Note: this post is best read while listening to Radiohead’s “Life in a Glasshouse” (which is featured in Children of Men but sadly not included on the soundtrack).
I love anything dystopian if it’s done well: film, TV, books, music. I discovered this in high school when I watched Children of Men in theaters with my best friends (what up, Amanda, Renee and Kacie). What I remember most vividly is the completely silent drive home. That movie made me think and I wasn’t used to that. I liked it. Fast forward 11 years to when I was watching the premier of The Handmaid’s Tale with friends. I asked if anyone had seen Children of Men since a lot of themes are present in both. A few of my friends hadn’t seen it so I believe I said “Two weeks. Watch party. My house.” Not sure, I was kind of drunk TBH.
But here we are, about two weeks later and I have five dear friends coming over to watch a depressing film with me. YAY! I refuse to host any sort of party without the appropriate accoutrement so I decided to throw together a cheese and charcuterie and plate-- one of my absolute favorite things in the world. Seriously, if I could eat charcuterie for dinner every night and not go broke while simultaneously getting heart disease, I would. And this being my party, there had to be wine. Good wine. I chose one wine that I know and love and another that I’ve never tried before. Both have fantastically dystopian labels (I hope the winemakers don’t take offense to this because I mean it with the utmost respect).
Les Grandes Vignes
The only thing I love more than the color black is the combo of black and red. In fact, my favorite outfit in the fall/winter is my black jeans with my bright red sweater (preferably with black or red nails). Also, so many of my favorite album covers are black and red like the aforementioned Amnesiac by Radiohead or anything by The White Stripes. So I love this wine label and find it just a tad on the dystopian side (something about the ghostly looking vines or trees or whatever they are). It was super hard to find much information about this wine, but what I know is that it is a Cinsault from Côtes du Rhône, a massive wine-growing region in Southeastern France. I can also tell you that it is delicious. At less than $15, this is one of my go-to wines, year round. I would basically trust Jenny & Francois with my life (as far as wine is concerned and maybe in general) so I knew I would love this. It is tart but earthy, without a ton of tannin or acidity. It’s fruity, with notes of stone fruits like plum. There is a minerality to it, like slate (which I might just be thinking of because my charcuterie board is made of it. I'm not one for licking rocks though I respect your dedication if you are).
Valravn Old Vine Zinfandel
Okay, I totally went based off of label for this one because it’s not super common to pair a big bold red with charcuterie. Then again, I don’t really listen to wine rules. I went with this particular wine because ravens are creepy in the best possible way and I’m also a superfan of Zinfandel and think it’s the perfect accompaniment for a post-apocalyptic film. The Valravn is actually from the winemaker who produces Banshee wines, whose rosé I love. This Zinfandel's big body pairs well with the heaviness and existential dread casually floating through the film. Its fruitiness, on the other hand, pairs well with the prosciutto I'm serving and the light acidity cuts through the creaminess of the brie. Also, I bought my favorite crackers: cracked pepper water crackers that taste just great with this wine since Zinfandels are typically pretty peppery. This is great with charcuterie but you know what would also be delicious? Some Kansas City BBQ. Burnt ends from Joe's, to be exact. I wish you could BYOB at Joe's because, while I love a Tank 7 with my BBQ, this wine would legit pair well with anything on their menu. Again, I say, don't overthink food and wine pairings!