Wines for Watching the Oscars, from the Red Carpet to the After-Party

Tuning in to the Academy Awards? You'll need an appropriate variety of wines on hand. We guide you through bottles specifically tailored to each big moment.
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in the Oscar-nominated La La Land / Photo by Dale Robinette, courtesy Lionsgate

As far as awards ceremonies go, we love the Oscars because it gives us an excuse to dress up and entertain. Here are the wines we recommend spending the evening with, whether you’re just tuning in to see who’s wearing what on the red carpet, watching the entire ceremony, or hosting your own after-party.

The Red Carpet

Toast the pre-ceremony red carpet fashion parade in an appropriate way—with a red wine.

Guigal 2011 Château d’Ampuis (Côte Rôtie); $75, 94 points. The essence of the appellation smokes out from the glass, offering hints of cracked pepper, bacon, clove and leather. It’s reasonably full-bodied for Côte Rôtie, with feral, smoked-meat flavors, ample spice and plenty of the concentrated plummy fruit. Tannins are silky, making this approachable now, but likely capable of aging well for at least 10–15 years. Editors’ Choice. —Joe Czerwinski

Helen Mirren on the red carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards. Although Helen Mirren is not nominated for an Oscar this year, we just think Helen Mirren is amazing / Photo by David Torcivia, flickr
Helen Mirren on the red carpet at the 83rd Academy Awards. Although Helen Mirren is not nominated for an Oscar this year, we just love her and think she is spectacular / Photo by David Torcivia, flickr

Mas d’en Gil 2010 Clos Fontà (Priorat); $60, 93 points. Pure but restrained violet, plum and berry aromas are on the money. This feels racy but also saturated, with kick as well as commendable overall balance. Flavors of plum, ripe tomato, schist and spice finish smooth, peppery, herbal and slightly warm, with a note of coffee. Drink through 2022. —Michael Schachner

Alyris 2014 The Audition Mount George Estate Zinfandel (Napa Valley); $35, 92 points. Peppery, brambly, integrated and balanced, this impressively layered and complex 100% varietal wine highlights the grape’s ability to be fruity, spicy and soft all at the same time. —Virginie Boone

The Monologue

It’s the make-or-break moment for the host, with nowhere to hide during this signature, stand-alone part of the ceremony. And like the host, a single-vineyard wine shines the spotlight on one site with no assistance from anywhere else on the terroir stage.

Cordant 2014 Presqu’ile Vineyard Syrah (Santa Maria Valley); $42, 95 points. Winemaker Tyler Russell sources the fruit for this bottling from an extremely cool-climate vineyard. Tons of fresh-pressed boysenberries meet with wood ash, underripe berries, black olives, rosemary, roasted lamb and Mediterranean spices on the nose. Tart black-plum skin is layered with bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, crushed peppercorn and charred beef on the dynamic palate. —Matt Kettmann

Betz Family 2014 La Côte Patriarche Syrah (Yakima Valley); $60, 94 points. Hailing from the state’s oldest Syrah vineyard, this wine displays aromas of pure blue fruit, assorted herbs and whiffs of smoked meat. The palate is dense and seamless, with fine-grained tannins providing support. Its best days are far in front of it. Best from 2022 to 2030. Cellar Selection. —Sean Sullivan

Quartz Reef 2014 Bendigo Single Vineyard Pinot Noir (Central Otago); $45, 93 points. Owner-winemaker Rudi Bauer believes in making Pinot Noirs that can age, so it’s no surprise that this is darker, firmer and more muscular than most. There’s plenty of toast, cedar and coffee-bean-like oak, but it’s amply supported by plum and black cherry fruit. The finish is silky enough to make this wine approachable now, but it will likely improve through at least 2025. Editors’ Choice. —J.C.

Wine Enthusiast Podcast: Oscar-Worthy Entertaining Tips

The Big Awards

You’ve been waiting all night to find out who won the most prestigious Oscars: Best Actor, Actress, Director and Picture. We love the big reveal, too. Here’s a selection from each of our big lists of the year: a 2016 Top Best Buy, Cellar Selection, as well as a member of the Enthusiast 100 list.

The big award / Photo by David Torcivia, flickr
The big award / Photo by David Torcivia, flickr

The Eyrie Vineyards 2014 Estate Chardonnay (Dundee Hills); $27, 96 points. Even if winemaker Jason Lett tripled the price of this wine, it would still be a standout among its peers. This opens with intense aromatics of pineapple fruit, bracing acidity and compelling length. On the second and third day after opening, it remained quite fresh and expressive, with further details of fruit and mineral beginning to emerge. Drink now through 2035. Cellar Selection. —Paul Gregutt

COS 2014 Pithos Rosso (Vittoria); $30, 95 points. Radiant and earthy, this blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola boasts enticing scents suggesting dark-skinned berry, leather, sunbaked earth, sea breeze and a floral note. The creamy, succulent palate doles out juicy black cherry, black raspberry, white pepper and aromatic herb alongside supple tannins and fresh acidity. A saline note wraps up the finish. Drink 2017–2024. —Kerin O’Keefe

Dry Creek Vineyard 2015 Fumé Blanc (Sonoma County); $14, 90 points. The wine that started it all for the producer, first bottled in 1972, this was 100% stainless-steel fermented and drips in fruity citrus. Lemon pith continues the theme, accented by notes of pineapple salsa and crisp green apple, remaining vibrant and fresh throughout. Best Buy. —V.B.

The After-Party 

You made it through the long ceremony, congratulations. Now slip into some more comfortable shoes and pour yourself something sweet to cap off the evening.

Quinta do Noval 2011 Unfiltered Single Vineyard Late Bottled Vintage (Port); $27, 92 points. Coming from the great 2011 vintage, this is an impressive wine. It is rich, smooth and generous in the mouth. Dark dried fruits and acidity create a wine that is on the dry side of Ports. The tannins and acidity and the fact the wine is unfiltered mean it could age although ready now. Drink until 2030. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.

Thörle 2013 Grains Noble White (Rheinhessen); $37/500ml, 92 points. Whiffs of vanilla, saffron, peach and yellow cherry lend exotic flair to this unctuous yet delicate dessert wine. A blend of Riesling, Scheurebe and Huxelrebe grapes, its unique composition lends plumpness of fruit balanced by zesty acidity and a lingering waxy sheen. It’s sure to be a dramatic finish to an elegant dinner event, yet surprisingly affordable. —Anna Lee C. Iijima 

Cave Spring 2014 Icewine Riesling (Niagara Peninsula); $60/375ml, 91 points. Golden raisins, poached pear, caramel and butterscotch meld together in this low alcohol, intensely flavored icewine. The flavors expand to include candied pineapple, with tremendous viscosity and enough acidity to keep it aloft and penetrating. —P.G.

Published on February 24, 2017
Topics: Academy Award Wines


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