A long car journey combined with a radio feature on the Oscars got me thinking of wine moments in movies. Am I the only wine nerd who squints sideways to read a wine label when it is being poured in a movie? I hope not. Think Casablanca and a 1926 Veuve Clicquot champagne. Apart from these neck-creaking moments, there are a host of other great wine moments…
The stand-out line for me is from one of my all-time favourite films, the chilling Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal Lecter gives inimitable food and wine matching tips – “A census taker tried to test me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” Appararently, in the book it was Amarone, but I guess they figured Chianti might have more appeal for the film. I wish they had done the same for the fava beans – it took me years to figure out what kind of beans they were (this was pre-Jamie Oliver!).
I love the cachet of James Bond wine moments, most especially in the era before product placement became the norm. In Dr. No, an awkward moment between 007 and the bad doctor has Dr. No claiming it would be a pity to use a 1955 Dom Perignon as a weapon. Sean Connery, the smoothest of all Bonds, diffuses the claim by saying “I prefer the 1953 myself.”
Then there are romantic movies – French Kiss sees Meg Ryan being given wine tasting lessons by Kevin Kline, who uses a wine sampling aroma kit to describe wines (guess what happens next!). Slightly more cheesy (watch with your mother) films might include A Good Year, with Russell Crowe rediscovering life’s priorities on the back of an unexpected vineyard inheritance in the south of France. Films to avoid with a parent include Sideways (although I know of one Dublin shop manager who went to see this with her father). This film is accredited with creating the ‘Sideways’ phenomenon in the wine trade, such was its popularity, whereby Pinot Noir enjoyed an unprecedented surge in popularity, at Merlot’s expense. A film to watch while in the joys of young love might be A Walk in the Clouds, with Keanu Reaves (think Beerenauslese, without the acidity – sickeningly sweet). Even Trekkies have their wine moment – Captain Picard had a Chateau Picard wine, in Star Trek:Nemesis (oustanding vintage, the 2267!)
What I love about wine and films is the cachet and romance of it all, especially in recent times, as a way to transport ourselves away from the norm. Like a good film, a good wine should be make a good impression, make you think about the effort that went into making it, reveal some of the personality of the people involved, and leave lasting positive memories. Maybe I am having a Gwyneth moment, getting a bit carried away… Anyway, here’s looking at you kid!
© Maureen O’Hara, Premier Wine Training, 2011