Friday, February 24, 2012

Wine for a Zombie Prom

"Where once the girl was effervescent,
She's now a poster-child depressant,
A problematic post-pubescent,
A convalescing adolescent,
A Teenager in Hell!"

Lyrics the like you've never heard before. Indeed, this was an evening I haven't experienced for some years - a high school musical. But I don't think the Disney Channel was behind this particular show. The oldest niece, Stargirl, had a role in her school play and, frankly, I don't remember the last high school show I attended. When my sis, Vixen, said that Stargirl had a role in Zombie Prom - it was a no-brainer that we'd be there cheering on her introduction to the big stage, even if we'd never heard of the show. Turns out that Zombie Prom is an Off-Broadway musical that's been made into a movie, starring none other than our favourite drag queen, RuPaul, as the nasty, disciplinarian school principal.

Making time for the musical wasn't a problem. Attending without a bit of wine in me to soften the possible blows might have been.

When I think high school musicals, it's more likely to be along the lines of My Fair Lady, Grease or Fiddler on the Roof. Stargirl's school was definitely thinking outside the box with the story of a boyfriend from the wrong side of the tracks who committed suicide by jumping in the town nuclear reactor. Who knew when they dumped his body in the ocean that the power of teenage love could bring him back as a zombie - just in time for senior prom?

1069. 2008 Vinos Sin Ley Traza Gra2 (DOC Rioja - Spain)

The show's theme simply called for - not for a zombie wine (not that I know what one might be) - but for a wine that plays outside tradition as well. The Vinos Sin Ley, or "Wines Without Law" series, seemed perfect. I've previously added wines from the "G" (Garnacha or Grenache) and "M" (Monastrell or Mourvèdre) series to The List, but this bottle from the "Gra" line is a first.

I'm totally intrigued by the concept of Vinos Sin Ley. It's not a specific winery but, rather, group of (mostly) young, Spanish winemakers that strive to meet an objective of creating "new wines" that incorporate experimentation and innovation and that look to use different varietals or emphasis in blends in a variety of regions throughout Spain.

The "Gra" stands for the Graciano, a Spanish varietal that is authorized in the Rioja appellation but is almost extinct and is primarily used as a support grape to be blended with the more recognized Tempranillo. It's rare to see Graciano as a 100% varietal wine and that's part of what Vinos Sin Ley does best - put a new twist on local tradition. I was a little surprised to find out that I've already added Graciano to my Wine Century Club list - but I'm sure it wasn't as a straight varietal wine.

Traza's winemaker is David Sampedro and he has a deep fondness for "forgotten grapes" - those varietals that were pushed to the side as Rioja and Tempranillo became a current darling of the global wine world. Traza is no shy wine, big with tons of dark fruit on the nose and palate. In a way, it was almost a bit much but it was certainly approachable as an easy drinking, pre-zombie sipper.

We polished off the wine and Vixen's pizza and made our way to the school. The show was entertaining and had some catchy tunes and witty lines. While the lead girl, Toffee, had a really nice voice and handled her role well, I cringed more than a couple of times with the poor guy playing our zombie hero, Jonny. I think he missed almost as many notes as he hit - but maybe he was told that zombies aren't supposed to be able to sing all that well. He was a real trooper and made the rest of the role his own though.

Stargirl's role as the strict mom that didn't want her daughter dating the town bad boy, let alone a zombie, had little sis, Melmo, screaming that's "so my sister."

Fun night, but I think another bottle of wine would have made it that much better. And on that happy note, I leave you with the wise words of the high school chorus -

"Will you dash his high ambitions?
Throw his PhD away?
Would you close the door to Jonny...
Just because he's D.O.A.?"

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