Some Things Just Go Together—Hand and Glove, Salt and Pepper … Wine and a Movie

Some Things Just Go Together—Hand and Glove, Salt and Pepper … Wine and a Movie

So, the groundhog saw his shadow a while back, and you know what that meant: Six more weeks of winter! While we here in the ’Burg don’t get the hellacious nor’easters they get up north, we do get sick and tired of the cold and the snow. So, we hunker down at home and turn on the tube or fire up our computer. I don’t know about you, but for me, network TV is slim pickins for something to watch. I like a good move—whether it’s classic oldy, or a current hit. (Isn’t it great that we can stream new releases so soon after they’re in the theaters?) Give me a good flick, a comfy seat, and … a bottle of wine.

My new thing is watching movies that involve wine in the plot somehow. With all the streaming platforms out there, all you need is a smart TV or any way to connect to the internet, and you’ll find these, and many others. For your viewing enjoyment, I offer here three that I’ve watched (in no particular order):

Take 2004’s “Sideways.” In it two men—Miles Raymond and Jack Cole—reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment, embark on a week-long road trip through California’s wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle.

During the film, Miles speaks fondly of the red wine varietal pinot noir, while denigrating merlot. After the film’s U.S. release in October 2004, merlot sales dropped two percent, while pinot noir sales increased 16 percent in the Western United States. A similar trend occurred in British wine outlets. But the film’s main effect on the U.S. wine industry was a rise in the sales volume and price of pinot noir and in overall wine consumption. This trend led large winemakers to grow pinot noir grapes in low-quality land and blend those grapes with the grapes grown in high-quality areas just to meet demand, ultimately leading to worse pinot noir wines.

 Grab up a bottle of 2016 Chateau St Thomas Pinot Noir from Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, boot up your streaming device, and do a search for “Sideways.” This pinot noir is sure to showcase the beauty of the wine! And if you want the perfect snack to go with the wine, I think you should spend a little time making some stuffed mushrooms, then curl up and have a nice, warm evening at home.

Another movie you may want to stream is “Terroir,” from 2014. Wealthy wine maker Jonathan Bragg hires Tuscan wine detective Victor Borgo to find the source of a mysterious bottle of wine, the “Oroboros.” As Borgo follows the twisted, perilous trail, he descends deeper into an arcane Tuscan underworld, encountering an earth-worshiping wine cult and the dark side of human nature. 

Jopson's screenplay brings Poe's short story “The Cask of Amontillado” into contemporary times and sets it the underworld of the Tuscan wine business. With references to Brunellopoli, the great Italian wine scandal of 2008, and with cameo appearances from real-world winemakers such as Salvatore Ferragamo and Luca Sanjust, the film brings a level of authenticity when it comes to the wine business.

In a nod to Poe's short story, in addition to the wine theme, “Terroir” features Masonic references and symbols as well as a terrifying scene in a wine cellar. The story, set in an unnamed Italian city at carnival time in an unspecified year, is about a man taking fatal revenge on a friend who, he believes, has insulted him. We suggest grabbing up a bottle of 2017 Montemorli Chianti Riserva DOCG from Tuscany, Italy for this movie and pair it with some pecorino cheese and salami.

“Terroir” takes its name from the wine industry term “terroir,” which indicates that the natural environment in which a particular wine is produced—including factors such as soil, topography, and climate—affects the outcome, and thus the taste and character of wine.

One more suggestion I would make for your streaming pleasure is “A Walk in the Clouds.” This 1995 romantic drama is regarded by some as one of the best wine movies ever made.

“A Walk in the Clouds” is set in Napa Valley, California, shortly after the end of World War II. It sees soldier Paul Sutton return home to his wife, Betty, as he tries to forget the horrors of war. But his marriage to Betty becomes increasingly strained. So, where does the wine come in? Well, with his marriage collapsing, Paul heads off to Sacramento, in search of work, only to meet Victoria, a graduate student whose family owns a vineyard in Napa County. Learning that Victoria is pregnant by her university professor, Paul offers to pose as her husband to stave off her domineering, old-world father’s anger.

I won’t spoil the rest of A Walk in the Clouds too much, but suffice to say, if you like love stories, family drama and the beautiful Napa Valley, this is the film for you to enjoy a bottle with. For this one grab a bottle of 2019 Precision Wine Co Octopoda Wines Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, California and a nice charcuterie board.

These are just three of the many movies that involve wine. Do an internet search and you’ll find more, then search City Vino’s shelves for the perfect with to pair with your movie-of-choice.



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