Classic Wine and Film Pairings
Whether producing a wine or a film, both require a visionary leader, creativity, technical know-how and a boatload of money. But the most profound link between the two art forms is how one sip or a single scene can whisk your senses away to a wholly different time and place. That’s powerful stuff. Welcome to our celebration of one of life’s greatest pairings.
Essence: Uniquely American style that started modest and maligned, but spread globally; usually a singular hero conquering harshness from both enemies and nature; very accessible, but with complexity underneath.
Watch: Stagecoach (1939); High Noon (1952); The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966); McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971); Unforgiven (1992)
The Wine: California Zinfandel
Essence: As big, rugged, boozy and all-American as John Wayne. Zinfandel, a domestic expression of the Primitivo grape, has the spice and grit of a good Western. With their great power and complexity, these pours have earned a place on the world wine stage.
Drink: A. Rafanelli 2012 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley)
Essence: Fun and juicy; seek to enhance feelings of affection and compassion; lighthearted, captivating tales of personal relationships; happy endings guaranteed.
Watch: The Seven Year Itch (1955); When Harry Met Sally (1989); Groundhog Day (1993); Notting Hill (1999); Enough Said (2013)
The Wine: Cru Beaujolais
Essence: Juicy-fruity Beaujolais goes down easy, but don’t mistake it for shallow. Wines made in the Cru regions can show serious complexity, and Moulin-à-Vent, in particular, is as enduring as Sleepless in Seattle.
Drink: Château des Jacques 2012 Moulin-à-Vent
Essence: Usually set in the future or in fantasy environments that defy conventional science; use inexplicable phenomena to plumb psychological depths; many have proven prescient.
Watch: La Jetée (1962); 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); Blade Runner (1982); Children of Men (2006); Under the Skin (2013)
The Wine: Biodynamic South African Sauvignon Blanc
Essence: Conventional science may have a hard time explaining the holistic, astro-spiritual tenets of biodynamic farming, but the often-delicious wines have won generations of fans, and turned skeptics into believers.
Essence: Meaty, exciting, tough but crowd-pleasing; has complex twists, big climaxes and often extravagant production; impact can be psychological or pure adrenaline
Watch: The French Connection (1971); Die Hard (1988); Cape Fear (1991); The Silence of the Lambs (1991; Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
The Wine: Côte-Rôtie
Essence: The precipitous slopes of Côte-Rôtie make for some of the wine world’s most dangerous harvests. The wines—spicy and meaty, often with smoke, leather and a backbone of iron—seem to capture that thrill in a glass.
Essence: Personal expressions not made for mass appeal; underdogs who achieve major impact with modest means; fresh and unexpected creations often made from deep-rooted elements
Watch: Stranger Than Paradise (1984); Happiness (1998); Being John Malkovich (1999); Lost in Translation (2003); Before Sunset (2004)
The Wine Style: Austrian Blaufränkisch
Essence: Individuality is a hallmark of tannic, spicy Blaufränkisch and other decidedly non-mainstream wines of Austria. Like Wes Anderson and the Coen brothers, independent estate-owned producers like Heinrich have retained their distinct character even as their popularity has taken off.
Essence: Stylized and sexy, tense and melodramatic; characters acerbic and usually smoking; once considered old-fashioned, its sexy iconic examples are influential classics.
Watch: The Big Sleep (1946); The Third Man (1949); Kiss Me Deadly (1955); Blood Simple (1984); Mulholland Drive (2001)
The Wine: Aged Barolo
Essence: With its classic nose of tar, dried roses and a whiff of tobacco—and a garnet color fading to sepia with each passing year—aged Barolo exudes drama and elegance.
- 1The Genre: Western
- 2The Genre: Romantic Comedy
- 3The Genre: Science Fiction
- 4The Film Genre: Thriller
- 5The Film Genre: Indie
- 6The Genre: Film Noir