Thursday, July 10, 2014

A claret in Kroger.

Director Francis Ford Coppola never made a Sherlock Holmes movie, but his winery makes a claret.

Does that give him Sherlockian points?

Maybe just a little bit. Claret is such a good Sherlockian wine.

I mean, it was the foundation of a pleasant August afternoon conversation between Holmes and Watson in "Cardboard Box," when Holmes actually got out of work mode and just told stories that didn't make the Canon . . . but oh, how we wish we could have heard them!

And what does Holmes drink with his cookies after three days of absolute fasting in "The Dying Detective?" Claret. If you go for something first after a three-day fast, it must certainly be a favorite.

So the first time I was walking through my local Kroger and saw the word "CLARET" staring up at me from the endcap of the wine section, it was a happy day indeed. And of course I had to pick up a bottle for an upcoming meeting of the Hansoms of John Clayton.

Claret isn't a word used much in the wine world these days. If you google it, you don't even get any ads trying to sell you claret, which is in itself a remarkable thing these days. Even Coppola Winery likes to refer to their claret as a "Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc blend" just to make sure modern wine-drinkers know what they're getting.

But a Sherlockian doesn't need to be informed of what they're getting with a claret. Pleasant afternoons with a friend and a much-needed refreshment after a hungry case, just as our friend Sherlock Holmes did.

And Coppola's claret doesn't make you disagree with Holmes, I am happy to say.

1 comment:

  1. Mr Keefauver

    While experientially one might wish to tread lightly on the subject of wine, perhaps a comment would not be amiss.

    Claret is an English term for Bordeaux wine and simply means "red." Most wines in the Victorian era were imported from France (some from Germany) and the British wine lovers preferred Bordeaux region wines to those of the Burgundy region. The English referred to Burgundy wines (pinot noir) as Beaune. Doctor Watson mentions Beaune taken with lunch as a possible causative reason for his admonition to Holmes on the use of stimulants.

    The British created a stylistic tradition around claret, including some of the most elegant wine decanters and servers, known as Claret Jugs, which still command high prices today among collectors.

    Today, most British people will use the terms "claret" when ordering a Bordeaux (cabernet sauvignon), "beaune" when ordering a Burgundy (pinot noir), and 'Chablis" when ordering a Montrachet (chardonnay). The other wine mentioned in the Canon, Tokay, is actually Tokaj, the Hungarian wine made from the Furmint grape. I have never seen an English Tokay jug, but doubtless they existed in Victorian times when there was an implement or serving item for literally everything.

    I am confident neither Mr Holmes or Doctor Watson-- or, for that matter, Vamberry-- would knowingly mistake their wines choices, for that would, indeed, demonstrate a bad taste in wine.

    Best regards

    Don Libey