The 2011 thriller Contagion plays like it was ripped from today’s headlines. A respiratory illness spreads rapidly and … pandemic time! The virus even has a name made up of all caps and a number, MEV-1. The writer researched the topic with real live scientists, which puts him on at least equal footing with our present federal government. That’s what the scientists are saying, anyway. Hopefully the film’s vaccine will be a precursor for us, before looting and violence erupts over the last multi-pack of Charmin.
For Contagion, let’s go to Meniketti Wines of Monterey County for Contagious Chardonnay. Dave Meniketti is the frontman for the rock group Y&T. He’s also a wine lover and a winemaker. He is not, at last report, contagious. He says that his Chardonnay is.
1964’s The Last Man on Earth is set in (cue the theremin) THE FUTURE! Maybe in 1964 it looked like a long way to 1968. Today, it’s not hard to imagine that our existence in 2024 could be drastically different than it is today. Pandemics work quickly, I guess. Vincent Price stars as the supposed sole survivor of a plague which not only killed people, but turned them into vampires. Uh-oh, break out the rest of that Bela Lugosi wine.
Actually, there is a Walking Dead Wine, made by The Last Wine Company. It may be more fit for zombies, but their Blood Red Blend is Merlot heavy. That could stave off vampires by the hundreds or attract them in equal numbers, who knows? Just in case, the ten months of barrel aging means there is plenty of oak leftover with which to make wooden stakes.
The Masque of the Red Death also comes from 1964 and also features Mr. Price. It is one of an octet of Roger Corman films based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe named the plague The Red Death and described it as a horrible disease that gave its victims sharp pains, dizziness and profuse bleeding from the pores. That reminds me of the time I got hold of a bad bottle of Chianti. From what we hear, this coronavirus is no picnic but it sounds like The Red Death is more terrifying, hands down. Perhaps there’s a remake possible, The Masque of COVID-19.
There’s a wine called Death Metal Red which inexplicably has a unicorn on the label. The Whole Foods website says it’s not in stock at my store “due to high demand.” Right. Home bartenders may want to mix a Red Death cocktail, which involves Southern Comfort, blackberry brandy, sloe gin and several fruit juices. Did I have a night of those when I was in college? Did it cause bleeding from the pores? Maybe.