Ghostbusters & Domaine Carneros…We’re Pairing New Releases on this week’s Podcast

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.


The Film:”Ghostbusters”
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.

The internet backlash to this project is nothing more than male bullying and the proof is always in the viewing. It’s not the movie of the year, but after the sad week we have had in our city and country I was certainly ready to giggle and laugh for all the right reasons. Enjoy and move on.
Perfect Pairing:
Le Reve dcFor 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.

the infiltrator

Half-way through this smart, intense film I felt like I was watching an extension of last years great drug movie, “Sicario.” Bryan Cranston plays a real life undercover federal agent Robert Mazur in 1986, trying to get close to Columbian drug lord, Pablo Escobar, and his journey is riddled with dangerous chaos.
I loved watching this movie, it’s wonderfully acted and scared me at every turn. Director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer, Runner Runner) chose his cast wisely because Cranston has become one of the finest actors on the planet. Also, look for strong performances by John Leguizamo and Benjamin Bratt in a film that features a knock-out ending that has to be seen to be believed. You can’t make this stuff up.
Merlot vines that make the Valadorna wines
Merlot vines that make the Valadorna wines, photo by Hayley Hamilton Cogill
Perfect Pairing:

valadornaTo 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.

In “Captain Fantastic,” Viggo Mortensen plays a well-meaning father of six, raising his kids off the grid in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, and the results are encouraging. They speak multiple languages, can quote great literature, farm, cook, rock climb, and live a sustainable lifestyle.
Despite their brilliance, they have no filter and no social skills, so when the mother becomes deathly ill in a far away hospital, they are forced as a family to travel and confront modern society.
“Captain Fantastic” asks a lot of the audience to play along and observe what appears to be a slow moving train wreck as a parent and as a father. But director Matt Ross (Silicon Valley)  doesn’t do the obvious.
This is a complicated father and family and the movie plays out it’s odd melancholy in logical ways. I’m a fan of Viggo Mortensen and I could never be this dad in real life, but I do admire him, and he often makes a lot of sense. After all, he loves his children, no matter how miss-guided.
Stoller Vineyards, photo by Hayley Hamilton Cogill
Stoller Vineyards, photo by Hayley Hamilton Cogill
Perfect Pairing:
With a love the earth, Swiss Family Robinson type film, I pair a wine made from organic, biodynamic or sustainably farmed vineyards. So many winemakers are looking to cleaner, greener methods for growing grapes and making wine, from reducing their carbon footprint to adding in solar panels, to actually farming w/o chemicals in the vineyards. It is smart, it is the way of the future, as vintners and winemakers recognize their vineyards are where their workers work, and children play every day. Inhaling harmful pesticides will kill you – it is as bad as working in a coal mine every day – chemicals in your lungs will hurt you, and though many argue it doesn’t, the pesticides will get into the fruit that will be transferred into the product.
It also just makes sense from a flavor profile. If your goal is to make a wine that truly tastes like the terroir, or the land and the soil, why would you ever hurt that by adding in chemicals to kill bacteria or pests, as it will also change the fruit.

stoller pinotSome 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.

A few of the Napa Valley wineries that are Napa Green Certified include Alpha Omega, Cakebread, Cade, Vineyard 29, Merryvale, Silver Oak, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and Newton.

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