Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blood Into Wine

  Maynard Maynard Maynard all you hear around here when it comes to wine is Maynard Maynard Maynard. I guess I'm guilty of it too. I watched Blood Into Wine last night. It's an edgy, hip documentary of sorts that chronicles Maynard James Keenan's entry into winemaking in the Verde Valley. It's available on Netflix. I enjoyed it and found it in some ways enlightening. I didn't know, for example, that Merkin actually has a vineyard up on the steep slopes near Jerome. It's fairly informative regarding the partnership between Keenan and Eric Glomski, from whom Keenan has learned to grow grapes and make wine. But it's really all about Maynard and that's where it runs into problems. While Glomski's in the film almost as much as Keenan and he does have a chance to talk about himself and his history in the wine world, he comes off most of the time as a sort of weasely sidekick to Keenan. The film doesn't go out of it's way to explain that Glomski is THE creative force behind Keenan's wines. In the beginning, Glomski MADE Keenan's wines. Keenan is far from the only person who's been helped by Glomski. There are a number of other winemakers for whom Glomski has in some way been partner, mentor or inspirational guide.
  Without actually coming out and saying so, the film leaves you with the definite impression that M. J. Keenan discovered the Verde Valley and decided it would be a good place to grow grapes and make wine and then went out and found Eric Glomski and learned how to grow wine, thereby starting the wine boom here. The truth is a bit different. There were several others successfully growing grapes here and producing wine before Keenan came on the scene, but none of them are as "interesting" as Keenan. None of them are dark, troubled rock stars. None of them that I've met so far wear their passion like a wiccan  tattoo across their forehead like Keenan does, at least in the film. No, they're happily and busily pursuing their art and craft without the recognition of a hip documentary film. Somebody should make one about THEM, but there's the rub; who'd watch it? I would. I sure would.
  Blood into wine is film worth watching. I watched it with glass of Paisano. It seemed to me that watching it with a glass of Chupacabra would have been too much like drinking the Kool-Aid. It helped me stay grounded, skeptical.
  This guy makes some good wines, and the film is worth checking out for anyone with an interest in wine from this region. Just be careful you don't find yourself getting another tattoo and chanting Maynard Maynard Maynard.

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