Kerstin Rodgers (@MsMarmiteLover)
It’s a staple sentence on dating sites: when asked in the biography section “what do you like to do?” Most people reply “Stay in, watch a DVD and sink a bottle of wine with someone nice”.
Unfortunately, being single means you have to stop doing that for a few nights/months/years in order to go out and find someone that you can stay in with again.
Furthermore, it’s more likely today to be Netflix or something streamed rather than a DVD – but the bottle of vino remains an essential for a decent night in on the sofa.
Here is WineTrust100’s top ten wine films (in no particular order) that is, films where wine itself is the star. We’ve even suggested some recommended wines you can order to go with your viewing.
1) Dean Spanley (2008): A Kiwi/British production starring Sam Neil and Peter O’Toole. The story centres upon the extraordinary effect that the Hungarian Tokaji wine has upon Dean Spanley.
Try drinking WineTrust100’s Hungarian Furmint (2011) at £16 (13.5%), a beautiful example of Tokaji wines. If cooking, I’d suggest a fish curry or perhaps a kiwi dish such as green lipped mussels grilled and topped with blue cheese; both dishes stand up to the sweetness of the Tokaji wine.
2) Silence of the Lambs : Hannibal Lector, who was a bit of a sophisticate for a serial killer, famously matched liver and fava beans with Chianti.
I suggest ordering a Chianti Classico from WineTrust100: Fontodi (2010) at £18 (14%).
3) Notorious (1946): Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman star in this Hitchcock noir-thriller. This was the first post-nuclear film after the Second World War and the plot centres on smuggled uranium. The key scene is set in a wine cellar, where they drink premier cru burgundy, Pommard, grown in the Cote de Beaune.
NB: In Hitchcock’s signature appearance, he downs a glass of champagne.
Champagne is mentioned in so many films as the backdrop to a celebration or a romantic meal. Here are two celebrated examples:
4) Gigi (1958): A charming film set in fin de siecle Paris with a young Leslie Caron; Hermione Gingold as the grandmother that sends her to be trained as a courtesan and an avuncular Maurice Chevalier. The film is directed by Vincente Minelli (husband to Judy Garland and dad to Liza Minelli) and the elaborate sets were designed by royal photographer Cecil Beaton.
This clip is of the song ‘The night they invented champagne’, and I suggest you drink French champagne Gremillet at only £20 (12%).
5) All the James Bonds: 007s Champers of choice is Bollinger.
Clean tasting Ayala Brut Majeur, at £25 (12%), is owned by Bolinger.
6) The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969): Set in a small Piedmontese village in Italy during the Second World War, after the fall of the fascist government of Benito Mussolini, the mayor, played by Anthony Quinn, realises that the occupying Nazis want to grab their wine stocks so the townspeople embark on hiding a million bottles of wine.
An example of a classic and iconic wine, I suggest you order WineTrust100’s smooth rich Barolo from Piedmont G.D. Vajra Barolo ‘Le Albe’ at £30 (14.5%). It’s made from the Nebbiolo grape and is best aired a little before drinking or even decanted. Nick Adams MW suggests pairing this with a wild mushroom risotto.
Enjoy this clip of a key scene where the whole village works all night to hide the wine:
7) California as a state is not only the home of the movie business, Hollywood, but grows and makes some of the best wine in America. I suppose it is natural that Hollywood has made a few movies about the Napa Valley, as it’s only up the road.
• Sideways: Probably the most famous recent film about wine, garlanded with Oscar noms, is Sideways, the film of the novel. Brilliant performances by Thomas Haden-Church, Virginia Madsen and Paul Giametti.
Try a new world Pinot Noir from Chile, Tabali at £9.50 (13.5%).
• Walk in the clouds (1995) was filmed in the Napa Valley, the heart of the Californian wine region. This film starred Keanu Reeves who won the Golden Raspberry award for worst actor of the year. It’s true that the film is mistily romantic – Keanu saves the pregnant unmarried daughter from the wrath of her vineyard owning dad – but it’s undeniably beautiful although melodramatic.
Good one for a soppy night in with a bottle of Californian rosé, an easy drinking Zinfandel Burlesque Rosé (2011) at £7 (10%).
Here’s a clip from the movie.
• Bottle Shock (2008) starring Alan Rickman is on acerbic form in a film depicting the story of when New World wine started to be taken seriously, when Californian chardonnay beat French wine in a competition.
Try this Chilean chardonnay Leyda Reserva (2012) at only £9 (14%) with a tuna fish steak with gratin dauphinois. ‘Pine nuts’ ( see link below ) will also like this film as it stars the actor and all-round-hottie, Chris Pine.
• Another movie with scenes featuring Californian wine is The Parent Trap (1998) in which the dad of one of the twins, played by Dennis Quaid, owns a vineyard.
8) A Good Year (2006) starring Russell Crowe (who probably isn’t at his best in a light comedy role) and the gorgeous Marion Cotillard was set in the Luberon in Provence.
Russell is taking over a vineyard left to him by his uncle. As an aggressive London city trader, he isn’t ready to move to the countryside and plans to sell it. Over the course of the film, he falls in love with the area, the lifestyle and Marion herself.
Watch while drinking a light rosé Chateau Moutete (2013) at £10 (12.5%).
9) Bridget Jones; this film and book series about the perennially single Bridget Jones often mentions Chardonnay, it’s her tipple of choice.
Leyda Reserva Chardonnay (2012) at £9 from Chile (14%):
10) And here’s a few extra wine films,that you may not know about, and are worth checking out:
• From ground to glass (2006): filmmaker and novice wine maker Rob DaFoe documents his wine journey in which he starts up his own vineyard. A dream for many of us I suspect.
• Mondovino (2004), a documentary about the wine world. Amusing and eye opening, exploring the impact of critics such as Robert Parker on the wine world, the big business side of it and the small dedicated family vineyards too.
• Corked (2009) a comedy about the sometimes pretentious world of winemaking.
Can you suggest any films about wine or with wine as a character that you recommend? What was the last film you enjoyed with a bottle of wine?
Let us know in the comments.