Cinematic wine

Cinematic wine

by Westgarth Wines May 18, 2023

When wine takes a star turn in a movie, what does it mean? James Bond had a longstanding relationship with Champagne and Martinis – what a character drinks says a lot about who they are. On the flip side, movies can make an impact on the wine world. What “Sideways” did for Pinot Noir, and what it did to Merlot, is undeniable.

Champagne Charm

Champagne is a classic choice for film – after all, it looks good, it tastes good, and it is filled with symbolism. Opening a bottle is used for celebrating everything from nuptials to promotions to sports victories. And art imitates life; popping a cork (and possibly even spraying some fizz) is exciting to see on-screen. When not opened for any special occasion, it also connotes a level of wealth and sophistication – why, Bond could have it for breakfast if he so desired. Dom Perignon has appeared in many of 007’s capers: “Dr. No,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice” (which he accepted only “If you insist”) “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “The Man With the Golden Gun,” and “The Spy Who Loved Me.” But from 1979 on he became a Bollinger man – perhaps maturity made him prefer its more robust style? Either way, from “Moonraker” onwards, keep your eyes peeled for Bollinger!

Bordeaux Brilliance

Bordeaux has long been making a good showing in film. Château Margaux has been spotted everywhere from “Thank You for Smoking”' to “Sherlock Holmes” to “Batman vs Superman.” And if it’s good enough for Batman then it’s more than good for the rest of us. Château Latour had an animated moment in “Ratatouille” (one of the best films ever) and Château Lafite Rothschild has cameos in “Eating Raoul” and “The Year of the Tiger.”

As for the Right Bank, no one can forget Miles in “Sideways” pairing his prized bottle of Château Cheval Blanc with diner food. If more people had realized Cheval Blanc was blended to accentuate Merlot, maybe the varietal might not have been so readily abandoned thanks to the infamous “I’m not drinking any F#@*ing Merlot” line. That’s the power of cinema!

Sideways Stars

Granted, “Sideways” presented a fine line-up of quality wines and got a lot of people jazzed for Pinot Noir – was it the Dominique Laurent Pommard or Sea Smoke Cellars Botella Pinot Noir that did it? Or perhaps it was the Kistler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, made in a cool growing region by true artisans of Pinot Noir. You make the call. Other famous wines from the film include a 1995 Opus One and the Sanford Winery Vin Gris.

Comedic Relief

One wine stands out for its repeated appearance in a number of comedies, especially of the Rom-Com variety. Clos du Val has appeared in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Knocked Up,” “Superbad,” and “Sex in the City.” It also takes a dramatic turn in “21 Grams.”

Psychopaths have Good Taste?

They aren’t all French wines or Californian wines, of course – there was Hannibal Lecter’s penchant for Chianti in “Silence of the Lambs,” although in the book it was actually Amarone. In the follow-up, “Hannibal,” a bottle of Alsatian Riesling, Clos St. Hune makes an appearance. While his taste in food is questionable, he does know his way around good wine!







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