BLOOD INTO WINE Maynard James Keenan

The Tool/Puscifer frontman –
and vineyard operator – guides us through pairing great wines with even greater
eats.

 

BY RANDY HARWARD

 

Dilemma: When interviewing Maynard James Keenan about his winery
(Caduceus, representing commerce), vineyard (Merkin, a pubic toupee) and wines
(like Judith, named for his mother), do you mention you’ve only tasted wine
once? And furthermore, do you tell him it was when you chugged a bottle of MD
20/20 – otherwise known as Mad Dog 20/20, because it tasted horrible but you
didn’t wanna waste your three bucks?

 

I did anyway. Maynard said, “This should go great, then.” He’s as serious about his vino as his music, but he’s
only partly perturbed. Probably because, as you can tell from ‘Merkin’, he has
a sense of humor. What’s more, as evidenced by his Blood Into Wine documentary, he’s willing to educate the ignorant
when it comes to wine. “I don’t know about the ‘ignorant’, but definitely the
uninformed and the uninitiated,” he clarifies.

 

Those of us who didn’t get Sideways,
whose palettes respond better to Bud Light and Bacardi Ice, or who just haven’t
tried real wine will find Blood Into Wine an enlightening film with sophisticated nose but inclusive sensibility. In the
film, Maynard and business partner Eric Glomski, with the help of winemakers
and critics, comedians (Tim & Eric, Patton Oswalt), and Puscifer bandmates
(Tim Alexander, Milla Jovovich), tell how they found verdant ground in Arizona
and began producing original wines that is changing the minds of not only the
uninitiated but also experienced sommeliers, who are shocked to taste good wine
from a desert clime. In an effort to make wine even less mysterious, Maynard
worked with Blurt to pair wines with
a variety of proletariat entrees and snacks.

 

First, a caveat, courtesy the great man: “If you drink a lot of Coca-Cola,
eat a lot of sugar or super-spicy foods, your wine experience is gonna be very
bitter. In contrast, your palette’s gonna be roughed up from all the sugar
that’s on it. If you truly wanna experience wine the way it should be
experienced, lay off all of that stuff for a week. And then have a nice piece
of salmon or steak, something with a lot of protein in it, and then try the
wine.”

 

Oops.

 

7-11 Nachos

“Depends if you’re going to have jalapeños or not. If there’s
super-sugar cheese on it, the wine will taste bitter. If you’re gonna do the
nachos, go with something close to a Lambic, which is a Belgian beer that sort
of sits perfectly between beer and wine. Or something bubble like a sparkling
wine.”

 

Tommy Burger

“If you make sure there’s no ketchup, mustard or pickles-‘cause the
vinegar’s also gonna ruin the wine-and get some good stuff on it, like some
grilled onions or mushrooms and stuff? Grenache-a nice, red Grenache.” How
about a McRib? “If it’s not too spicy, then you could probably get away with a
Grenache.

 

Chili’s Awesome Blossom

“What’s that? The spicy sauce is gonna screw that up, but if it’s a
deep fried onion, I don’t know. Probably a bigger white might go with that.”

 

Slim Jim

It’s pretty neutral; that’s kind of a meaty thingy-you could pretty
much have any decent red with that, as long as it’s not too spicy.

 

Lucky Charms

“There’s so much sugar in Lucky Charms so they’ll probably mess up your
experience with anything more dry or red. You’re gonna wanna go with a super,
super, sweet wine like a port or a rice wine.”

 

Aprés pairings

“We can play with these pairings and make them comical, but they best
thing to do is just try it. Have the wine with some fries. And then when you’re
done, go ahead and eat something extremely sweet and then try the wine again.
You’ll notice in that moment just how much it changes the wine.”

 

***

 

Blood Into Wine arrives in stores this week on both DVD and
Blu-Ray (Twinkle Cash Co./Semi-Rebellious/True Story Films, 100 minutes). Visit
the official website at BloodIntoWine.com.

 

 

 

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