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January 11-17, 2006

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Wine Tasting Room of the Week

Hollywood and Vine

Wine Tasting Room of the Week takes big reds down the carpet

By Heather Irwin

Holidays equal airports equal boredom equals . . . celebrity magazines! You do it, too—yes, you over there with your Atlantic Monthly barely concealing the Us magazine you're actually reading. I see you.

It's a guilty pleasure, catching Kirstie Alley in spandex and keeping up with the ongoing spectacle of Brangelina from the magazine covers. And, frankly, I've spent far too much time reading about them all lately not to make some of this Hollywood ogling relevant. So, in an effort to ease you back into life after weeks of play time, it seemed altogether reasonable to spend a last two-corks-on-the-counter holiday evening figuring out which of Hollywood's A-list would fit best in my glass. You may never look at red wine the same way again.

Cabernet Sauvignon Cab is the queen of the wine world—big and overblown with inflated boobies, glossy lips and a few too many sequins. Like the sex kitten she is, Cabernet is painfully obvious and flirty, rolling down every red carpet she can find, spilling suggestively out of her dress and waving to the adoring crowd with a big, toothy grin. So, why do we love her? Cabernet Sauvignon, with her fake eyelashes and curvaceous booty, knows how to pair up with the right folks (like the more reserved Merlot or that exotic beauty Cabernet Franc) to make herself just a little more presentable to mom and dad. And did we mention the jugs? She's a hot one, Cab. Cabernet chicks: Jenny McCarthy, Anna Nicole, Pamela Anderson.

Merlot Poor Merlot. She's off doing Visa commercials while her career stalls out. But have faith. Like Kate Winslet, she'll soon make a comeback in an indie sleeper and we'll all wonder where she's been for so long. Not to everyone's taste, Merlot is a bit more refined and subtle than Cabernet, though she can be gutsy and plump when she wants to be. With the right winemaker, Merlot can be phenomenally talented, though in the wrong hands, she can be a flat, dismal disaster. Though ridiculously overexposed (and currently suffering backlash at the hands of her more complicated older sister, Pinot Noir), she's a thinking beauty who's ready for a comeback. Merlot ladies: Kate Winslet, Scarlett Johansson.

Zinfandel Watch your wallet—and your man—when Zinfandel's on the prowl. She's definitely a hot number, but with a slightly quirky, offbeat flair that makes her just a little outside of the mainstream. Exotic and mysterious, Zinfandel is a jealous lover, pairing only with a few other grapes, but dominating the relationship. Her moods are not always easy to control, with sometimes skyrocketing alcohol contents and flavors that make her more challenging to pair with food. But when Zinfandel is treated right, she can be amazingly deep and gorgeous, with lush, full lips and a body that could stop a freight train dead on the tracks. Zin grrrls: Angelina Jolie, Nicolette Sheridan, Lindsay Lohan, Raquel Welch.

Pinot Noir She can be difficult and emotional, she can sometimes give a flat performance, and she'll leave you heartbroken and penniless if you aren't careful. But Pinot Noir, for all of her quirks, is the wine that so many fall so deeply in love with. She's complex and layered, with a subtle brilliance that demands constant attention. Pinot Noir is never the same wine twice, changing from moment to moment and day to day and always keeping lovers on their toes. Pinot Noir is not easily forgotten and haunts the minds (and palates) of those she has touched. Mesdames de Pinot Noir: Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore.

Next week: Wine Tasting Room of the Week takes on wicked whites!

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