Well, we’re in this social distancing, stay at home thing for the long haul it seems (or at least another month). Hockey seems to be no closer to coming back, but at least the liquor stores are deemed essential businesses in most places.
With that in mind, Taylor Baird from Defending Big D (Dallas Stars) and I made some wine pairings - of hockey movies and wines that is - for you all to enjoy, responsibly.
Overview: The iconic hockey movie classic, Slapshot shows us what it’s like for guys to grind it out in the minor leagues as they try to make it to the big show. The best scene in hockey film has to be the French goaltender explaining what the penalty box is. “You go to da box for 2 minutes, ya know, by yourself...you feel shame...and then you get free.”
Taylor’s Wine Pairing Choice: Settle in for this classic with a classic - grab yourself your favorite kind of Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoy the show. I like this Educated Guess cab for a casual night of social distancing.
Michelle’s Wine Pairing Choice: I’ll admit I’ve never seen this movie. But it has a dark red wine feel to me, a type of wine I don’t usually go for. I’ll default to Taylor’s recommendation.
Overview: A young boy with dreams of making the NHL finds that he’ll need more than finesse and offensive skills if he wants to make his dreams come true. Dean Youngblood learns to fight and find some time to romance the coach’s daughter in this 80’s hockey classic.
Taylor’s Wine Pairing Choice: A good Malbec. Malbecs are known for having the thickest-skinned grapes used in the making of this varietal, and that seems to fit the bill if you’re going to watch some dudes punch each other in the face. Malbecs are also loaded with resveratrol antioxidants, which contributes to cardiovascular and immune health. So a win-win in the wine category. One of my personal favorites is this Luca Malbec.
Michelle’s Wine Pairing Choice: I really want to watch this movie based on Taylor’s overview alone. It also kind of has a Michael Scott vibe to me (I’ve been rewatching The Office) so maybe something that has an oaky afterbirth. But in all seriousness, and this might be a crazy recommendation, Chianti. It’s the one red I definitely like, probably because I spent a semester living off it and pizza.
The Mighty Ducks (1992)
Overview: Self-absorbed, pretentious rich man tries to get out of jail time for his incredibly stupid life choices by coaching a youth hockey team. It turns out, this guy is bitter about his own youth hockey experience, and the team has the impact of healing him as the team comes together to take on his archnemesis.
Taylor’s Wine Pairing Choice: What pairs well with confronting your own childhood angst and regrets? Pick that one.
Michelle’s Wine Pairing Choice: I frequently buy bottles based on the name and the label and recent purchase of The Infamous Goose seems fitting. Goose, Duck, get it? It wasn’t sweet but had strong notes of pear and was surprisingly good.
The Cutting Edge (1992)
Overview: A spoiled rich figure skater gets paired with a working-class hockey player as her last chance partner to compete in the Olympics in pair figure skating competition. Since I was late to the whole hockey world, this is one of my earliest memories of hockey movies, and it took me a long while to understand why there was such animosity between figure skaters and hockey skaters. “Toe pick!”
Michelle’s Wine Pairing Choice: Taylor, I can’t believe you didn’t go with Duck Pond for the Mighty Ducks. But anyway, I’d go with a rose I think,. One of my favorites is actually canned by Underwood in Oregon. You can find them nationwide, or at least I can find them regularly in Boston. I like the Rose Bubbles.
Taylor’s Wine Pairing Choice: Since this has a light-hearted rom-com vibe as only an early 90’s movie can evoke, I’d pair this movie with a nice light Pinot Grigio. I like this Duck Pond on a summer night.
Happy Gilmore (1996)
Overview: One thing we always hear is that NHL players would choose to be golf players if they hadn’t gone this route. Happy Gilmore explores exactly what that might look like if you added hand-eating alligators into the mix.
Taylor’s Wine Pairing Choice: Bold choice to use a hockey stick to play golf, so my wine choice would reflect that same boldness: Chardonnay. Try this Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay if you want to mix it up a little.
Michelle’s Wine Pairing Choice: Something about Happy Gilmore screams canned wine to me. So back to Underwood I go. Specifically for Happy Gilmore I’d pick The Bubbles.
Mystery, Alaska (1999)
Overview: The small town of Mystery, Alaska is chosen to host the NHL’s New York Rangers in a pond hockey game against the town’s local hockey beer-leaguers. Come for Russell Crowe on skates, stay for the classic chirp “You look like the back end of a moose!”
Michelle’s Wine Pairing Choice: This has been the hardest one for me. I want a wine that screams “small town big dreams” but also “moose”! I’d probably just pick a wine with a moose on the label.
Taylor’s Wine Pairing Choice: A wine that gives you a “high-five to the heart” as I heard the Petite Sirah once described. Check out this Tenant Syrah which I picked once just because of the really cool owl on the label. (Let’s be honest, this is about 80% of what I base my wine choices on….)
Overview: This movie tells the iconic story of the time the U.S. men’s hockey team beat the heavily favored Soviet team in the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. The title was inspired by Al Michael’s call of the game which led to this match-up being dubbed infamously as the “Miracle on Ice”.
Taylor’s Wine Pairing Choice: My all-time favorite hockey movie calls for my all-time favorite wine: a Pinot Noir. See, this wine is the best for everyday drinking as it has lower sugar per glass than most reds. Considering I could watch Miracle nearly every day, it’s the perfect pairing. The Meiomi Pinot Noir is my go-to in this varietal.
Michelle’s Wine Pairing Choice: Oh definitely a Pinot Noir, with some sort of blue logo I think. Viewers choice when they’re at the store.
Overview: Doug Glatt may be a one-dimensional hockey player, the stereotypical goon that is being phased out of the modern day NHL. But he’s far from a one-dimensional person — Glatt would run through the wall for his teammates, and you’ll easily root for him on and off the ice.
Michelle’s Wine Pairing Choice: Whatever it is is has to be no frills. Maybe even two buck chuck…?
Taylor’s Wine Pairing Choice: Whatever wine fits into my Grumpy Cat wine glass. Might go with Boone’s Farm to match the film’s unpretentious aesthetic.
Inside Out (2015)
Overview: This movie follows Riley, a young hockey-playing girl from Minnesota who is relocated to California — far from her friends, her hockey team, and everything she’s known. The story is told through her emotions and is a poignant look at what it’s like for girls to come of age.
Taylor’s Wine Pairing Choice: It doesn’t matter what wine I drink with this movie, I’ll end up crying when Hockey Island crumbles and end up drinking the whole bottle anyway.
Michelle’s Wine Pairing Choice: Is there a wine made out of my own tears? That one.
[Editor’s Note: This post wasn’t sponsored by Total Wine in any way. I just really, really like wine, and Total Wine is one of my preferred outlets for purchasing because the staff there always points me to a good rec when I’m interested in trying something new/different or am just not sure what I want. - Taylor]
[Editor’s Note p2: My wine knowledge is slim and it shows. I don’t think I’ve ever bought the same bottle of wine more than once, except for the wine from a local vineyard north of Boston and canned wine which I referenced at least once. My in-laws are also much more versed in wine so I usually just drink whatever is put in front of me. But this was fun, Taylor!]