Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday. It hovers somewhere between Talk Like a Pirate Day and Tax Day for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about lighting bonfires to ward off restless ghosts, but I don’t like being scared. And I definitely don’t like being scared on purpose. Back in high school, it was all the rage to watch horror movies at slumber parties, and I watched them all — Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street (in all their iterations). And I pretended it was soooo fun (really, would it have been so awful to watch Sixteen Candles or Top Gun again?). And while Jason, Michael and Freddy are some very creepy dudes, they never scared me as much as the Lord God King of Creepy Dudes: Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
Silence of the Lambs came out during my junior year of college, while I was dating the Mr. Armchair Sommelier. And let me tell you, nothing sets the mood for a romantic date night like a cannibalistic serial killer. For the record, I’m convinced my husband wanted to see Silence of the Lambs to get back at me for making him sit through Steel Magnolias (a movie he insists he was tricked into seeing because it had the word steel in the title). Silence of the Lambs scared the bejesus out of me (all part of his plan, I’m sure). Hannibal Lecter is a terrifying man. And that whole homicidal cannibal thing is secondary to what’s truly terrifying about Dr. Lecter — his brilliance. Dr. Lecter crawls inside your head and stays there. Dr. Lecter doesn’t need a knife — he can kill you with words.
So, what does Hannibal Lecter have to do with wine?!?
Arguably one of the greatest, most recognizable wine quotes of all time comes from the movie, Silence of the Lambs.
Shudder. Twenty-three years later, and that slurping sound Dr. Lecter makes still creeps me out!
But, interestingly, Chianti is absent from Thomas Harris’ book. In the book, Dr. Lecter pairs his liver with Amarone:
Apparently, Silence of the Lambs director, Jonathan Demme, decided to “dumb down” Dr. Lecter’s taste in wine — because he thought the American people wouldn’t be able to identify with Amarone the same way they would with Chianti. Wait. What? Dr. Lecter is supposed to be a little incomprehensible — it makes him more terrifying. But, if I’m being honest, 23 years ago, I probably would have thought Amarone was a seashell.
So, what would you pair with liver and fava beans . . . a nice Chianti or a big Amarone?
I think I’ll defer to the Dr. Lecter of the page and go with a big Amarone on Halloween night. Hold the liver.