I first saw the movie Jaws when I was eight.
I thought I was old enough to watch my first scary movie. I knew it was a classic, one of those movies everyone just had to see, so I thought I would give it a shot.
My mom tried to convince me otherwise. But for some reason I wouldn’t back down. “You’re on your own, kid,” was my mother’s response.
I ended up sleeping in her bed for the next three nights.
For many summers thereafter, every time I entered a body of water larger than a splash pad, I imagined a behemoth of a beast with razor-sharp teeth emerging from below to grab hold of me at the midsection and drag me down into the abyss.
So what if it was just a pool. After seeing that movie, my imagination took hold.
To this day, I have yet to re-watch Jaws, and all horror movies are off the table, deemed NFM (not for Mel).
But 2019 has been a pivotal year for me and my Jaws-induced fear of sharks. In January, I got PADI certified for scuba diving in St. Martin. Two months later, I found myself swimming with reef sharks.
It wasn’t supposed to happen.
We were back in St. Martin, diving with Ocean Explorers. We were about to dive the area dubbed Lobster Hotel. Suited up and about to jump in the water, I heard the divemaster say “Oh, and by the way, this is a reef dive. There will likely be sharks. They’re friendly and they may get close.”
I tried to resist the urge to panic.
The sharks were there as soon as we hit the water, lurking below us, curious about these strange creatures entering their turf. I tried to alert my fellow divers to their presence, obsessively making the hand signal for “shark”, but by the time we got to the bottom they had already surrounded us.
The longer we were in their territory, the closer they dared to come. At one point, one of the larger sharks came straight at me, and all I could do was reach for my husband and have faith that the divemaster hadn’t lied about their friendly nature. He hadn’t. The shark veered away about 5 feet from me, leaving my heart racing, adrenaline pumping through my veins.
What amazed me throughout the hour we were swimming with sharks was how quickly I got used to their presence, and how quickly my fear turned to awe. They are magnificent creatures and I have the utmost respect for them and their crucial role in the marine ecosystem.
Oh yeah, the wine!
All this to say that when I saw Francis Ford Coppola’s 2015 Chardonnay dedicated to Jaws, I decided to buy it and symbolically put to rest the power this movie had over me in my youth.
Francis Ford Coppola winery consistently makes beautiful wines. I first fell in love with their merlot, which is occasionally available in Vintages at the LCBO. I also reviewed their Sofia rosé back in 2016. I generally shy away from California chardonnays because they can be overwhelmingly oaky. However, this is a perfectly balanced chard. Not too much oak, and not too much citrus. With grapes sourced from warmer Sonoma County and cooler Monterrey County, it is a Libra’s dream. On the nose, the initial smell is definitely buttered toast, with a beautiful lineup of peach, lemon and white flower trailing behind. On the palate, zesty citrus and crisp minerality cut right through the tropical fruit and oaky flavours, so each sip keeps you coming back for more.
I may have to buy a few more bottles to ensure I have truly overcome my unfounded fear of sharks…
Francis Ford Coppola’s Jaws 2015 Chardonnay is currently available in limited quantities online and in-store at Vintages for a steal ($19.95). You can check stocks at your closest LCBO by clicking here.