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The NHL season is underway and the Ducks have started the season with an impressive record, keeping me glued to the TV and giving me another event to cover during a busy campaign (forgive me, I have been watching a lot of re-runs of The West Wing) of blogging. As I get ready to take in the season, parsing my time between blogs, actually playing hockey and wine tastings, I can only hope this is a big season for the Ducks as it will manifest nicely into many celebratory posts. Another thing that my team’s season means is that there will be less time to enjoy films, a past-time for me, as I always try to catch up over the season break, enjoying as many “classics” as I can. The difference this year has been that I introduced wine to the movie-watching process, feeding two birds from one perch, so to speak.

Far and away the zenith of my summer time movie watching came when I had a miniature Paul Newman fest. I had never seen Cool Hand Luke before and that was a huge priority over the break—to enjoy cinematic history, line after famous line—coupling the experience with two different bottles of Pinot Noir. I had my glassware ready with two glasses of similarly hued vino so that there would be little pouring distraction during the picture. While mentally tracking the film, paying attention to the scoring, actors in their youth/prime and the recognizable dialogue, I would casually sip on my first glass of 2009 Dashwood Pinot Noir (#160) from New Zealand. The fruit-forward red was packed with light tannins that made it very easy drinking. There was little to pay attention to in the wine, just never-ending fruit with moderate acidity that kept the Pinot from being out of shape. It paired well with the film, from the opening scene of Paul Newman lopping the heads off of innocent municipal property—parking-meters—through his tender banjo playing on learning of his mother’s death; the wine deferred to the movie, content to take the backseat.

The A-Z Pinot Noir from Oregon (#159) was a little bit more distracting, the flavors changed, noticeably, shifting from ripe cherry found in Pinot from New Zealand to earth and cranberry. The wine was replete with mouth-puckering acidity and lightly drying tannins. During the film, the Pinot was noisier—in an inaudible sort of way—not as eager to let the spotlight fade, nor share it with the movie. It had structure that made me pay attention to it, and thus, it was not a good candidate for movie viewing (viewing this movie), though its flavors meshed better with the tragic ending befalling Luke.

While I watched other movies in my downtime, Cool Hand Luke was definitely the most memorable, not so much for the wines—though those showed well—but for the quality of the film. Trading movie time for the coolest game on earth—hockey—is not so difficult; going forward I will trudge happily into Duck-mode and, hopefully, be afforded many opportunities to drink Champagne. Let’s Go Ducks!

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