There's no better Halloween ritual than curling up with a lover, opening a great bottle of wine and watching a bitchin' vampire slasher flick.
This year I'm pairing The Hunger (1983), a classic, directed by Tony Scott with Trei Hectare Fetească Neagră 2006 from the Murfatlar winery in Romania.
The Hunger stars a luminous Catherine Deneuve as Miriam and David Bowie as John, two vampires happily hunting their way through the centuries, currently feeding off New York City's swinging nightclub scene.
A twist from the usual Transylvanian blood-sucker, Miriam's transformation dates back to ancient Egypt, trading in fangs for a lethal golden ankh pendant to slice up her prey. John, her most cherished in a long line of special companions, has been her willing, immortal partner since the 17th century.
But there's a catch to eternal life with Miriam. While her companions do obtain ever-lasting life as promised, their good looks only last for three centuries or so. Rapid aging then sets in and her lovers remain fully conscious, rotting in a vegetative state for eternity, while Miriam thrives on, swinging both ways.
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Seeking the help of modern medicine to stave off John's decline, Miriam encounters Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon), a leading researcher in premature aging and, voila! Miriam decides on her next lover. She proceeds to telepathically haunt Sarah's every waking moment and eventually draws the good doctor to her New York mansion for a little late afternoon delight. Dear John, at this point, is safely tucked away in his attic coffin.
Sarah is perfectly willing to be seduced sexually, but Miriam does not ask her if she's in the mood for immortality thus breaking the vampire code of ethics. Bloody problems ensue. But let's go back to the lesbian sex scene between Deneuve and Sarandon. Hello… how could Scott go wrong with those two! It's a true sensory delight and the movie rental is well worth it for those 10 minutes alone.
I richly enjoyed the film as much now as I did as a teenager when it was released. Only this time I could drink with it, and what a rare find Trei Hectare Fetească Neagră 2006 ($17.95 CDN, $21.80 USD) turned out to be!
As elegant as Miriam and yet so fruit forward, it's made from 100 per cent Fetească Neagră, an indigenous grape to Romania where viticulture dates back 6,000 years. Ruby red in color, the nose is fresh and fruity with black currant notes and just a hint of mint. Aged in oak, this wine is dry and distinguished but not overbearing at 12.5 per cent alcohol. The tannic structure is soft to allow for full fruit expression.
The Murfatlar winery is located in the Murfatlar wine growing region in south eastern Romania. Murfatlar is the most important and favorable of Romania's seven wine growing regions.
Nestled between the Danube and the Black sea, the region enjoys approximately 300 days of sunshine per year and the proximity to the Black Sea adds freshness and humidity to the microclimate. Spanning 3,000 hectares of the Dobrogea plateau, Murfatlar is Romania's largest and best known winery domestically.
Australian winemaker Stephen Bennett joined Murfatlar in 2000 and seriously changed things up for the better, upgrading technical methodologies and introducing new marketing initiatives. Murfatler now produces 14 different brands of wine and has been making wine for more than a century.
Under Bennet's leadership, Murfatlar wines are receiving increasing worldwide attention and acclaim. Trei Hectare Fetească Neagră 2007 just took home the silver medal at the 2008 Mondial de la Bruxelles, and there are many more medals to follow, no doubt. The Trei Hectare line also offers a Cabernet Sauvignon and an award-winning Chardonnay.
Eastern European wines don't get a fair shake on the world stage. Happily for the North American consumer, wineries like Murfatlar continually strive to change outdated perceptions. Look for Trei Hectare Fetească Neagră 2006 at your local liquor store or trendy restaurant wine list. Salut!
Jill Vanderkooy, Sommelier and certifiable bon vivant, has worked in the wine industry for over 10 years, has been drinking wine for 25 years and is a true devotee of film across all genres. Her liver thanks you for reading.