Three films opened this week including “Ghostbusters,” “The Inflitrator,” and “Captain Fantastic” so Gary and I headed back into the studio to tape this week’s “Wine & Film, A Perfect Pairing” podcast on reVolver Podcasts.
A link to the show is here, just click “Episode 4,” and below is a little bit more on each film and what we think would be the perfect pairing.
I went in with low expectations and for the first hour laughed a lot. Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) has created a disposable comedy reboot that proves women given the same set of outrageous circumstances can be funny. All four ladies have their moments and look for surprise cameos by some familiar vintage faces.
For a film about the afterlife, a wine that often sends me to heaven, a traditional method sparkler from Domaine Carneros is California. And to pair with this female dominant cast, one produced by one of my favorite female winemakers, Eileen Crane, the Doyenne of sparkling wine in California. Each vintage sparkler is produced from sustainably grown vines in the Carneros region. All aged on the yeasts in bottle with varying levels of dosage, or sugar, to create incredible, food friendly wines for every day or special occasions.
Le Reve Blanc de Blanc 100% Chardonnay from our winery’s finest Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. French for “the dream,” Le Rêve is crafted from some of the best vines of their 100% estate-grown fruit. With just 12% alcohol, and a textured, well rounded palate, this is an ideal food wine for any occasion.My favorite though, is the Domaine Carneros Extra Brut, low dosage, very, very dry sparkler with racy acidity and layers of tropical fruit are accented by lemon curd and a note of toasted brioche and a creamy, inviting palate. Both are available through the winery website.
To pair with a film that has some twists and turns, you don’t really know what to expect and then you are quite surprised, I am going to say a high quality Merlot will fit the bill. I was just with Winemaker Pierre Seillan, last week in Tuscany, Italy visiting the vineyards of Arcanum and Valadorna that specialize in his beloved Cabernet Franc and Merlot varieties. The French winemaker, who has spent over 30 years producing wine, first in Loire and then Bordeaux, as well as Sonoma now with Verite and Italy with Valadorna and Arcanum, all a part of the Spire Collection of wines within the Jackson Family Wines portfolio, has a passion of these Right Bank Bordeaux varieties because of their subtle nuances and age-worthiness.
Cabernet Sauvignon is big and showy, often very fruity and intense, upon release, but Merlot is softer, more subtle, the wine in the blend that gives finesse, which makes people often brush it off as somewhat inferior. However, Merlot is actually the sleeper in the bunch, that when allowed the time to age properly, will reveal nuances and flavors that are unexpected, and delicious.
If you think of some of the greatest wines in the world from clay and limestone filled vineyards to the right of the Gironde in regions like St. Emilion and Pomerol, Cheval Blanc, Le Pin, Angelus, Figac and Seillan’s Chateau Lassegue w/ a Merlot and Cab Franc dominant blend. Look for cool vintages in particular as these are earthier with layers of dark berry and plum melding with forest floor and woody herbal notes. Valdorna is similar, as it comes from some of the coolest parts of the Tuscany estate vineyards near the village of San Gusme, with clay filled soils surrounded by forests to protect the vines from harmful wind, and harsh afternoon sun. Valadorna is available via the winery website.
Some great sustainably farmed producers we love include Stoller in Willamette Valley with their incredible Pinot and Chardonnay, Domaine Carneros Sparkling Wine, Hope Family Wine in Paso Robles that are SIP certified, Leon Barral from 100+ year old Grenache vines in the Languedoc, France, Sigalas Assyrtico from Santorini, and my favorite Rose, Domaine Ott.
Not long ago Napa Valley created their “Napa Green” certification program to focus on clean farming in the region. A glass of Napa Green wine is a reflection of the people, energy, climate and ecology of the Napa Valley. From the bluebirds and ladybugs that help keep a vineyard in balance to winery recycling efforts, both with water and materials, the use of solar energy, and general reduction of a winery’s carbon footprint, each glass of Napa Green wine represents the intention and commitment to land stewardship and consistent quality that the Napa Valley is known for.