As the nights get long and dark, I begin to crave more movie nights and relaxing evenings by the fireplace, don’t you?
One of my favorite movie night themes is a wine tasting paired with a classic wino movie. Below I’ve rounded up 5 fab but really cheesy wino fims complete with wine pairing recommendations – your friends will be totally impressed with your attention to detail with the wine tie-ins. All you need now are a few friends and a cheese plate. Cheers!
When it comes to wino movies, everyone has a favorite – and most people’s favorite is Sideways (including mine). Sideways documents the trials and travails of two 40-something gents who roadtrip through the scenic countryside of Santa Barbara county wine country. There is double dating, tasting room faux pas, expensive wine in styrofoam coffee cups, and more. As far as films go, the overall plot feels a bit cheesy at times, but it’s great for wine night. One of the characters in the film gives Merlot a big thumbs down and Pinot Noir a big thumbs up, which actually led to a shift in wine sales the year this film came out.
Wine Pairing: Drink up the wine featured in this film with a full glass of a Rusack Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir, one of my Santa Barbara area favorites.
A Walk in the Clouds (1995)
A Walk in the Clouds is one of America’s great romantic wine-themed dramas, no doubt because it was based on an equally-great Italian classic (1942, Four Steps in the Clouds). The storyline is about a pair of romancers who are helping with the family vineyard, but there are some secrets they are both hiding. Out of any wine movie, this one features some breathtaking scenery — and before you ask, it was only mildly airbrushed. It’s a reminder that next time you’re in Napa Valley, wander off the beaten path and head up into the hills for some fantastic views.
Wine Pairing: Quite a few Napa and Sonoma valley vineyards were featured in this film; one was Charles Krug, so how about a perfectly-chilled glass of their St. Helena Sauvignon Blanc.
Bottle Shock (2008)
You might not have been at wine-drinking age by then, but back in 1976, a wine competition now called the “Judgement of Paris” became infamous because it was the first time that old world French wine was soundly defeated by new world California wines in a blind taste test. This film chronicles that event, and it is such an interesting perspective on such an important event in wine history. Fun fact: this wine tasting was held again in 2006, and California won again.
Wine Pairing: What a better opportunity than to host a blind tasting party. Do a battle between your favorite California and French wines and see who wins.
A Good Year (2006)
Directed by one of my favorite film personalities, Ridley Scott, A Good Year is for those of you out there who have high hopes of stumbling upon an inheritance of a piece of land in France upon which you can build a winery and retire in relative comfort and happiness. As we all know, this is unlikely to happen, and if it did, said happiness would not come easily. Russell Crowe shows us how it’s done, with everything from falling into a swimming pool (yes, really) to forged real estate contracts.
Wine Pairing: One of the wines from Provence that I enjoy the most is a cold glass of rose – it pairs well with a roaring fireplace or relaxing blanket. Bieler Père et Fils Rose is top-rated every year and an easy win. Bandol is another great Provence wine I love.
French Kiss (1995)
France makes for a great backdrop for any wine-and-movie night, so why not add one more to the list. French Kiss follows the fab Meg Ryan as she gets entangled in a bit of a hot mess of deception as a thief tries to use stolen goods to start his own vineyard. Of course, during the deception, she loses her passport (a nightmare we’ve all feared at one time or another). The vineyard scenes in this film rival those gorgeous backdrops in A Walk in the Clouds, but of course, everything is better in France.
Wine Pairing: The grape harvest scene in this film was shot at Chateau Val Joanis, so ask your local bottle shop to order you a bottle of a Château Val Joanis Côtes du Luberon Réserve les Griottes – one of France’s best Syrah wines.
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