Mano-a-Mano: Ribeira del Duero Face-off in the Park   10 comments

It does not matter if he’s gay or straight– every man wants to be Bond.  If he denies this fact, he is either lying or he is a complete idiot.  Putting aside the good looks, hi-tech toys, license-to-kill, babes, jujitsu, and uncanny runs of luck in the casino, the key to being Bond is that everything he does is effortless.    That effortlessness makes him easy to envy and emulate at the same time.  Also, having a great wardrobe, fast car, cash to burn and the right comeback for every situation does not hurt.   What guy wouldn’t want that?

But women are different from men, not that we’ve noticed.  And I’m pretty sure that while most women wouldn’t mind being with Bond for maybe a night or two, they wouldn’t want their men to behave like Bond.   Yep, I’m pretty sure that the endless parade of Bond Chicks won’t fly with the little lady waiting at home.    

But that’s what makes him Bond– there is no little lady keeping the home fires burning while he toils away at disrupting the evil plans of criminal masterminds.  As a result he gets a free pass from women when it comes to playing the field.    

Why is the ole noggin’ noodling on about Bond and gender dynamics?

Saturday night we gathered a bunch of friends for a picnic dinner at a park just around the corner from the house followed by an outdoor screening of the first Bond film, Dr. No.  Released in 1962, it was definitely a product of its time.   

While he avoids an office romance with Moneypenny (as usual), he manages to hook up with two other fairly gorgeous women before Honey Ryder shows up in the second half of the film.  Played by the curvaceous, Ursula Andress, he scores with Honey after the closing credits.  If only it were that easy…

Back at the picnic.  It being a Bond film, we needed some bubbly.  My local purveyor was fresh out of Dom Perignon ’55 ($1,200 per bottle), so we requisitioned 4 bottles of Riondo Prosecco ($10 per), instead.  Great on its own or as part of a refreshing Bellini.  (Yes, we packed a little peach puree in the picnic hampers.) 

Since it is a Bond film, you can always count on there being an abundance of scenes featuring cocktails and manner for serving them.      

One scene, in particular, highlighted Dr. No’s poor manners at the cocktail hour.   Offering Bond a Vodka Martini, he described in detail how it was made to Bond’s preferences– you know the drill: shaken not…, lemon peel, yada-yada.  The message clearly conveyed: the good doctor has done his homework in sizing up his opponent.  By contrast, Bond Girl du jour, Honey Ryder, is unceremoniously handed a nearly overflowing glass of red wine without any explanation as to what she was drinking.  While it does efficiently advance the storyline of the script, there are deficiencies in matters of etiquette that may be disturbing to some:

  1. Bond is served first.  In an age of sexual equality, this may not strike many as so bad.  But in 1962, it misses the mark.  But even today, it is always best to provide for the ladies first.
  2. The detailed introduction of Bond’s drink followed by the short shrift given to Honey’s drink rankled at least one of our female guests, who loudly proclaimed in most lady-like fashion: “Who gives a s**t what she’s drinking.”  It did seem like an odd oversight– what could be the harm in giving Honey a vodka martini as well? 
  3. Red wine as aperitif?  And it looked like a full-bodied red at that.  Bold move Herr Doctor, bold move.
  4. How can you drink a glass of wine filled to the brim?  Just try to swirl that sucker around to get a sniff and see what happens to that pretty dress you’re wearing.
  5. Where is Dr. No’s cocktail?  Never trust a man who serves you a drink without taking one himself.  At best you’re in for a dull time; at worst, you might get smacked around a bit at the end of the meal. 

At the end of the dinner, Dr. No serves a Dom Perignon ’55.  When Bond tries to escape, he grabs the bottle with intention of using it to club Dr. No’s guard.  “That’s a Dom Perignon ’55 – it would be a pity to break it,” says Dr. No quietly. “I prefer the ’53 myself,” replies Bond as he takes his seat.   (Note to self: armed guards looking over your shoulder as you are finishing dessert never bodes well.)

Now if I had given Honey a glass of red, she would have had something to remember.  With the grilled steak sandwiches we served, we poured two wines from the 2008 Ribeira del Duero vintage.  Although not an excellent vintage, it is nonetheless given a very good rating by Espavino.  These two comparably priced Spanish contestants come out of the gates with very different styles.  A little bit like 007 and Dr. No. 

Of course, there can only be one winner.  

Vinedos Alonso del Yerro Ribera del Duero 2008 ($19).   Tempranillo.  Check.  Earthy aromas leading to chocolate notes.  Check.  Dark yet understated fruit.  Check.  Finishing with firm tannins.  Check.  This has an emergent elegance that suggests it will get better with more time in the bottle.  Rated **1/2

Bodegas Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero 2008 ($18).  According to the website, this tempranillo is sourced from vineyards that are 15 to 25 years old and carrying the name of the winery, it represents the “heart of the winery”.  A bit more international in style, this guy was a bit more fruit forward.  But the pleasantness of the fruit was marred by an evident use of oak, most likely American oak (as I confirmed later).  And while I would drink this any day, that oakiness is a chink in the armor in a head to head tasting against the Alonso del Yerro.  And so it must take second place, even if I give it the same rating.  Rated **1/2

Back to Honey Ryder:  a girl who just happens to show up on a secluded, radioactive beach in a bikini, with a big knife and some fantastic looking seashells.  The men in our party were in agreement on the qualities that made her a sex symbol in 1962.  Those criteria still apply today.

On reconsideration, maybe Dr. No had it right– hand her a big ole goblet of red wine, coolly avert your eyes from her revealing swimwear, keep your mouth shut unless you have something truly clever to say and see what happens to you.  Just make sure you know where she has stowed the knife.

It’s effortless, you see?

Posted July 24, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Mano-a-Mano, Wine Etiquette

10 responses to “Mano-a-Mano: Ribeira del Duero Face-off in the Park

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  1. I have been tasting wines from Emilio Moro for the past 10 years, as back in the day, I was repeatedly told by my reps that it is a name to reckon with. Sadly, I am always left wanting. Their wines are always too tight and overoaked. Perhaps if I cellared their wines for at least a decade, I would be able to catch a glimpse of their brilliance, but patience is just not my virtue…
    On another note, my personal theory about Honey being served red wine has to do with the aphrodisiac qualities attributed to reds (specifically for women, in order to make their disposition more obliging). These days, this theory is a bit passé, but would have certainly been appropriate then.

    • I like the way you think! I would not consider it passé in the least. At a minimum, it is another justification for serving reds sooner! But I have news for you– this trick still works! ;-)

      10 years of tasting– you don’t seem that old! I agree with you on the oak– but I do not think it will evolve out of the wine. Certainly the professional tasters don’t seem to take much issue with that. I solved the patience issue by purchasing much more than I can possibly consume! There’s a tactic for you to consider.

  2. Oh, I don’t doubt for a second that the trick still works, – it is just less fashionable to use that argument (at least out loud). You are supposed to pretend women look for more sophistication :-).

    I am glad my immature comments mask it, as I am past what would be considered “Balzac age”…

    • Well, I’ve been known to succumb to the allure induced by a nice glass of red as well. So I definitely believe in its magical properties. No need to be subtle or sophisticated about that!

      Balzac Age– I had to look that one up. And I don’t believe you since it suggests a woman who is past her prime.

      And now that you bring it up, is this your sophisticated way of saying that I am a Bastard since “All Men Are Bastards”?

      Speaking of Balzac’s Age, did you know that Honoré de Balzac died at the age of 51, 5 months after getting married? There’s a lesson in there somewhere for us Bastards…

  3. Luckily, “Balzac age” (30-35 age group) is no longer correlated with a woman’s prime, or her potential as a bride. I am looking forward to fun and exciting times ahead!!!

    I infinitely prefer men’s company to women’s, and do not believe that “All Men Are Bastards”. At least not with a capital B. Besides, it is not my style to throw epithets around indiscriminantly. So you are safe! :-) :-)

    • Safe? Who wants safe? Safe is dull and uninspiring.

      In some quarters, use of the b-word is a term of endearment!

      BTW, isn’t the show about women in their 40s (yes, I know, the Balzac story is about women past 30– but that was a long time ago).

  4. Yet another proof I am an old-fashioned bookworm :-) , – I have read a few books by Balzac, but have never seen the show, although I did catch the reference.
    I suppose the 40’s are the new 30’s?

    • Truthfully, I had never heard of the show till your reference took me on a Russian cultural excursion. All of my knowledge, on this subject at least, is gleaned from 100% reliable sources on the internet. (Right)

      40s = New 30s? I hope not, I have lived longer (not by much) than Balzac! I’m thinking 60s = New 30s! I will feel differently when I get there. Isn’t that the way it always is?

      • Many moons ago I was teaching salsa dancing a couple of nights a week. In one of my classes there was a couple in their mid 80’s who loved to travel the world, who exercised every day, and had a great appreciation for food. They were abreast of every single piece of cultural news in town.

        I believe there is no limit as to how to live your life. Age-appropriate behavior be damned! Just keep up the red wine drinking :-)

      • My Dad, who is in his 80s, has always been and continues to be very active. I used to think it odd that a man his age was so obsessed with maintaining his youth. But as I have passed Balzac’s Age (not Balzac Age), it does not seem so odd any longer. I think Balzac could have used a little more exerecise himself– perhaps some of those salsa classes!

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