While Palm Springs once again enjoys its 12 day run of THE 22nd Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, where the likes of Michael Douglas, Natalie Portman, Ben Affleck, as well as a flock of other celebrities that have appeared, we vino cognoscenti, too, get to dream out loud of our favorite film and wine pairing schemes that this film fest allowed us to imagine.
As a reminder and/or a quick introduction as to how film wine pairings are conjured up, please check out my two previous articles, “Wine Cuddling at the Movies—Film and Wine Pairings”, Part I & Part ll.
As you can tell, we had a fun time matching our favorite wines to the film entries at our imagined international theater wine-bar—which, as you noticed, was fully stocked!
It’s interesting that you readers are rather concerned that the film entries this year do not seem to lend themselves to decent wine matches as did so many of the movies last year. True—we had titles such as “Cooking History” and “Mediterranean Food” that almost demanded at least a few glasses. This year the complaint is that the films seem less gregarious and more introspective—and violent!
Well, if you are strictly going with film titles as jump-off points, things are a little scarce. There is the Spanish film entry, “Black Bread”, in which case one could retrieve the world famous “Black Wine” from Cahors, which is traditionally held to be the “birthplace of Malbec”. This vin noir, back in the day, was extremely dark due to its rustic vinification. You’ll get close to it with a 2007 Le Petite Clos from Clos Triguedina, which is brimming with black fruit and an extraordinary velvety finish, and it’s from one of the most respected wineries in the Southwest of France, just north of Spain. Hey! I’d be happy just to sneak in a good bottle of Malbec from Argentina—which has become the new “go-to” area for that grape.
With the lack of wine related film titles to play with, we can always go with geography and simply enjoy a French or Italian wine with a French or Italian movie. And this is a good thing for a change of pace from the usual California wine we’re quaffing.
For instance, a wonderful wine that was quite popular a couple of decades ago that should well be on the come-back trail is Pouilly-Fuissé. It’s simply a Chardonnay from the Burgundy area of France. You’ll remember this name for so many cat lovers couldn’t wait to tell the waiter that they wanted to order that “fussy pussy” wine. With all the political correctness going on, I don’t think people like to hear that their cat is fussy; rather that their cat has discriminating tastes. So not to offend, we must pronounce the wine correctly: POO-YEE—FWEE-SAY. The best Pouilly-Fuissé has flavors of grilled almonds, nut, white flowers and is full to the point of richness and capable of sumptuous succulence with time.
So grab that French Chardonnay and enjoy two French films that appear to have an interesting story line. See Mammuth, with Gerald Depardieu in a tour-de-force performance as a retiree taking an old motorcycle on the road—it’s offbeat, affectionate, and funny, and, the other one to catch is titled,The Names of Love, “where a young extrovert French girl lives by the classic motto: Make love, not war. In order to convert them to her cause, she sleeps with her political enemies—which means a lot of men, because every conservative is her enemy.” As one can see here, she does not appear to be fussy at all.
An Italian entry, The Four Times, is an 88 minute “gentle observational parable” depleat of plot, action, or narrative that leads the viewers through windows, fields, and seasons, “into the quiet state of wonder at the simple beauty of the cycle of life.” This sounds cinematically poetic, a pensive and reflective work of art. I’ve got the perfect Italian wine: Amarone. This has always been considered the thinking man’s wine—contemplative. Stemming from the Italian word “amaro” meaning bitter—as life can be at times, this complex delicious red wine is made from very ripe grapes left to dry on indoor wooden racks that result in an intense concentration of flavors of dark fruits, raisins, earth, leather, and dried flowers.
And if you hit this movie right after dining out, you’ll be in great company, for an Amarone is the traditional climax to a Veronese feast.
Finally, there’s the Finnish film, Stream of Life, where the film crew gets naked and joins a diverse range of men “who bare their hearts, souls, and bodies as they steam in various saunas throughout their country.” I bet you’ve got that perfect bottle of wine waiting for a reason to be uncorked! However, if this is still not the time or place to do so, then why don’t you join me after the show at one of my favorite wine bars in Palm Springs: The Naked Grape. Owner, Larry Bitonti, offers a star-studded array of wines by the glass, bottle, or case.
Believe me, if you bring in a case of wine to any of the more than 70 film preview showings, you’ll be the Toast of the Town! See you at the movies!