sauternes Casks Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Oh hey! Leave it to @Paul Treadway Huntington Beacher Bum to get me into a Scotch. This is delectable. My usual quibble with scotch is the smoke and this one has a whisper of it but it only serves to ballast the vanilla, honey and...marmalade? Of the rest of this. Tried neat and on a big cube o’ ice in a chilled glass and definitely recommend the latter. It is an evenings worth of delicate sipping. A ballerina. A delicate scotch. I’m a fan. I eat my anti-scotch words this one is for me. — 6 years ago

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Matt Perlman

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This pic needs to be memed...”I love Scotch. Scotchy scotch scotch” etc
Ellen Clifford

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@Matt Perlman hehehehe finally a use for the 🥃 emoji!

Michel Guignier

Granite Gamay

Well well played again Psychic Wines. This wine is nearly so dexterous I may be more bendy but this is so complex and layered yet lithe I’d imagine it could do both buttoned up fox trot and a free wheeling lindy hop. Tasting note wise? You took so red sour patch kids and put them in a granite mortle and pestle, added an assorted mess o green stuff. Maybe some pine needles and sage and a pinch of white pepper. You pestled that shit up then sprinkled with candied rose and lilac and blessed with a licorice wand. And then you had the magic product known as Natural Wine at Peak. — 6 years ago

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Once & Future Wines

Teldeschi Vineyard Frank's Block Zinfandel

I love this wine! Joel Peterson makes good things. It’s all the baking spices and currants, dried and fresh, you could hope to have. Silky and beautiful. — 6 years ago

Paul, Brendan and 12 others liked this

McGah Family Cellars

Scarlett Cabernet Sauvignon

Dear McGah family as long as you keep making resplendent wine I will do my best to be a resplendent redhead and wine writer. Oh yah you guessed right I cherish this enchantress even at the beginning although I’m an hour into a decant and boom, but like BOOM the rich ripe tannins are landing on a comfy cushion. Velvet tannins and regal acid stand up to ripping alcohol. Plums, leather, cocoa and cola. Strawberry fruit by the foot. Ripeness, balanced with a green refreshing back drop. As a person I’d aspire to be Scarlett: Rich. Beautiful. And humanitarian (her to your tastebuds and me to the world). Can wine make you a better person? I say yah. Let’s all do as well as this s cab. — 6 years ago

Severn, "Odedi" and 24 others liked this
Paul T HB

Paul T HB

Now you need to try the Reserve, the Black Label
Paul T HB

Paul T HB

Is this your first Mike Smith made wine? I don’t recall you having anything from his collection
Ellen Clifford

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@Paul Treadway Huntington Beacher Bum I do believe it was my first! I will have to keep my eyes out for the Black Label. Thanks for getting me into this one in the first place!!