“Jason Bourne” Meets Riesling on this week’s “Wine & Film, A Perfect Pairing” Podcast

On this week’s “Wine and Film, A Perfect Pairing” Podcast on reVolver Podcasts Gary and I delve into the new “Jason Bourne,” the latest in the “Bourne” series of films, starring Matt Damon, who has 37 lines of dialogue and makes $25 million for the film, so to pair, a wine that says so much without needing to say anything at all, a Riesling.

Just back from the #RieslingRendezvous in Seattle & Woodinville, WA with Chateau Ste. Michelle & Germany’s Dr. Loosen as our hosts, I am completely on board, along with much of the wine loving world, on why everyone is drinking this noble white variety.

A link to the show on reVolver Podcasts here, just click “Episode 6.”  More on the film and the wines below. Cheers!

The Film: Jason Bourne

“Jason Bourne” is a visceral, violent film that says “action” speaks louder than “words.”
A two hour slug and run fest starring Matt Damon (The Martian, Good Will Hunting, The Bourne Identity) as the memory challenged man of few words who spends his time prize fighting in Greece and alluding the federal government.

All of a sudden he’s back on the radar of the FBI chief, played as a death wish curmudgeon by Texas actor Tommy Lee Jones, and assisted by another Oscar-winner, Alicia Verklander (The Danish Girl). If you thought the FBI was corrupt in the previous “Bourne” films, they are on a pure evil pace in this episode.

But this is Damon’s film and character, filled with crew cut rage and a cinematic curse that carries a death wish for any female who gets close. At one point Bourne tears off the handle from a slot machine in Vegas informing the audience that the next person in line is getting “the one armed bandit.” Not much has changed, he’s tough, he knows what he’s doing, and he can barely remember a damn thing.

British Director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, Captain Phillips, United 93) handles the action with shaky cam and a good sense of getting from one place to another quickly before another fight begins. He’s a world class film-maker working with a familiar formula and that’s what keeps his film from reaching the next level.

As a side note, it’s troubling to watch so many law enforcement officers killed randomly in this film, and the last 30 minutes features a massive car crash sequence that feels more squeamish and uncomfortable than thrilling.

“Jason Bourne” is good but never great. Maybe it’s the world in which we live.

glasses riesling
The Wine: Riesling

For anyone who says they won’t drink Riesling because they say it is sweet, is simply missing out on one of the most elegant, interesting and completely delicious wines in the world.Last week we attended the 5th annual Riesling Rendezvous with Riesling producers from all over the world, this year hosted by Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen in Woodinville and Seattle, Washington. An incredible gathering of Riesling producers from all over the world, coming together to learn, discuss and celebrate the joys of this noble white variety.

I heard one great comment throughout the course of the weekend as well, that helped me understand why this beautiful wine has often be so underplayed by so many, we as consumers “talk dry, yet drink sweet,” hence the popularity of things like Coca-Cola, Margaritas and all frozen cocktails, even aged bourbon and scotch have a caramelized orange and toffee characteristic to them. We don’t want a bottle to say it has residual sugar (RS) on it, yet often, are attracted to sweeter, juicier flavors in what we do want to drink, or eat.

The difference though, with Riesling, is that a wine may have a certain percentage of RS, yet it is naturally such a high acid wine that the RS is needed to keep the wine in balance, sometimes to make it even drinkable at all. Some of the varieties of Vinho Verde are similar to Riesling in this, but the Portuguese tame this by adding a bit of effervescence to their wines, and often include a bit of RS. But Riesling is more interesting & complicated, in the best way, than the fun, fresh, inexpensive bottle of Vinho Verde.

Riesling makes you think, which is an element that I just love.

Halibut ceviche with Riesling
Halibut ceviche with Riesling

Rielsing has long been the darling of the wine world, with Sommeliers from every part of the globe pouring both dry and sweet styles with anything from sushi to Thai food, burgers to smoked salmon and aged cheese.  And, if any variety has ever resembled the place it is grown in, Riesling takes on the terroir and the character of the soil types it is grown in potentially better than any other grape. (Pinot Noir may be the most for red varieties.)

Riesling is one of the most aromatic wines, from less ripe aromas of lime and meyer lemon, to very ripe tropical and stone fruit notes of pineapple and apricot, always along with an underlying layer of honey and mineral, which as a wine ages can become a somewhat petrol/gas/lanolin note. The minerality and the earthiness of the wine is truly what sets it apart, as the soils tells the story.

Riesling's perfect pairing
Riesling’s perfect seafood pairing – Pacific Northwest crab, oysters, shrimp & salmon

Some think Riesling is strictly an Old World wine, from countries like Germany, Alsace & Austria, but Canada, New Zealand, US (from Oregon & Washington to New York, Idaho, even Michigan) are producing stellar Riesling. Germany is the top producer in the world, but just behind it is Australia.


Jim Barry Wines
Jim Barry Wines

From limestone soils in the Clare Valley of Australia some of the most bone dry, mineral intense wines are produced with minimal RS – Jim Barry and Pikes are both steely, lime and flower filled, earthy and very dry. From the Western Australia, organic & sustainable Frankland Estate, with somewhat rounder, riper flavors and a delicious approachability.

If you are looking for a dry Riesling from Germany, always look for “Troken” on the label, and those from Ernst Loosen and Robert Weil both stand out as two of Germany’s most elite producers.

Weingut Robert Weil produces vividly intense, distinguished Rieslings from its first-rate vineyard sites in the Rheingau from slate, quartz, sandstone and granite filled soils in terraced, low to high elevation vineyards along the Rhine. Dr. Loosen from the heart of Mosel, with slate filled soils producing lower alcohol wines grown in steep, terraced vineyards producing a fresh, clean wine with white flower and citrus blossom notes.

trisaetum 2And, from the U.S., it was fascinating to see all the stellar wines from states like Michigan and Idaho, but I have long been a fan of the Trisaetum Riesling from Willamette Valley, and Chehalem Rielsing from the region. And, if anyone can truly be credited to helping Americans understand the variety then a tip of the hat will always go to Chateau Ste. Michelle. Their Eroica, crafted together with Ernst Loosen, is one of the finest representations of Riesling in America.

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