Making a Movie & Drinking Hutton Vale Grenache Mataro 2000

huttonvale I have been MIA on Wine Predator and busy posting on Art Predator!

And what have I been busy posting about? Getting the Best Job In the World–as Island caretaker on the Great Barrier Reef! Which doesn’t exactly encourage me to go on and on about AUS wine!

To be in the running for the Island caretaker job, applicants had to produce a 60 second or less video highlighting their qualifications, including why they want the job, and sharing a little about the Great Barrier Reef. In addition to years writing the Art Predator column and now several blogs (this wine one with lots about AUS wine!), plus other journalism and creative writing experiences, I had my own TV news show in high school, I’ve written scripts for PSAs and produced 7 spoken word videos.

So as soon as I heard about the job, I got right to writing a script. And rewriting. And revising. And writing completely different scripts. I won’t tell you how many. I drank quite a bit of wine while working on all this and neglected to take adequate notes to describe them to you!

I enlisted the help of a friend, Imre Juhasz, the father of my son’s best friend Shimon. Imre works on films all over the world, most recently for the Discovery channel. He knows his way around a video camera AND is skilled with final cut pro.

Once we meshed our schedules, we had to work around the weather (rain, rain and more rain). My family being under the weather meant I had to revise the script so that it required very little of the man of my life who was down with the flu, and the small boy wasn’t well either.

So there went the funny script with both of them or even including them in much of the way of anything, certainly not anything athletic or adventurous!

We started at the beach down the street from Imre’s house. While our boys played, we played too with some camera angles and ideas, and filing the sand writing sequences.  We considered going to Channel Islands NP but ended up scoping out my mom’s house as a rainy backup with expansive views.

The next day, Valentine’s Day,  we met again at sunset, this time with the whole family and our bikes to shoot the cycling scene and the closing scene with the globe beach ball. Imre drove his car with his son sleeping in the back–that was our steadycam!

The third day of shooting we did in the backyard and then hiked up to Two Trees. Marshall was too sick so we shot him close to the car then he waited for us there while we hiked up.

The fourth day we couldn’t get together until after the kid were asleep. So at 830 I came over with a bottle of Hutton Vale Vineyards 2000 Eden Valley Grenache Mataro blend I picked up for around $10 at the last Grateful Palate sale. Hutton Vale is one of those wineries GP dropped over the summer, and if this wine says anything about what they produce, it was a mistake! It came in red tissue paper with s sticker closure and the wine was sealed in red wax. Very classy presentation! I also chose it because Imre and I had some very unimpressive and bland Coppola Tempranillo the night before (regularly $16 on sale at Vons for $9) and I’d raved to him about how much I enjoy GSMs which he was unfamiliar with.

So the Hutton Vale Grenache Mataro I figured would be perfect for the task–something wonderful as we edited the video.

And I was right! From the first sniffs to the last sediment filled sips, the wine was quite a pleasure. The nose had that funny musky rich Mataro thing with some sage thrown in going on which at first raised Imre’s eyebrows but then he settled right into it happily and with amazement. The grenache gives the mataro a fine balance with its spicy fruitiness. It was so good that I’m practically desperate to go find more!

The wine lasted through three hours of editing, then we called it a night and I headed home with the empty bottle and a promise to get more!

On the fifth day, we worked about 12 hours on it, on and off during the day. We stopped for a pizza and I picked up a bottle of Ecco Chianti (regularly $12,on sale for $8) and we were all unimpressed–the memories of the Hutton Vale too strong on our palates! About midnight we finished and ready to upload when Imre started having trouble getting it to be the right size without distortion. It took over 3 hours to get it right, then I headed up to post it on the site–at 4am!  Unfortunately a day or so later, it was rejected –some sort of YouTube problem and they asked me to resubmit. Back to the drawing board with Imre and another 3 hours down the tube trying to get the right size without distortion. Another late night ensued for me when the site went down for maintenance when I was ready to upload it! Finally I heard the news that it was accepted and live. Because the site gets so bombarded, it is easiest to watch it on YouTube in HD:

Now just waiting to hear whether I make the 50 shortlist!

Go here to read a review of the 2001.

RBJ Theologicum Mataro: on the wild side

Day 6: a Mataro finish

DAY 6 AFTER DINNER: Reds Meadow, Inyo National Forest

I am about to take my first sip of mataro, a grape I had never heard of before I bought this wine in April 2008, at the Grateful Palate Imports sale. Since I love the RBJ–that would be Chris Ringland, Bruce, and Johnstone– theologicum grenache/mourverde blend so much, and find it such a deeply satisfying wine, Alex Sabad encouraged me to pick up a bottle of their 2002 Mataro theologicum. And since I understand now that Mataro is another name for mourverde, I guess I do know it…a little!

Since we’re camping and cooking instead of doing hotels and restaurants, and we’re not traveling to Washington state and back like we planned do to $5 a gallon gas prices, we’re living it up by drinking GREAT wine every night; I brought a half case of Aussie wines with us! And if you’ve been following this blog journey in the eastern Sierra, you’ve heard a bit about those wines along the way!

So now let me set the scene: Reds Meadow campground, 7600’ Sierra Nevada. Freshly showered in hot springs water in the an old concrete bathhouse maintained by donations and volunteers. Post dinner of what do we still have cuz we’re still here when we were going to leave today but not too bad combo of italian pesto tortellinis and Indian food (and some classy, yummy Lengs and Cooter 2005 shiraz!!) Continue reading