By Maria McKinley   |   Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 10:16 pm   |   Comments Off on Wine at the Movies »

There have been many movies made over the years that deal with the subject matter of wine. The movie Sideways comes to mind. Check it out if you haven’t seen it or watch it again if you have. It’s hilarious, beautiful, poignant, and unforgettable. Pinot Noir is forever grateful. We’ve been waiting for The Billionaire’s Vinegar for, shall we say, forever! Come on, Hollywood. What’s the story here?

What about wine at the movies? We’re kind of sheltered here in southern Indiana. You have to go to one of them big cities to see a movie with fancy food and a glass of wine. You could maybe sit in a recliner with your feet up. And have a waiter come by and take your order. At the movie theater, mind you. Well, you don’t have to go that far anymore.

Pamela McClintock writes in The Hollywood Reporter, “Concessions [at the movies] are becoming more important as attendance numbers remain flat or decline.”  Regal Theatres, with over 175 locations, and Cinemark theaters at 100 locations (two of the top three U.S. movie theaters) are serving alcohol and not just during “R” rated movies. McClintock says in the past two years, 32 states have made changes to their state and local laws which now allows alcohol service in auditoriums. Regal Theatres manages twelve theaters in Indiana and Cinemark three but neither offer bar service in Indiana.

AMC Theatres is the largest movie chain in the U.S. Six years ago, only six of their theaters offered alcoholic beverages. By March, 2017, over 200 AMC theaters across the country now contain an on-site bar. McClintock reports at an AMC movie house located in Santa Monica, a [nothing-special] glass of chardonnay will cost you $14. Dan Aykroyd’s vodka was used to make a specialty drink for last year’s Ghostbusters release. Over 110,000 drinks were sold. Alcoholic beverages are making a difference in lost revenue from declining ticket sales.

According to AMC’s website, there are 25 theaters in Indiana. Six are licensed to serve wine, beer, and spirits. There are four in Indianapolis, one in Evansville, and renovations to the existing theater in Muncie will offer bar service by the fall. The online beverage menus state that selections of alcoholic beverages vary by regions but that wine is available in red or white. I would hope at those prices, you might have more of a choice than just the color.

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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 10:23 am   |   Comments Off on Hoosierdom, Wine and All »

Lovers of all things Hoosier should rush out to get a copy of “KENTUCKIANA ROADS – A Freidenkers Story of Life in America’s Flyover Middle.” It’s by my good friend Richard Hofstetter, owner of the Story Inn and, in fact, the whole village of Story from which much of this historical and hysterical volume originates. Full disclosure: Rick has generously and we hope wisely dedicated the book to my wife and me and is kind enough to weave his winely portions around some of our adventures together.

Released this month by Algora Publishing of New York, a company specializing in non fiction “for the nonplussed,” the book’s 210 pages take you through the unique cultures of those who live where Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana come together and however much the three have in common it’s their quirky distinctions that make for compelling reading. It’s hard to believe that open space, farmland, forests, hills, and rivers centered between three enormous state universities can divulge so much about an otherwise forgotten and overlooked civilization.

There are chuckles on every page as we learn how the political parties work (or don’t), how the Bible Theme Park thrives among the distilleries and meth labs, and how clapboard churches get involved in a blessing for Harleys.

April 1 is Election Day in Story, the day when the place installs into office its only elected official — The Village Idiot, who will serve for one year. It’s said that when Millard Fillmore signed the land-grant for Dr. Story he said only an idiot would want to live out there. Hofstetter is the first to confess that Story is the only place that admits it elects an idiot.

But the book is no April Fool’s prank, and wine lovers will get an inside look at how the Indiana Wine Fair was born. KENTUCKIANA is available from Amazon and other on-line book sellers.  Hard cover: $31.95, soft cover $21.95, e-book $21.95. ISBN: 978-1-62894-267-5 (soft); 978-1-62894- 268-2 (hard); 978-1-62894- 269-9 (e-book). Enjoy!

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By Allen Dale "Ole" Olson   |   Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 11:13 am   |   Comments Off on A Bordeaux Experience »

A month or so ago, while gazing wistfully at the dozens of Bordeaux on the Total Wine shelves and wondering why these wines have to cost so much, my wife hurried over with “news,” anxious to share it with me. My thoughts had been lost in the 1960s and 70s when I prowled the grand Bordeaux estates and was getting on a first-name basis with staff at places like Chateaux Margaux and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Those wines were expensive then but still within my range. Robert Parker and Russian oligarchs hadn’t been invented yet.

She led me to an end of the bin and pointed at several wooden boxes, each containing six half-bottles of selected wines from different Bordeaux communes. The box was authentic Bordeaux style, smooth wood with burnished lettering proclaiming “A Bordeaux Experience.” The whole package was $43, about the same amount as the average price for a single bottle of a mid-level cru.

None of the half-bottles came from a “classed” estate, though every label designated a chateau name. Knowing that not every chateau in Bordeaux is an elegant castle and that anyone producing decent wine on his or her estate can call it a chateau, I was not off put and bought a box. This was the first time in a while that I had bought six bottles of Bordeaux at once. I have written many times about how seldom I buy Bordeaux anymore, lamenting that some of the wines I used to treasure now cost as much as my car.

Each of the six half bottles was clearly identified as a “Bordeaux,” assuring me that all the grapes came from that region. One of them even qualified as “Bordeaux Superieur,” giving it a bit of cachet, and two of them even named the commune  from which it came. All had been bottled in the chateau bearing its name. The vintages were 2013 and 2014, still somewhat young for a claret but in half-bottles, maturity comes more quickly.

The wines were delicious, just like those one might get in a corner bistro in any Bordelaise village. No pretension. No haughtiness. Just pleasure.  And now I have a nice Bordeaux box which may prove useful for something.

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