Showing posts with label cult television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cult television. Show all posts

21 January 2011

too good to be true: twin peaks & dauvissat chablis

It was perhaps perceptible from my uncharacteristic silence on all things Twin Peaks for the past month or so that I have indeed finished watching Season 2. There are no more seasons now. At some point my friend F and I just succumbed to the temptation to race through two or three episodes per night, either because the episode we had previously watched was so gripping, and we wanted to watch further, or because the episode just passed had been totally pointless, so we wanted to fast forward, as it were, by watching further.

The net result is that I skipped reporting on a few bottles of terrific Chardonnay I'd purchased specially to pair with Twin Peaks. Like, for instance, a 2008 Chablis by Vincent Dauvissat, cousin of the legendary Raveneau brothers, and a legendary vigneron in his own right. Dauvissat produces (to my knowledge) four premier crus and one grand cru, none of which I elected to splash out on, when I saw them at Caves du Marais, since the occasion was to be just a simple night in.*

Instead F and I sipped the normale, a wine whose gentle good graces are so predetermined as to feel almost unearned, like Billy Zane's sauve successful rich-kid character John Justice Wheeler, who saunters onscreen towards the middle of Season 2, promising intrigue or character reversal but delivering neither.

09 December 2010

comic timing: twin peaks & arbois

One of the great frustrations of Twin Peaks' second season is that, despite sinking ratings and tangled, flailing plotlines leading to nowhere, the show still attracted significant guest talent. Two years before his X-Files breakthrough, David Duchovny shows up as a cross-dressing FBI Agent. And Diane Keaton as guest director on Episode 22 did her darnedest to find genuine wit and warmth in the rambling, silly, overwritten script she was handed. The episodes in general remain watchable partly due to the continued goodwill of the well-intentioned guest stars, most of whom gamely behave as though the show isn't peeling to bits around them.

The Native Companion and I shared a 2005 Arbois Chardonnay by renowned Jura winemaker Jacques Puffeney the other night with Season 2, and it was another case of unfortunate timing, just in the other direction. Where Keaton, Duchovny, et al* arrived too late to the Twin Peaks party, the NC and I possibly cracked this one open a few years too early.

16 November 2010

honorary member: twin peaks & vin de pays de sainte marie la blanche

I'm not cut out for sticking to themes. Faced with a choice between two mid-range organic Mâcon Chardonnays that I knew to be a little heavy around the waist and Emmanuel Giboulot's crackingly great (and great value) "Terres Burgondes" blanc, I had to spring for the latter, even if, not being Chardonnay, it threatened the thematic integrity of my blog series.

Giboulot's "Terre Burgondes" is 100% Pinot Beurot, which is the name they use for the smattering of Pinot Gris in Burgundy. Pinot Gris is in turn synonymous with the grape many Americans request when they desire a wine with no character at all: Pinot Grigio.*

So I sat around with the Native Companion the other night watching Twin Peaks drinking a bottle of PG.

03 November 2010

almost fun not knowing: twin peaks & côte roannaise chardonnay

Alright. In my search for exceptional French Chardonnays to pair with episodes of David Lynch's Twin Peaks, I got a little too optimistic the other day, and dropped 10eu on a bottle of intriguing Vin de Table Chardonnay by Domaine du Picatier, from the Côte Roannaise, a Rhone-Alpes region best known for good-value granitic-soil Gamay.

It made for an appropriate, if totally unenjoyable, pairing with Episodes 16, 17, & 18, which together constitute roughly the point where, Laura Palmer's killer having killed himself after confessing, the series loses all suspense and descends into silly time-wasting anarchic nonsense. The wine, whose lot number leads me to believe dated from 2008, tasted like a hasty rough draft of itself, colorless and fade. It was like a page on which you have a setting, a few scraps of dialogue, and a big question mark where you've perhaps intended, at some later date, to add a plot. The Native Companion and I eventually just wrote it off, like pretty much any scene involving the Dick Tremaine character:

22 October 2010

surrealist chardonnay: twin peaks & côtes du jura

Watching Twin Peaks twenty years on, I'm still continually struck that anything this surreal and perturbing was ever shown on network television. The only contemporary equivalent that I can think of is Fox News, which for various reasons is not a fair comparison. The surrealism permeating Twin Peaks is not circumstantial, nor is it entirely played for effect; it is instead a kind of setting, a place the characters inhabit. And each time we're tempted to read the general strangeness as commentary on Twin Peaks the town, on small-town nowhere America, some bizarre character from the outside world arrives - e.g. Agent Cooper, Agent Albert, Judge Sternwood - bearing the implication that the surreal is universal.

That being said, if the town of Twin Peaks were in winemaking France, I have a feeling it would be located in the Jura, a region northeast of Burgundy in eastern France, abutting Switzerland, where some of the world's strangest Chardonnays are produced.

11 October 2010

character reversal: twin peaks & mâcon-chaintré

To my mind, David Lynch's greatest formal innovation with Twin Peaks - his half-parodical adoption of the "low" genre of television soap opera - was less an innovation than a restoration. The key tropes we associate with soap operas, e.g. hidden lives, sudden character reversals, things being generally never as they seem, are as old as literature itself. They're as elemental to Shakespeare's comedies as they are to Proust's A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. What Lynch did was to restore these plot elements, which had fallen to being just that, mere pivots for action, to their proper literary place as descriptors of the human psyche.

And so as we plowed into the strong(er) first half of Season 2, it was only fitting that the Native Companion and I shared a bottle of Domaine Valette's 2007 Vielles Vignes Mâcon-Chaintré, a wine that ended not at all as it began, a wine of two faces, of double lives... A wine I really ought to have researched a little further beforehand, and decanted. (Slaps forehead.) 

30 September 2010

the saga continues: twin peaks & pouilly-fuissé

In keeping with the series' theme of split personalities (or "parallel identities," as Lynch has described them), with Twin Peaks this week the Native Companion and I shared a Mâconnais wine pretty much diametrically opposed to last week's heavenly St. Véran: a self-consciously classic Pouilly-Fuissé from the classic vintage of 2005, by the relatively large, widely lauded Domaine du Chalet Pouilly.

Diametrically opposed, I should say, in all realms but overall quality. Where the Perrauds' wine from last week was sulfite-free and so alive it seemed to swoon around the room, DduCP's Pouilly-Fuissé, while not lacking in personality, is a much more precise, educated creation - sort of a Special Agent Dale Cooper kind of wine.

16 September 2010

split personalities: twin peaks & st. véran

My friends here in Paris are mostly all aware by now that I've finally just this year twenty years too late begun watching Twin Peaks. I won't shut up about how great it is. I feel almost guilty for having raced through several episodes at the Native Companion's place the other night, since I'm well aware there are only two seasons and it famously falls off hard in the second. The fun with these sorts of supercompelling TV series - of which we seem to have an overwhelming deluge these days - is very much in the ritual.*

Image swiped from some other nameless blog.

Since when I last mentioned Twin Peaks it was in reference to a middling Chablis I drank while watching the pilot, I figured I'd continue the Chardonnay thing this week, and start another ritual. Chardonnay & Twin Peaks. Chardonnay - the Every-Grape, much-maligned, too often innocuous - seems a good match for the series' fictional town. In both, you can dig up some fascinating personalities, far-removed from the innocent dull stereotypes, with just the barest bit of research.

So with Episodes 1, 2, and 3, the NC and I shared a real dream sequence of a St. Véran by the Beaujolais-based Isabelle et Bruno Perraud.