TNs: 2024 FFFF: Freakin' Freezing Film Festival Wines

Berserkers,

Every year I get together with some friends in February for two Saturdays in a row to have a fun movie day where we watch 3 different movies and eat food and drink wine all day. It’s called the Freakin’ Freezing Film Festival, though it certainly hasn’t been freezing at all this year with unusually mild temps and not a snowflake to be seen on the ground. Here’s what we had on the first night of the festival:

TRIMBACH 2016 CUVEE FREDERIC EMILE RIESLING – Brought especially for me in celebration of my landing a new job. :slight_smile: This was just superb, with incredible texture, unctuousness and piercing lemon-lime and green apple flavor and acidity. Beautiful.

BADLANDS BREWING 2023 INKY – A 13% imperial stout aged in Heaven Hill and Willet Bourbon barrels for 22 months. This is essentially sweet beer liqueur, smooth, sweet and delicious. Reminds me of the Dark Lord brewskie I had at fellow board member Humberto Dorta’s place.

BELLWOODS BREWERY 2021 SKELETON KEY – Another 13% Imperial stout, this time aged in rum barrels. This is lighter bodied than the Inky and is a nice semi-sweet beer with lots of baking spices. Better crafted than the inky. I’m liking these beer flavored wines. :slight_smile:

DR. LOOSEN 2019 RIESLING AUSLESE – Lime and petrol nose, sweet and tangy with a smooth texture and botrytis tingle. Nice. (Not pictured)

RIZZI 2012 BARBARESCO – Extremely rich Barbaresco, lots of deep red fruit and what I like to call a note of turpentine that makes the wine very fragrant. Deep wine.

CROFT 2005 VINTAGE PORTO – Rich deep and sweet stewed red fruit spiced with tobacco notes. Enjoyable. (Not pictured)

STAGS’ LEAP VIOGNIER – As fellow attendee and board member Mike Grammer put it, this is not shy. No, don’t expect a delicate French Viognier here, this is big bodied and redolent with white fruit and flowers. A touch phenolic. Classic flavor, but again, big. You have been justly warned. I loved it.

MALEVOLENT BENEVOLENCE 2020 PEACH BRANDY BARREL AGED – Yet another 13% Imperial stout, this time aged for 18 months in a peach brandy barrel. Sweet and smooth with hints of chocolate and coffee and peaches.

WESTCOTT 2020 HOME FARM SELECT PINOT NOIR – Whole cluster Ontario Pinot Noir with flavors and aromas of sour cherries with notes of balsamic vinegar.

THIRD MOON BREWING QUINTUPLE BONE TREE – A 13.5% New England Style IPA. This is rich and sweet but also bright and refreshing with an insane amount of hops that tickles my nose. I was genuinely surprised it was also 13.5% ABV given how much lighter bodied it was than the IPA stouts. Damn, I’m becoming a serious craft beer fan. And I hate beer.

ROTEM & MOUNIR SAUOMA 2015 COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES INOPIAEDIT After seeing the comments below, looking up the wine online and speaking to Michael, it appears I have either mistakenly confused a different wine for this bottle or else there was a different leftover wine in the bottle. I think we can all agree flint, subtle smoke, and tart green apple which I get from this aren’t white Rhone notes. So all I can say is I drank a nice Chardonnay and leave it at that. :slightly_smiling_face:

ARDAL 2010 RIBERA DEL DUERO RISERVA – Saline and tannic notes spice up the sour cherry and apple flavors. Very different from the usual Rioja.

Great selection for the first night of the festival. More to come after this weekend.

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What are the movies?

Really good traditional producer who owns the entirety of the substantial Rizzi vineyard in Treiso, plus parts of Nervo and Pajore.

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Thanks for asking Chris. The home theater schedule was as follows with each movie rated by the number of wine glasses drunk during the movie:

2 PM: The Tunnel of Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes. A beautiful and highly recommended animé with a sci-fi twist about a couple of teens who discover a tunnel that freezes time, reaches into the past and grants wishes. One of the teens becomes obsessed with the tunnel and risks his entire future in order to rectify an issue from the past… but is the cost truly worth it?

This was beautiful and romantic, with incredible characterization and deep themes. I would love to see a note for note live adaptation of it. I almost lost it near the end and I can literally count on less than one hand the number of movies that have actually made my grown ass stoic manly man non-Rosé drinking man self cry. :smiling_face_with_tear: This would have made the list but for the fact that others were present and I didn’t want to embarrass myself. It was that good. 5/5 glasses

6:45 PM: The Holdovers The previous movie left us all in such a feel good mood that we asked festival programmer and creator Andrew to move up the next movie’s start time earlier than the scheduled 6:45 PM start which we did after a short break with some discussion, drinks and snacks. We actually started up at 5:30 and scored with another winner. Set in the 1970’s, Paul Giamatti plays a cranky teacher at a boarding school who draws the short straw and must babysit the students whose parents won’t bring them back home for the Christmas break. Over the break, the initially tense and icy (the wintery Christmas time and setting are no accident here) relationship between teacher and students slowly thaws as they get to know each other as actual people and not just as mean teacher and rebellious students.

This was beautiful and deserves both Oscar nominations and wins. It’s written and directed by Alexander Payne who has a very specific style in his craft. If you’ve seen Sideways, The Descendants, this movie or any other he’s done, they are all practically interchangeable in terms of plot and characters and themes. Just change the time period and setting. I’m on to his tricks now but you know what? It’s still a really enjoyable ride with every one of his films and this one is no different. Highly recommended. 5/5 glasses.

9:15 PM: El Conde (The Count) We always end each night with a genre film, and this one which is available on Netflix is as out there as it gets. This Chilean dark satire portrays hated Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as an eternal vampire in hiding who is tired of eternal life. His human wife and children scheme to get their inheritances while the Vatican plots to kill him.

This was surreal and both beautiful and disturbing at the same time. As someone who lived in Latin America as a child and witnessed and lived through firsthand the atrocities committed at the time all throughout Central and South America, it was particularly hard to take but also quite understandable that Chileans themselves would make this dark satire to help cope and heal from the lasting effects this one single horrible human being perpetrated upon an entire country. On its own merits as a movie, the cinematography was beautiful and the acting was fantastic. But as a whole, it’s just a weird film and everyone was silent for quite a few minutes when it was over because we really didn’t know what to make of it or how to feel about it. It wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t horrible, either. It was just sort of… there. I’m glad I watched it but wouldn’t watch it again. 2.5 glasses

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Chardonnay?

Unless I have either the wrong bottle or there was a different wine in the bottle, I was definitely drinking a Chardonnay per my notes and pic above. Do I take it from your question it’s not supposed to be a Chardonnay? I haven’t looked it up.

Unless things have changed drastically, CdRV has to be a blend, and Chardonnay isn’t one of the permitted grapes.

(Sherlock hat)

It would appear the Master Grammer put his Chardonnay into a left over Cotes du Rhone bottle. My inference is Tran’s note is Day 2 Tan Fruit Oak Grove Chardonnay.

In 2017 Inopia was mostly Grenache Blanc. It did have some nice reductive qualities that could be mistaken as White Burgundy.

I was about to get to this. It appears I indeed got confused with either my glass contents and/or the bottle as Michael confirms that the Inopia it is in fact a southern Rhone valley white that is mostly Grenache Blanc and online research says it also has Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne and that he brought the bottle leftover from a dinner the previous evening. So either I drank a Chardonnay and confused the bottles or it was leftover Chardonnay in the bottle. Either way, it is incorrect to assign my thoughts to the Inopia itself because I think we can all agree that flint and tart green apple notes are not what one would expect from a Southern Rhone. I will edit my note above before moving on this past Saturday’s wines and movies.

Hello Everyone,

The second and final night of FFFF '24 occured last Saturday in Oakville, Ontario. Several wines, beers, movies, savory dishes and desserts were enjoyed together. Given the issue with the “Inopia” from the first day, I made sure to double-check the bottle contents this time. :slightly_smiling_face: Pretty sure everything tastes like it’s supposed to this time around. :grinning: On with the wines and the bonus movie reviews:

Pfaff 2020 Tradition Gewurztraminer – A lovely traditional Gewurztraminer – it is indeed aptly named – with expected off-dry and mild flavors of lychee, ginger, and flowers. It is nowhere near as intense and a lot less sweet than the higher end Alsacian Gewurztraminers I usually drink but I consider that a good thing since this is a lot more quaffable and refreshing.

Tom Eddy 2020 TENZ New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – A full-bodied SB with lots of white grapefruit and herbal notes. Noticeably fuller in body than most NZ SBs I’ve had before, almost a California like SB but without the heavy sweetness.

Brokenwood 2018 Hunter Valley Semillon – Honeydew melon on the nose gives way to a saline, tangy and phenolic green apple and green grape flavors. Very crisp.

Third Moon Time Takes Time – A 13% ABV blend of Imperial Stout beer aged for 14 months in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels and British style barley wine aged for 14 months in Buffalo Trace bour barrels. This is very strong with sweet flavors of barley cereal, coffee, and chocolate.

La Nerthe 2020 Les Cassagnes – A full-bodied classic Rhone GSM red blend, thick and sweet black cherry flavor spiced up with tannins. Quite powerful and 15% ABV. Practically a California wine. This was great with the pulled pork we had for dinner.

Third Moon Neuromancer – A sweet and very hoppy double IPA brewed with oats. 8% ABV, full-bodied beer with lots of nose ticking tangy hops.

Thirty Bench 2012 Small Lot Merlot – I have a number of 2012 local Niagara Region and California Merlots I have been patiently aging and this is the first one I’ve opened. This was quite strong and powerful, from one of the hottest seasons in the Niagara region. Strong red fruit and tannins, could probably still age a bit more. A great surprise.

Louis Jadot 2023 Beaujolais Villages – Sweet and smooth brandied cherries in a light body with good acidity. Clean and refreshing, very easy drinking. You either enjoy drinking Beaujolais or not. Perfectly fine and crushable, especially with our food.

Zaha 2016 El Corte Malbec – An intense Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. Deep inky color, full-bodied, strong tannins, intense flavors of blueberries, black currants, blackberries and touches of cocoa and tobacco. Just dying to be paired with a great steak or smoked brisket.

Damilano 2013 Barolo Lecinquevigne – Michael thought this was pretty shut down even though it was decanted for quite a while. I’m not sure about that. This was very smooth and had an intriguing creamy backbone I don’t usually get out of Barolo. I do think it was quite tight and reticent, though, as what flavors of cherries and cranberries I detected and faint aromas of rosewater refused to come out steadily. I really don’t know if it’s going to get any better either with age or a longer decant, but that could just be my inexperience with Barolo. I was expecting quite a bit more than we got, I do know that.

Third Moon Parallel – This bills itself as a chocolate orange Imperial Stout. I definitely got the chocolate flavor though the orange flavor was very light. Enjoyable for what it was.

Kracher 2017 Zweigelt Beerenauslese – My contrib, natch, this was light bodied, sweet, tart and full of red cherries, pomengranate, dragonfruit and a surprising fresh lime note. Lots of acidity too. Very nice dessert wine.

Castelnau de Suduiraut 2006 Sauternes – A great second wine Sauternes. Rich sweet apricot with a full body and an intriguing smoke note in the nose. Never experienced that in a Sauternes before. Pretty nice wine.

Nikka Whisky Single Malt Miyagikyo – This Japanese no-age statement single malt is aged in Sherry casks. This is sweet, fruity, lightly peaty and makes for a great dessert whisky. Definitely reminds me of a Speyside, one of my two favorite whisky styles.

Nikka Whisky Single Malt Yoichi – In direct contrast, the Yoichi is drier, smoother, and smokier on the palate. Really great to try these both side by side.

Here’s some bonus food porn from the evening.

Let’s start with some olive bread and Portuguese cheese.

Here’s a Lentil Bolognese Ragu we had with pasta. A great vegetarian take on traditional spaghetti sauce.

Here’s some Garlic Ginger Soy Chicken.

Next up is some Pulled Pork which I had the honors of doing the shredding for, which was then used for some Pulled Pork Buns:


Here are my reviews for the final trio of movies we enjoyed this evening:

2 PM: Aurora’s Sunrise – The incredible true life story of Armenian genocide survivor Aurora Mardiganian, who lived through an absolutely horrific life experience as a genocide survivor who managed to escape to America, only to experience more trauma and exploitation as she became a silent movie star reliving her own awful experiences on film in order to get the word of the Armenian Genocide out to the American public. It very much put the current situation in the Ukraine on my mind as well as reminding me of Michael Oher, whose life story was made into the feel good 2009 Oscar winning movie The Blind Side whose mythology has now been left in tatters thanks to Oher’s real-life claims of exploitation and lawsuit against his foster parents.

This was horrific and sad but ultimately inspiring and hopeful, this combines hand drawn animation with live interviews, rescued film, and historical photographs. Extremely powerful and highly recommended. 5/5 glasses.

6:45 PM: Past Lives – This Best Picture and Best Screenplay nominated Korean/Canadian/American film left me wildly divided. It is stunningly acted and directed with deep rich characters, a moving and affecting romance at the heart of the story, and stunning on location cinematography. It’s a crime that the two lead actors, especially Korean American actress Greta Lee, weren’t nominated for Best Actor and Actress. Lee especially deserves it.

With this said, the movie has what is in IMHO a brutally fatal flaw in its plot structure that I can’t forgive. This is hard to discuss without spoiling but I’ll try to speak in generalizations. About 1/3 of the way into the movie, the lead female character makes a decision that prevents two of the three lead characters from moving forward in their beautiful relationship because it now risks turning the audience against them both if they take the logical, necessary and rational step forward in the relationship.

Since the movie wants to keep the leads sympathetic, it refuses to take this risky action and the end result is that as beautiful as the movie is… nothing really happens and nobody really changes. This has the probably unintended side effect of then making one lead male character look like a pitiful simp and the lead female character of looking like an ass because she made all the driving decisions in the movie.

The intensely beautiful acting from all of the three lead actors involved covered up this fact but the second the movie is over and you think about it, you immediately realize how the movie’s fatal flaw affected it. There is one scene in the climax where two people literally just stand on the street and look at each other and it was the absolute most incredible acting I have ever seen two people do in a movie since Pacino and De Niro’s famous coffee shop scene in Heat. This was even better because there literally wasn’t a single word involved. It was so great. I do recommend this movie and it is sure to cause an interesting reaction in viewers. I should note that I was definitely in the minority with my feelings but I wasn’t alone in them while the majority of the group loved the movie. 4.5/5 glasses.

9:15 PM Dream Scenario – Nicolas Cage plays a socially challenged professor who becomes famous when for some unknown reason, he appears in people’s dreams around the world. He then enjoys a brief taste of fame and success only for things to fall apart when the dreams turn to violent nightmares and the public then turns on him as a result.

This movie started off as a funny, quirky and somewhat insightful comedy satire that comments on fame in our current social media driven world, but when it takes its expected and rather predictable dark turn, it doesn’t seem to know how to properly end itself or what landing it wants to stick when it does so. It can’t seem to bring the quirky comedy back and just goes darker and darker until it ends. It satirizes pop culture fame in our modern social media world well, but once Paul’s fall comes, the satire stops and the movie seemingly delights in just destroying his life for no other reason than to do so. It was entertaining at times but honestly not a great movie overall. 2/5 glasses.

Well, that covers both weekend’s movies. I’d rate the Tunnel of Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes, Aurora’s Sunrise and Past Lives as my top three movies of the festival. Looking forward to 2025’s Freakin’ Freezing Film Festival.

Thanks for all these notes, Tran, and if you want, you should post your movie reviews in the “movies” topic in Asylum—where you can feel free to trash my reviews!

Yes, I brought the 2016 Trimbach CFE Ries in celebration of Tran’s new employment. It is still, not surprisingly, very young and presented to me on the lean and vivacious side, with tart red apple and light lime and unripe peach notes. Really needs time to settle down. The 2012 Rizzi Barbaresco showed nicely, just into its mature window for me, agree that red fruit is at the front here, with a very light touch of cinnamon. I had brought the 19 Loosen and 05 Croft as leftovers from the Friday night dinner party I had. I believe it was the 2020 Stag’s Leap Viognier and yes, it’s not shy. Although it’s not limpid or creamy, it also has a lot of oak, enough to be disruptive. Didn’t fancy it.

I was quite tickled, though, with the 2020 Westcott Home Farm Select PN I was surprised this was ready to go, with precise and pure strawberry and raspberry fruit and real authenticity as a cool-climate (well, sort of—this was actually quite a triumph considering the very warm 2020 vintage) pinot. I am happy I have 3 more of these.

2015 R&M Saouma Inopia was indeed the Inopia, a Roussanne-based blend. I brought it in the hopes that it would match well with Cod au Gratin, and it did! My first bottle some years ago I found to be overblown and simple to a degree. This bottle was much better, still showing a richness and creaminess of white fruit and flowers, but much more harmonious and dialed back now. Still not my first choice of white wine style, I can appreciate this bottle a lot more than my first.

I had a quick taste of the Ardal and found it rather muted. Maybe it just needed air time.

For the second Saturday’s wines, I agree with Tran’s notes on the 2020 Pfaff Tradition Gewurtz Lacking an extra level of depth or complexity, but suitable and authentic Gewurtz aromas and flavours here.

2020 TENZ SB leaves no doubt that it’s a New Zealand Savvy. Bursting with gooseberry and nettles and capiscum, it’s in a good place for drinking for what it is. If this is not your style of SB, do stay away though :slight_smile:

It appears Tran missed the 2014 Chason Chablis Preuses, maybe because our friend Tessa (who loves Chablis) hoarded it, but I don’t think much was missed. For the vintage and the plot, I was disappointed in the lack of intensity and levels here. It was dry and correct, with green apple and some mineral component, but quaffable and no more.

2018 Brokenwood Hunter Valley Sem was a good deal more approachable than I expected. Dashes of spearmint in and around lemon and lime base. Should get better with a few more years.

2012 ThirtyBench Small Lot Merlot I am in disagreement with Tran, and most of my friends, on this one. While I enjoyed it plenty, with fully-evolved damson plum and cherry flavours, I do think it’ll be on the downslope in a year or two. But this could well be a case of me not being wrong, just an inferior kind of right!

2016 Zaha El Corte Malbec as Tran says, doesn’t really drink like a traditional Malbec, and hasn’t for a while. It’s easygoing rich-ish red fruit with some cedar dust at the back. Relatively simple, in its early days this was a QPR home run. Now it’s more like a QPR slap single, but glad to have had a chance to open it.

2013 Damilano Barolo LeCinqueVigne

So I gave this an hour’s decant at home, and then we gave it another 7 hours at Andrew’s. And it was just thinking about being ready at that point. The tar was dominant at first and then does give way to roses and berry fruit, with some currant and iron entering on the palate. I do think this has tremendous potential as textbook Barolo—there are real bones here. I also think it needs at least another decade to be fully in the window.

Tran brought the 2017 Kracher Zweigelt BA and it was a very fun drink, loaded with apricot, peach and other tropical fruit. It had good freshness, if not signature Kracher freshness from the older ZDS or NV bottles.

I was quite pleasantly surprised by the 2006 Castelnau de Suduiraut which another friend brought. For me, the botrytis was in a great spot and this was really in the wheelhouse with vanilla, apricot and bits of maple sugar. As a second wine in a non-notable year, I was duly impressed.

I will do a separate posting on the wines I brought for the Tuesday and Thursday sessions of F5—February Frickin’ Freezing Film Festival. My friend Andrew has organized these now for 22 years. It was great to have so many of us back doing this in person.

Kwa Heri

Mike