Kyle McLachlan … pursued by bear

Wine labels often tell unusual stories.

Alas, the bottle is empty

Take, for instance, “… pursued by bear.”  This excellent cabernet sauvignon blend was born out of a partnership between Yakima-born-and-raised actor Kyle McLachlan and Walla Walla winemaker Eric Dunham.  But its name is no doubt an odd one for wine.

Eric Dunham had told me a few weeks ago that he was producing wine for McLachlan, but I had never met the screen actor — perhaps best known for his roles in “Blue Velvet,” “Twin Peaks” and “Sex in the City” — until Friday night.  The pair were in Portland to show off their 2007 vintage during a tasting dinner at The Nines hotel’s Urban Farmer restaurant.

The obvious question: Where in the world did you come up with that name?

Kyle said it has its origin in theater … or, more specifically, in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

McLachlan (Life photo)

In Elizabethan times, he explained, it wasn’t uncommon for theater troupes to keep a collared bear as a mascot.  The company at Stratford’s Globe Theatre was no different.  But some of the Bard’s adulation-loving actors were in no hurry to move off stage when they were getting applause.  “Exit stage left” had minimal effect.  A little additional prompting was required.

That was where the bear came in.  To this day, the direction in Act III, Scene iii, reads: “Exit … pursued by bear.”

“It’s a funny and unexpected phrase that is not only a nod to my theatrical roots, but also plays to my sense of humor,” Kyle said.  “It just seemed to fit what we were trying to do.”

The 51-year-old actor said he wanted to produce a Pacific Northwest wine partly because he loves the reds the region turns out, but also because of his family ties.

“My father is still up in Yakima,” he said.  “Part of this project was about spending more time with him, bringing him to Walla Walla to participate and feel part of this.”

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