I tried to watch Beauty and the Beast again this week. The live action remake from 2017, I mean – the one with Hermione and the guy from Downton Abbey. Once again, I abandoned it. I do rather like the idea of Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellen as Lumière and Cogsworth but I just can’t get that far.
Because there’s just something, and I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, something magical about the original.
That haunting opening with the stain-glass motifs, the eeriness of the castle, the catchiness and charm of the songs, the characterizations of the transformed servants and of course, the ballroom scene. It’s enchanting. Plus the bullish huntsman Gaston is the undisputed G.O.A.T when it comes to Disney villains.
Some films just can’t be remade.
Then I got to thinking, because in winemaking, the converse is true: if you’re not remaking your product every year than either the vintage has been apocalyptic or you haven’t been doing your job very well.
Twentieth release of an old classic coming soon? Get me a ticket. I want to know what’s changed. What’s the same? How did the weather affect the result? Did they change that ghastly retro label for something more edgy?
In the wine world we don’t dismiss remakes. We look forward to them.
So what’s showing now? I’m enjoying a couple from Hentley Farm in Seppeltsfield: The Beauty and The Beast Shiraz from the 2018 vintage.
In the film Belle’s dad was a crackpot inventor. Not so, the father of this duo, Andrew Quin. He has a considered way of crafting wine. Whenever I taste Hentley Farm I envision him at some cluttered workbench literally putting things in, building the wines from the ground up to some secretive specifications, so layered and nuanced are the finished products.
Hentley Farm The Beauty Shiraz 2018, Barossa Valley ($69)
The fruit for this beauty comes from the mildest spot on the property, down near Greenock Creek. A little viognier blended in gives the aromatics a lift, like the lead up to the chorus in an opening song. It smells of bright blueberry, cocoa, cloves, cola and smashed peppercorns. The tannins are lithe and clean like the folds of a yellow ball gown. The palate finishes leaving traces of dusty spice framed with darker, juicier fruits.
Hentley Farm The Beast Shiraz 2018, Barossa Valley ($99)
The Beast sits up on high, watching over the rest of the Hentley Farm vineyards. The elevated site gets the best of the sun and the shallower soil gives lower yielding, concentrated fruit. It is a beast, but it is a gentle beast. The fruit is darker here, like velvet drapes hiding a hidden wing. Ripe cherry and deep, inky blackberries that would stain your shirt as well as carroway seed, cumin, melted chocolate and fallen rose petals. The richness flows through the palate evenly, never compromised, carefully carrying those bolder tannins.