On this week’s “Wine & Film, a Perfect Pairing” reVolver podcast we pair two different films, first the very charming, Disney remake of “Pete’s Dragon” that I find a perfect puppy loving Napa Valley Cab to pair.
We also pair a society darling with one of the most loved Champagnes in the world. But first, Pete, Elliott and Yoda. Gary’s critique of the film below, as well as a little bit more about Hoopes Cabernet.
The Film: “Pete’s Dragon”
The 2016 version of “Pete’s Dragon” is good enough, emotional enough, and artistic enough to re-think the well-earned bad image of re-makes. The original was a 1977 oddball mixture of musical numbers, animation, and live action screwball comedy, but this new enlightened version simply resonates on a deeper, richer level.
The story begins with tragedy as a young boy is the lone survivor of a violent car accident on a remote mountain Pacific Northwest road. He is rescued by a furry dragon named Elliot and raised in the forest for a number of years under his watchful wings, at least until civilization and logging begins to encroach on their Shangri-la.
Bryce Dallas Howard is the kind-hearted forest ranger, Robert Redford plays her dragon believing father, and the boy is played with wide-eyed wonder by Oakes Fegley. But, in this quiet soft spoken drama the relationship between the boy and his dragon takes center stage. Not unlike the powerful bond between a child and his pet, it’s a protective, unconditional, endearing relationship often overlooked in films.
Honest emotion is the reason to embrace Texas film-maker David Lowery’s script and film. He gets it. He understands the nuances, and lets them rest in full view rather than bulldoze through his own property. Watching Lowery’s “Pete’s Dragon,” is like watching something new and better, rather than something old and recycled.
This doesn’t happen very often so grab the family and enjoy the ride. If I could take my dog Yoda to see the film, I would. Elliot’s kind and gentle face reminds me of the dog I love so much.
The Wine: Hoopes Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
If you know anything about me, you know how much I love my Yoda. Our little old man, wise beyond his years, perfectly precious Jack Russel/Shih Tzu mix, our Jack Shit, Yoda. This furry creature who brings me more joy than even the very best glass of wine.
He is perfect, and within the first five minutes of watching Elliott the Dragon I was hooked, because that furry green dragon is 100% like my Yoda. All the other characters were unnecessary, because the beauty of this film is the bond between Pete and Elliott, man and his pet.
To pair, a bottle of wine Gary gave me early in our dating, because the pup on the label reminded him of Yoda. Thankfully, this is a wine with a dog on the label that is actually very, very good.
Hoopes Oakville Cabernet from Napa Valley, depicting a photo of “the Boss,” Dante, owner Spencer Hoopes’ beloved terrier whose image graces the Hoopes wine label since their inception, and to this day (even though he is in puppy heaven) serves as the energetic inspiration for Hoopes Family Wines. Hoopes initially started just with a vineyard, purchasing about 10 acres in Oakville, Napa, as the wine collector turned farmer produced some stellar fruit. So good that he would eventually began bottling his own wine, placing Dante jumping through a hoop on his first label. This tiny production Hoopes wine has been earning acclaim since. This is special wine, filled with power, concentration and structure, but also balance, refinement and finesse.
Today the winery is run by Lindsey Hoopes, Spencer Hoopes’ daughter, a former Assistant DA in San Francisco, prosecuting high profile homicide cases, with some less than pleasant types. She left to join the Hoopes team, becoming the face of the brand today, along with Dante.
The winemaker for Hoopes is another dynamic woman, Anne Vawter, a Walla Walla, Washington native who developed a deep appreciation for agriculture from her father, and inherited his love of wine. Anne began as Hoopes Vineyard’s winemaker with the 2012 vintage.