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The Birds


Let’s dip into the Alfred Hitchcock catalog again – and no, the wine pairing isn’t brandy.  That’s too easy, and it works with all Hitchcock movies.  For any sort of trouble that arises – and with Hitchcock, it always arises – the cure is a blast of brandy.  You can have a blast, but we have other pairing ideas today.

I recently got to see “The Birds” on the big screen at the Alex Theater in Glendale.  It’s not really as big a screen as the Don Drive-In, which is where I first saw the film when I was just a kid.  The lack of mosquitos at the Alex beats any issue of screen size, however.  And I never did like the citronella coils we had to set on fire on our dashboard to try and keep the mosquitos away.  If my dad – chain smoking Kools in the driver’s seat – isn’t keeping them away, why bother with citronella?

Set in Sonoma County wine country, “The Birds” wasn’t just suspenseful, it was downright scary.  Ordinary, everyday birds amassing for an attack on humans was a concept that tortured my “little kid thinking cap.”  Add in the Kennedy assassination, and that bewildering “what the hell happened to Elvis?” feeling, and 1963 was a pretty bad year for a kid.

It was a pretty good year for horror, though, with movies like “The Haunting,” “The Terror,” “The Ghost” and “The Day of the Triffids” hitting the screens that year.  The drive-ins were doing good business, I’m sure.

Trailers From Hell guru Eli Roth has a wonderful commentary on his turn with the trailer for “The Birds.”  He is so wrapped up in Hitchcock’s approach to the trailer, the actual movie has to take a back seat.  Come to think of it, Hitchcock’s trailer even put the movie in the back seat.

Cue the sound man, because when I was in the back seat of that 1960 Buick LeSabre station wagon at the Don Drive-In, what cut through the citronella and Kool smoke the most were the creepy sound effects in “The Birds.”  It was years before I could hear a crow without looking over my shoulder at the jungle gym.

Our wine pairing for “The Birds” is from Blackbird Vineyards of Napa Valley, not too far a drive from Bodega Bay.  “Paramour” is the name of the red blend, and the image on the bottle looks a lot like some birds are amassing for an attack on the wine cellar.  The notes of coffee will be useful when we are trying to stay awake on an all-night bird vigil.

We’re wingin’ it:

Smoking Loon Pinot Noir –  If you see a loon smoking, he’s bound to be a troublemaker.  If he smokes too much, send him back to the film noir movie from which he flew the coop.  If there are ten thousand loons smoking citronella, your worries will be bigger than mosquitos anyway.

Bird Wines – From the Omaka Valley of Marlborough, New Zealand comes this offering from winemaker Steve Bird.

Larry Bird Chardonnay – It looks like this wine may be out of production.  Napa Valley’s Cosentino Winery made it a few years back.  I had to mention it, even though ESPN beat me to the “surprisingly good for a white” joke.

Wine Markers – For your screening party featuring “The Birds,” get several sets and keep adding them to an unsuspecting guests glass when they aren’t looking.

Love Birds Wine Stopper – Well, it was the arrival of the love birds that started it all in Bodega Bay.  Apropos of nothing, the things pictured on this link are some of the most unusual looking items I’ve ever seen for sale.

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