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Wine Pairings for
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The Little Mermaid & Sardinian Vermentino


Another live-action Disney remake is headed our way. This time it's "The Little Mermaid."


Disney fans love to rag on these remakes, probably because people don't like change.


I don't like these live-action remakes either, but that's not why. They just feel creatively lazy to me. What made the '80-'90s animated movies fun and interesting was that they were Disney's take on classic stories. They were cover albums and our enjoyment came from the flourishes that the movies threw in, but these live-action remakes are cover albums of cover albums. Eww.


Let's pretend the live-action remake isn't about to disappoint us bitterly. The 1989 animated movie pairs best with a Sardinian Vermentino, like Pala Stellato's.


The Story

"The Little Mermaid," directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, kicked off the Disney Renaissance. Based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, it tells the story of Ariel (Jodi Benson), a young and adventurous mermaid who dreams of exploring the human world. Despite her father's disapproval, she makes a bargain with the sea witch Ursula (Pat Carroll) to become human for three days in order to win the love of the hottest of the Disney princes, Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes). However, Ursula, a master of manipulation and Disney's second-best villain (here's the first), has her own plans. She goes out of her way to sabotage Ariel's chances and seduces Prince Eric herself. The cartoon plays it coy about how far Ursula got with Prince Eric, but I think we all know what "body language" did off-screen.


Obviously, the animation is bright and colorful, but it's nothing compared to the music. Composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, every song is catchy, fitting the plot and characters perfectly. "The Little Mermaid" is a classic for a reason.


That said, the cartoon's themes are so outdated it's a little irresponsible to show this movie to children. There's nothing wrong with Ariel's longing for a world beyond her own or even her longing for Eric. That's all perfectly normal, we've all been there. But should the movie reward Ariel for giving up everything else in her life for Eric, including her own identity? Probably not. (Decades later Disney set the record straight with "Frozen," which is basically the opposite movie.)


This is why Hans Christian Andersen's ending was way better. In the original story, the mermaid doesn't get the guy. After the mermaid sacrifices everything, the prince doesn't give up a damn thing and he still marries someone else. The moral of the story: Don't change for love unless you're certain the other person loves you back they prove it with concrete action, and maybe not even then... It's a hard lesson, but it's better to find out from a children's story than experience.


Why yes, I did recently get out of a difficult relationship. How did you know?


The Wine

The Pala Stellato Vermentino is an excellent expression of the Vermentino grape from the island of Sardinia, Italy. Known for its crisp, aromatic white wines, the Mediterranean climate of Sardinia is ideal for this grape varietal.


On the palate, this wine is dry, crisp, and medium-bodied. Lemon, grapefruit, and apricot dominate the taste profile, backed by a distinct salty, mineral undertone.


Why they Pair Well

"The Little Mermaid's" story is deeply tied to the ocean, reflecting the marine influence on Sardinia's island vineyards. This grape variety often conveys a slight salinity or minerality that reflects its coastal growing conditions.


Just as "The Little Mermaid" is known for its vibrant animation and lively musical numbers, the Pala Stellato Vermentino is recognized for its vibrant acidity and fresh flavors. Both encapsulate a sense of energy and liveliness.


The Pala Stellato will probably go well with the live-action remake too. I don't know for sure, it hasn't come out yet, but I don't expect any surprises. I'll give the remake a standing ovation if it goes with the Hans Christian Andersen ending, but I give that a zero-percent chance of happening, which is kind of the problem...





What wine would you pair with "The Little Mermaid?"

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