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Pandemic in the Streets

by Randy Fuller Apr 06, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated self-isolation and quarantine measures have given many of us a lot of extra time.  I’ve been spending my extra time by drinking wine and watching movies. So, no, my life hasn’t changed much. Grocery shopping has changed.  Who would have believed that when panic hit the streets, the toilet paper would run out before the wine and beer?

In 1950’s The Killer That Stalked New York the heavy is not coronavirus, but smallpox.  In true film noir style, the disease is unleashed not through bioterrorism, but through an inept criminal returning from Cuba.  Had Trump been commenting on it at the time, he probably would have called it the Havaner Flu while insisting there was no cause for alarm.  Until polling showed that people were alarmed anyway.

Three Star Brewing in D.C. had a Pandemic Porter on its list, but it’s not there now.  Hmm. Some winemakers feel that putting “smallpox” on a wine label wouldn’t hurt sales as much as putting “syrah” on it, but none have put it to the test.  Researchers are saying that compounds in red wine and chocolate may fight the smallpox virus. It’s not official, but what can it hurt? Get your favorite red and a box of See’s for this movie.

In Panic in the Streets, also from 1950, the bad germ is pneumonic plague.  New Orleans is the fictional petri dish here, just as it has been in the real life news of late.  It’s too bad that Mardi Gras and social distancing don’t mix. “Show us your breasts… from over there!”

If red wine can kill bacteria tied to lung cancer, which some reports have touted over the past 15 years or so, why fight it?  *pop!* Of course, there are other reports saying that drinking a bottle of wine is the equivalent of smoking ten cigarettes. Nothing in there about pneumonic plague, though.

It sounds like we need a doctor in the house.  Dr. Ernst Loosen is known for his amazing Rieslings, not reds.  Still, a bottle of single-vineyard Riesling and a half a pack of Luckys would pair well with any film noir, panic or no panic.

https://drloosen.com/wines/

The 1965 sci-fi The Satan Bug brings bio-terror to the front row.  The complicated story line is full of scientific intrigue, double- and triple-crosses, test tubes to end the world and some daredevil helicopter footage.  Who said laboratory work was boring? Are these guys handling the coronavirus blood tests? Wash your hands! Wear a mask! Get the hell back home and stay there!

Any film which uses devil imagery in its title deserves a pairing with Velvet Devil Merlot from Charles Smith Wines.  It’s from Washington state, by the way, one of the early hotspots for COVID-19.

https://charlessmithwines.com/velvet-devil-merlot