The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

This Weekend’s Forecast: Sex and Wine

Here’s my latest post over at Long Awkward Pause.  Make sure you to pop over there for some funny stuff…

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You know what’s happening this weekend is, don’t you? Let me give you a hint – it’s a special day that celebrates love.  Many women have been waiting months for this day so that they can revel in a night of pure romance.   Meanwhile, many men will be spending a night out with their significant others when they’d really just rather sit home and watch some college basketball.   But those men will gladly shell out money if it means there’s sex involved.   Or at least a few glimpses of nipple.

I’m talking, of course, about the opening weekend of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
50 shades movie


What? You thought I was talking about Valentine’s Day?

I read the first book of the series and thought it was utter horseshit. I appreciate that it was written to my grade school reading level, but even that couldn’t sway me from laughing at the completely asinine inner thoughts of Ana, a 21-year-old American girl:

– His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something.

– I can almost hear his sphinx-like smile through the phone.

– The muscles inside the deepest, darkest part of me clench in the most delicious fashion.

– Mentally girding my loins, I head into the hotel

– The orange juice tastes divine. It’s thirst-quenching and refreshing.

– My very small inner goddess sways in a gently victorious samba.


Seriously, do any of you 21-year-old women out there actually talk like that?!?!   (If so, please comment in that style down below.)   There’s also that pesky little matter of the male main character treating his sex partner as a possession.

That all said… I’m TOTALLY going to go see the movie.   And I would encourage any guy to see it for three reasons.

First, boobies. (I sooo wanted to post a picture to illustrate this first reason. But I think the bosses here at Long Awkward Pause may frown upon it.)

Second, knockers.   (Guys, you sure I can’t post a pic?)

Third, if you’re a single guy, I can think of worse places to be than a movie theater filled with soccer moms who are without their kids and, if the filmmakers did their job, are pretty horny.

hot mom meme


As for the drunk part, they have that covered, too – 50 shades wine


I normally can’t stand it when products exist as pure gimmickry because they’re conceived and developed in a conference room.  Rather than trying to put out a good product, the emphasis is on how they can make money off of movie or television fans.   Wine is particularly tricky because there are so many variables that go into its production. It’s very difficult to make a decent wine and very easy to make complete swill.

In this case, they’re expecting rabid fans of the 50 Shades franchise, whose tastes are somewhat suspect, to buy mass quantities the wine.  Then have all their other 50 Shades loving cougar friends over after the movie to get drunk, talk about the sexy parts, and then have a lingerie-clad pillow fight.

Dayummm. Well played, marketers. Marketers 1, Wine Snob 0.

Not wanting to go down without a fight, I decided to buy a couple bottles and prove my point.

Right off the bat, I’m a little uneasy that they both say they’re from “California” and not anything more specific like Napa Valley or Howell Mountain.   This means that they can get their grapes from anywhere in California.  They could very well be getting  high quality grapes from Napa, but there’s a better chance they’re from Fast Eddie’s Grape Emporium in the middle of Death Valley. (Hint: that’d suck)


Tasting Notes

White Silk – California White Wine 2012 ($17)
The label doesn’t indicate what kind of grapes are in it, but it has really strong floral, honey, and lychee aromas. That, along with the slight sweetness (off-dry), fruitiness, and silky texture has me thinking it’s got a lot of Gewurztraminer in it. But there’s also a good amount of lingering acidity in it, so maybe there’s Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio? There’s only a slight amount of oaky flavors, so I’m guessing they threw some chips into the stainless steel barrels. I wish it had a little bit more fruit to balance the alcohol burn on the finish. Overall, pretty good.

Red Satin – California Red Wine 2012 ($17)
Medium-purple color, clear, with some pink around the edges. Strong, dusty aroma with lots of blueberries, chocolate and some black pepper on the nose.   On the palate, it’s full-bodied and bold, but not jammy. Not much in terms of acids, but very tannic. There’s some oak there, but it’s restrained. Maybe French barrels? Really well-balanced and lingering finish. I’m definitely thinking Syrah and maybe Cabernet Franc?  Definitely well worth the money.

The Verdict

Dammit.  They weren’t supposed to be that good.  They aren’t going to make me forget that bottle of 2000 Chateau Leoville-Poyferre, but it sure isn’t that megabox of Franzia I saw some college students walking out of the store with.   I’ve had a few cheaper wines that were better, but many, many more expensive wines that weren’t as good.

Marketers 2, Wine Snob 0.

Have you read the books? Are you going to see the movie? (Remember to respond in your best romance novel voice)



About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

28 comments on “This Weekend’s Forecast: Sex and Wine

  1. the winegetter
    February 13, 2015

    Awesomely done, John!! I especially like reason #3 for seeing the movie…I tried the bottle of the red that stayed at our home for two more days, and it really didn’t fall apart (I admit I was secretly hoping it would). Really not a bad wine at all. Thanks for sharing!

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 13, 2015

      Yeah it had some nice tannins on it. I would totally buy that white again. Can imagine it with shrimp pad thai.

      • the winegetter
        February 13, 2015

        Mixing the alcohol burn with the chili burn? 😉

        • thefoodandwinehedonist
          February 13, 2015

          Well I was thinking about the interplay with it being off-dry and acidic. But maybe all this talk of the movie has got me subconsciously succumbing to the desire to be tortured.

  2. armchairsommelier
    February 13, 2015

    I’m almost disappointed the wines are good . . . because the book was such, well, you said it best . . . horse shit!! Laters, baby. Erf.

  3. gabrieleneumann
    February 13, 2015

    I’m tempted to try the red now…if I can deal with embarrassment of buying 50 Shades branded wine

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 13, 2015

      Dont know the female equivalent of it – but it was like guys buying nudie mags but they were behind the counter and you had to proclaim to the whole store that you wanted the latest issue of Hustler or D-cup Fever

  4. elizabeth
    February 13, 2015

    Color me genuinely shocked that these wines are at all palatable! I’m morbidly curious which of the local wine shops near me will be carrying it, especially when it comes to the better shops with more interesting selections. It certainly begs the question of which is more embarrassing: stocking the wines or buying the wines based off of badly-written Twilight fanfiction?

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 13, 2015

      What’s more embarrassing is to actually write a blog post that I enjoyed them..

      I looked for them at the usual suspects – World Market, CVS and gave up. Then I found them in a local specialty food place with amazing wine selection. Go figure… The website has a locator, so now you have no excuse.

  5. Max D.
    February 13, 2015

    One of the few times–perhaps the only time–that I disagree with the FWH. Well, not so much disagree, but more like not agree. Since I don’t have my own blog, I don’t have to worry about serious backlash. And best of all, I haven’t tasted the wines, so I can keep and proudly wear my wine (and food) snob badge. I haven’t read the books either, and don’t plan to see the movie, so that makes me the perfect wine-food-film-literary snob. (But maybe those creds are suspect since I do like fart jokes and Cheetos, especially when they appear simultaneously.)

    Here’s my problem: first, the price. As the FWH notes, this is a wine assembled in the boardroom. At $17, whatever corporations are behind this wine, are going to clean out. Since these are “California” grapes–again as the FWH points out–this wine would normally retail for under $10, maybe under $5. These are not select parcel vines. They are selling a wine at the retail level with restaurant-level mark-ups. Having said that, I’m not a commie, and don’t begrudge corporations their profits, but this savvy pricing stinks too much of greedy profiteering, taking advantage of those middle- and upper middle class cougars getting together for pillow fights.

    Second, there’s NO way the white wine has any appreciable amounts of Gewurztraminer! There can’t be THAT much of the stuff in California to begin with, and people who own and tend to those vines won’t be able to supply that much juice to a multi-national corporation for national and international distribution. It’s more likely bulk Riesling, which in the US tends to be sweet, even when supposedly dry. But even so, I wouldn’t bet on it. Maybe mostly Pinot Grigio, which I believe grows in abundance in “California.” (As for the reds, there’s certainly enough Syrah to go around, but Cab Franc. . . not so sure.)

    As we know, wine today is not merely natural yeasts fermenting the grape juice. There are a lot of additives that go into modern wines. That explains why the wine is surprisingly good. I’m sure if I tasted it, I would say the exact same thing: very enjoyable, more please. And yes, I’m sure there are $25 or even $35 wines that aren’t nearly as satisfying. But that’s the point: we’re not tasting the expression of the land or the craft of the winemaker; we are tasting the chemicals added to the wine, the “natural flavors” and God knows what else (some wineries are now independently including a list of ingredients on their back labels, most notably Ridge and Boony Doon). It’s not just sulfites that are added to most modern wines. And if the movie is successful, and the rest of the books are made into movies, the corporation will have to deliver more than just one vintage of the wine, and you can bet they will try to make it taste the same year in and year out, and that consistency of taste is difficult to achieve if they are using “California” grapes. Their labs have enough chemicals to ensure that consistency.

    Why does that matter to me? If the wine tastes good, and I’ll enjoy it with my dinner, or while grilling, or while tying up my mistress, why make a fuss? First and frankly, because I can afford to be a snob. I’m not rich, but I’m at a point where I can make choices: I don’t want a new car, so I haven’t made a car payment in years. The money I spend on a car payment, I can spend on good food and wine. So what if I drive a 1999 car? You know what I can put in that car? That’s right, 1999 Burgundy. That $17 price point won’t make me buy the wine. Second, and most importantly, corporate wines like these are an insult to the honest people who grow honest wines across the world. Yes, a chemist and a CEO can make a $10 wine that beats a $30 wine, but that’s $30 that doesn’t go to someone who looks after the vines himself (or herself), who takes the time to do a green harvest, who picks grapes by hand, who allows natural yeasts to ferment the wine, etc. etc. I can’t let these guys down. This is specially true of the small appellations. I’m not talking about the mass produced Bordeaux that sells for $25 just because it says “Bordeaux” on the label. I’m talking about the wines from Bierzo, or the Jura. A lot of Spanish winemakers are making stellar cellar-worthy wines, but they can’t sell them for $50 because no one will recognize Bierzo on the label. The 50 Shades wine people can decide to sell it at $17 because that’s sort of a sweet spot: they could sell it for $9.99, but they don’t want their wines associated with other wines at that price point. They could sell it for $29.99, but they know not as many cougars will be buying it at that price. The Bierzo guy has no choice. His profit margins will be miniscule. (In some perverse way, that’s good for the consumer: we can buy a superb Spanish wine that will age beautifully for next to nothing.)

    If I’m honest here, part of my rejection of 50 Shades wine is not purely snobbish, but it is equally self-centered. This Big Wine v. Little Wine battle reminds me too painfully of what’s going on in education today, my field. Pearson is a giant corporation that is on the “cutting edge” of online education. Their goal, and that of many university administrators, is to get rid of tenured faculty and eventually have online courses taught not even by part-time instructors, but by “managers” who would run an online class like a website. Students upload work and it is graded by certain software. No need for faculty! If you have some computer skills, you can “manage” an online class! And the online class will cost less! Surprise. Like the wine industry, this will fly. We tend to value efficiency and convenience over quality and craftmanship (in wine and education).

    And with that, so ends my disagreement with the FWH. I’m off to get a bottle of Mawby’s Blanc de Blancs, Michigan’s finest sparkling wine. Anyone care to guess what it retails for?

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 13, 2015

      15 bucks! But I think you should get their “Sex”. It’s appropriate for this weekend and tastes pretty good…

      No disagreement at all on any of those points. In fact wholehearted agreement on most if not all. I was really licking my chops at the opportunity to hate on the wine, but it didn’t happen. The thought did cross my mind to talk about more of what’s wrong with this type of wine, but the post was getting too long and I couldn’t make it funny. After all, it was for a humor site… Plus I was getting lazy.

      • Max D.
        February 13, 2015

        When I reread my comment, my first thought was “Well, that wasn’t funny.”

  6. A Famished Foodie
    February 13, 2015

    I read the books, and I have so many problems with them it’s not even funny. Besides millions of moms now glamorizing an abusive relationship, I think it’s unethical to publish fanfiction as an original work. Admittedly not too surprised that the book is horseshit as Twilight is also horseshit, and it’s probably really hard to make an okay book when you’re essentially plagiarizing the work of a terrible book….

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 13, 2015

      Was it plagiarizing? Or was it “inspired by characters and events” Admittedly don’t know how the connection was between Twilight and the fan fiction. I also didn’t read the second two books so maybe the bondage room involves vampire sex slaves…
      And definitely agree about the abusive part…

      • A Famished Foodie
        February 13, 2015

        Haha, well, from my understanding, the author wrote this all and posted it on a fanfiction site using the names from Twilight. So Ana was Bella, etc. I’d say, if you read both, you can see certain similarities between Twilight and this. For one, both male leads are pretty controlling; also, the family dynamic is pretty similar and both Ana and Bella are so naive you’d think they’d never interacted with humans before.

      • A Famished Foodie
        February 13, 2015

        All that being said…glad the wines were good! haha.

  7. Max D.
    February 13, 2015

    Goes to show how much I know about things I don’t know anything about. From the 50 Shades Wine website: the white is a blend of Gewurtztaminer and Sauvignon Blanc (although that could be 1% to 99%), and the red is “petit Sirah and Syrah.”

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 13, 2015

      Duh… I guess I could have checked the site… the Gewurz was really pronounced and was unmistakeable. Wild guess on the Syrah. Petit makes sense too

  8. Yinzerella
    February 13, 2015

    I am flying to Chicago tomorrow to spend Valentine’s Day with my best friend. We have reservations at White Castle (you know that’s a thing, right?) and then VIP tickets to a showing of 50SOG. I haven’t read the books, and don’t intend to, however, I can’t wait to see this movie. I hope that it is as bad as Showgirls (Showgirls is one of my top 10 fave movies of all time). I hope to laugh through the entire thing.
    I might have to find a bottle of that red.

    Also, a movie that is SUPER-SEXY and awesome that is about similar themes is “Secretary.” Go rent it if you haven’t seen int.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 13, 2015

      C’mon, you actually think I’d let “Secretary” slip past me? Read a review where 50SOG movie sounds like the wine – you expect to hate and laugh at it, but it’s actually not too bad.

      Haven’t heard about slider reservations. Love them almost as much as TBell, but there are about 2038 other rests in Chicago I’d rather go to

      • Yinzerella
        February 13, 2015

        On Valentine’s Day, White Castle takes reservations because they do table service and flowers and tablecloths. I am so stoked because they don’t have White Castles where I live. I WANT TINY BURGERS.
        We are going to then drink lots and watch the movie.
        Yeah, I read that it’s not as bad as I want it to be. And that she’s pretty decent. Poor Jamie Dornan. He is so good and so hot on The Fall.

  9. the drunken cyclist
    February 13, 2015

    OK, Wine Snob alert. The only way I would ever try that wine is if A) they sent it to me as a sample and I was starved for content on my blog and I had no other samples from which to choose or B) it was the only wine being served at some lame-ass party that my wife dragged me to (but my wife only goes to boring work parties and since she is a pediatric-oncologist, there is no way on earth any of her colleagues would serve that wine). So basically, I would only drink it if it were free and I had no other viable choice.

    As for the price, I am sure that they did some sort of intense marketing research and landed on a price that would maximize profits. It probably “costs” them some where in the neighborhood of $2.17 to produce (which includes the 50 cents for the bottle, the 10 cents for the cork–I imagine it is not a screw-cap since a “real” cork is more “romantic” according to some morons–and another nickel for the label).

    I never read the books (there is more than one?!?) and I have no desire to see the movie, unless, of course FWH comes back with a review and it passes his first two criteria. But I will wait for it to come to cable since his third criterion can only lead to trouble.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 13, 2015

      LOL…. I’ll have to get a bottle for you.

      What i didn’t mention is that #3 was a strategy we tried a few times right after college. Which is why I saw Indigo Girls in concert. It failed miserably for a thousand reasons.

  10. Max D.
    February 13, 2015

    Unrelated to anything: go to WTSO now! 2002 Lopez de Heredia Rioja for $23! I nearly soiled my pants.

  11. Cheap Wine Curious
    February 13, 2015

    Great post – thought I would need a safe word while drinking this wine – sounds like it’s palatable. First 🚗 + favorite🍑🍎🍒= your safe word. Try it! You’ll need it. 🍷😘

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This entry was posted on February 13, 2015 by in Drinking and tagged , , , , , , .
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