Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 24

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:

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 2.31.10 PM

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.



  1. Dr Hannibal Lecter is quite possibly the scariest movie character ever created. This movie scared me so deeply that I could not watch it again until about 2 years ago….20 years between 1st and 2nd viewing and I remembered every bit of it. My husband would not allow me to read the books or see the subsequent movies (which I understand were sub-par) so I did not know about the change from Amarone to Chianti. That’s a bummer because Amarone is waaaaayyy better than Chianti! Do you watch The Bridge? The other villain in Silence of the Lambs plays the police captain. I did not recognize him; my husband and one of my girlfriends told me. If I had not already liked his character it would have really bothered me. I do still think of it from time to time. Thanks for the reminder of this epically haunting but brilliant movie.


    1. I haven’t watched SotL in its entirety since it came out. But my teenage boy is mocking me for being scared of Dr. Lecter. So I’m thinking movie night might just be in order. I’ll make liver and fava beans . . . 😉! I read Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal (read that one because it was the only book I could find in English on a vacation to a very small corner of Italy). Hannibal makes SotL look like rainbows and bunnies . . . it’s just downright disturbing. And gross. SO very, very gross. I have not seen The Bridge . . . will have to check it out! Cheers, Michelle!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think Ted Levine is trying to shed his “Buffalo Bill” character by playing police captains! He played one on Monk also. The scary thing about Hannibal Lecter is he could be real, unlike the other trio. A bit disturbing, but great movie none-the-less.


  3. It took me three days to watch that movie. I would turn it on at noon and watch for thirty minutes or so, and then have to turn it off. The single scariest movie ever. Much scarier than the “horror flicks” since they are predictable and, well, implausible.

    Hannibal Lecter, though, was far too real….

    The only reason I even watched it was my insatiable crush on Jodie Foster (although it never led me to consider shooting a president).


    1. The realness makes is slightly unbearable, doesn’t it? SotL was on TV on Halloween, and I sat there and watched it. Definitely not as bad as 23 years ago. Though, I kept screaming at Jodie Foster, “use your cell phone!!” 😉 Still creeped me out to see Dr. Lecter wade through the crowd at the end of the move . . . Cheers!


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