Today, God is good and the world is as sweet as the balm from a callow jasmine flower.
Today, I shall count no more my wasted tears nor fret time’s relentless plough. Today, I am young as the vernal violets that bloom unbidden from that sward of green I forgot to spray with Roundup; the furrows on my cheeks have faded and this blessed hour atones for all.
Why? Because Drew Barrymore—she who walks in beauty o’er sacred soils, thus mellowed to the tender light—loves me.
I Know, Right?
It’s true though—and Drew (henceforth to be referred to as ‘Love Muffin’ or something equally sappy) sent me a card and a review gift bottle of pinot grigio in which she bared her pretty little soul and proved it. As you can see from the scan below, she signed the note with a cute, teasing li’l ‘D’, so realistically, it might have been from her personal assistant Diane instead, who I presume is also big-breasted and willing to pose nude, but I’ll choose to play the optimist for once and accept Drew’s heart, spirit and associated nay-nays with gentlemanly grace.
Say what? You believe that she sent similar cards to wine critics all over the country? Fie, you blackguard, that’s the rankest compound of villainous smells that ever hath offended my nostrils. ‘The cynic is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, never seeing the noble game.’ - Henry Ward Beecher
Besides, dingbat; read the note: Sugar Hips sends me all her love, which means she’d hardly have any left over to send to other wine writers, would she? No, I think her loyalty to me and me alone is pretty obvious, and I’m as jiggy wid it as a Phat Farm hoodie.
Drew Barrymore loves me and wants to have my children.
Okay, then, Angel Pie; suppose I drop them off around ten and pick them up when the bar closes—does that work?
Why Pinot Grigio? Why Now? Why Drew?
In the interest of full disclosure, I have in the past mocked celebrity wine with the shameless vigor of a toxicodendron radicans vine in the springtime sunshine; I once called Dan Ackroyd’s fumé blanc ‘funnier than he is’ and wondered how Vince Neil—who got drunk and killed his best friend in a car crash—could possibly have gotten a wine label approved by the ATF. I made fun of Mike Ditka’s inability to conjugate verbs during interviews about his wine, and as for dreadlocked gangsta homeboy L’il Jon, there’s about as much intellectual cogitation required to write about his crunk juice as there is to review his albums.
I am, at the end of the day, a big ol’ meanie, and for obvious reasons, those guys never send me cards saying how much they love me.
Drew’s Love Note Is A Game Changer
You can assume that most Hollywood stars release wines with their names on the label for any number of reasons, all of which can be distilled down to three alphabetical symbols: ‘e’, ‘g’ and ‘o’, and in that specific order.
Ms. Barrymore takes the high road, insisting that her wine was created to honor her family, and jokes aside, it probably is: It’s called ‘Barrymore’ and has a big Barrymore crest on the label.
Family Barrymore, of course, represents a theatrical and cinematic dynasty. Boo Bear’s paternal grandfather was John Barrymore; his demiurgic portrayal of Hamlet in 1922 almost single-handedly awakened the twentieth century to the beauty of the Bard. Her illustrious great uncle Lionel galvanized critics as Henry (not Harry) Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life, while her great aunt Ethel is today considered to be the greatest actress of her generation.
These are people worthy of celebration, and if it is with a dram of dreamy Drew’s dramatic draught, so much the better.
That said, why she chose pinot grigio as her opening-night varietal-of-choice is a mystery befitting Sherlock Homes—as played by John Barrymore in 1922. Drew claims that the lightweight almond, apricot and apple-scented Delle Venezie ‘reflects her style and personality: fresh, dynamic and fun’, which is well and good, but what happened to your aunts and uncles, Mookie Pookie? I thought this wine was supposed to be about them?
Me, if I’m paying tribute to this distinguished clan? I’d probably go with something dark, brooding, magnificent and above all, unique, as an homage to John: Maybe an oak-fermented carignan from Corbières. With Lionel, you’d want to remain iconoclastic but be a bit easier to digest so I’d scam up some grapes from a Tuscan estate like Piero Antinori’s. For Ethel, there’s no question: A lush and lyrical pinot noir—my first choice would be from Central Otago.
For that matter, I’d probably find something other than generically insipid Venetian pinot grigio for Drew herself. She had a few rebellious, drug-soused years that gave her oomph and suitable gravitas; her acting skills are unquestionable (Riding in Cars with Boys was particularly good) and although as a child star she struck me as strange-looking enough to have played the starring role instead of a supporting role in E.T., she has blossomed into a strikingly beautiful woman, as befits her matinée idol genes. If she really likes the varietal so much, I think the spicy richness of an Alsatian pinot gris suits her better.
But it is Honey Bunny’s call, not mine—and although her trio of acclaimed agnates all croaked before she was born, I’m sure she was schooled in their lives, personalities and quirks while growing up.
So, I defer.
And anyway, she only declared her devotion to me yesterday, so it is way too early in the relationship for us to have our first lovers’ spat—especially about something so insignificant as pinot grigio.
Barrymore Pinot Grigio, Delle Venezie, 2011, around $20: If the style’s your thing, you may ignore the conscience of the king—he’s dead and burymored and doesn’t care anyway. As it goes, the wine is pretty respectable for the genre; it suits its purpose perfectly well. It’s probably an inter-regional blend, since that’s what IGT ‘Delle Venezie’ generally means. Likewise—in America, anyway—‘vintner’ generally means ‘winemaker’, so to list Snuggle Buggles as such is a bit disingenuous: The wine is actually made by Decordi, a well-regarded winery in Motta Baluffi in Lombardy, and I sort of doubt that Drew Barrymore did much beyond approve the blend. Said blend, however, is delightfully fragrant and floral-fresh on the palate, with a nice mineral backbone and lemon-lime in the foreground and the aforementioned apricot/apple/almond Triple A flavor fest.
Nice going, Jellytot—I’ll be over Saturday night with the kids if it doesn’t rain.