RKS Wine: A Glass of Freakshow with “Nightmare Alley”?

Does being politically correct make you nauseous? Being averse to dig into this subject let me give you an example. I was waiting to board an Air Canada flight in Athens headed for Toronto on September 20th. I talked to a father and daughter from Ohio who lived a couple of hours south of Cleveland near the border with Kentucky. We ended up chatting about baseball and boy they were upset with the change of name of the Cleveland Indians team name to the Cleveland Guardians. Very few Indians fans accepted this name. Then it moved to the Washington Redskins changing their name to the Washington Commanders. I pointed out in the Canadian Football League the Edmonton Eskimos changed their name to the Edmonton Elks. This upset couple ended the conversation by saying Cleveland Indians was respectful and a tribute to aboriginals in the United States. Thank goodness the boarding call was made.

Sorry off topic a bit. But I have seen both the 1947 and 2021 version of “Nightmare Alley”. Both versions were bordering on horrific although the ending of the 2021 version was more graphic and disturbing than the 1947 version. The 1947 version was a box office flop although some say it was Tyrone Power’s best film performance. The 2021 version grossed over $60 million and Cate Blanchett’s performance was perhaps one of her best. With these two films in mind I saw a “Freakshow” Zinfandel with a delightfully gaudy label on the shelf. I can’t say I applaud the name of the wine but let’s not delve further.

Zinfandel can be a lusty wine well suited to Zeena ‘s character in the 2021 “Nightmare Alley”.

Despite the 15.5% alcohol level the fruit remains firmly in place restricting the alcohol to a sideshow. There are strong notes of raspberry and a certain sweet note with elements of raspberry tarts. There is some black cherry and a tad of vanilla peeking its head out.

On the palate yet again the fruit holds its place against the high alcohol. The wine is smooth and there is not a heat streak in it although there is some pepper on the finish. Loganberry, pomegranate and Washington cherries. The acidity is also deftly held in check.

Yes this is a high powered wine with high alcohol levels but somehow it has relegated its alcohol to the back lots of the carnival.

Tomahawk steak please or Mushroom Wellington. With 6 grams of residual sugar and restrained tannins the Mushroom Wellington would perhaps be the better bet and considering the richness of that pairing I would say Guillermo del Toro’s lush cinematographic version beats out the 1947 version.

(Freakshow 2019 Zinfandel, Lodi, California, Michael David Winery, American Canyon California, $24.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 10484, 750 mL, 15.5%, RKS Wine Rating 93/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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