On this week’s “Wine & Film, A Perfect Pairing” Podcast on reVolver Podcasts Gary and I join in a lively discussion of a few new films out this week, and pair some Old World and New World wines with them, specifically wines that are a part of the “Grandes Pagos de Espana” collection, or The Great Estates of Spain and some New World finds from a recent trip to Walla Walla, WA traveling as a guest of the Walla Walla Wine Alliance.
Check out our podcast here to hear the show, and click “Episode 5.”
A little more on what Gary thought of Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society” and my pairings with wines from Spain below.
Our next post will include a little bit more on Gary’s thoughts of “Star Trek” and their Walla Walla pairings. Cheers!
The Film: “Cafe Society”
Separating the artists form the art can be tricky and that’s always the case with the now 80 year old Oscar-winning writer/director, Woody Allen. His latest is a 1930’s melancholy tale of love between a young Bronx idealist played neurotically well by Jessie Eisenberg, and a beautiful Hollywood executive assistant, played by Kristen Stewart.
Both work for a name dropping Agent/Mogul played by, Steve Carrell, and things become instantly complicated when Stewart falls for her co-worker while at the same time serves as mistress to her boss. Young love, Hollywood parties, adulterous affairs, swimming pools, movie stars, and that’s just the first half of Allen’s beautifully photographed valentine.
The second half takes place in an upscale nightclub back in the Bronx, managed by Eisenberg and far apart from the young Stewart who broke his heart. There he meets Blake Lively and the witty, romantic scene where they first meet and stay out all night offers the films best moments.
Allen narrates his own film and it’s a bit unnerving as an audience member to finally admit one of the greatest film makers of our time is starting to sound his age.
“Cafe Society” is Woody Allen’s 47th film and rests comfortably in the upper middle of his cinematic register, but not nearly as enlightened or as entertaining as, “Midnight In Paris.
The bar has always been high for the complicated Allen, even at the seasoned age of 80. I smiled a lot watching, “Cafe Society,” even if it was through a filter of sadness.
It’s a good film.
“Grandes Pagos de España,” or “Great Estates of Spain,” is an esteemed wine-growing association that promotes the culture of estate-grown wines from exceptional estates. The wines produced are from Spaniards who truly respect their land and their vines, and who are committed to offering only the best from their vineyards. Over the years the organization has developed to currently include a membership of 28 wineries throughout the country that have reached a level of distinction for producing high quality, estate-grown wines from their respective D.O.
In the Toro region, north of Madrid, Numanthia & Termanthia with 100+ year old Tinta da Toro vines planted in vineyards that are pure rock. It is always amazing to me when I visit vineyards like these, as over 100 years ago, without modern conveniences and technology, someone planted vines there. But the rocks keep roots cool during blistering hot days, capturing coolness and deflect heat. And, rocks add layers of mineralic flavors to earthy, robust wines, making them thought provokin, concentrated and simply delicious.
The Bodegas Mauro includes over 150 acres of vineyards that range in age from 5 to 100 years old, however their history dates back to the 1500’s when the vineyards were exempt from taxes from the crown because of their superior quality. The wines tell the story of the land, with a minimalist, hands off approach, hearty wines from Tinto Fino and Syrah are fresh, with balanced acidity and intense, earthy flavors.
A few years ago I had a chance to travel to another of the Grandes Pagos de Espana wineries, Vinas del Vero’s Secastilla, in the north-eastern part of Spain in Sonomtano has 100+ year old Garnacha bush vines producing highly concentrated wine from tiny berries. I did a truffle hunt around this vineyard in previous years, and enjoyed forest floor filled wine with earthy black winter truffles. An amazing experience, the name is a a contraction derived from the seven castles that dominated the entire territory in the past & defended it from invasions. Vineyards sit at 2100 feet above sea level, creating great acidity thanks to cool nights at high elevations creating freshness & vibrancy in very hearty, dense and concentrated wines.