This week on our “Wine and Film, A Perfect Pairing” Podcast on reVolver Podcasts, Gary and I pair two highly anticipated movies of the year with two worldly wines. And, for both of us, the wines have proved to be better than the films.
First up, “Allied” starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, and we both truly wanted to love this spy film set in Morocco and London. Sadly, it just didn’t connect. More on Gary’s thoughts on the film below, along with the ideal pairing for the film that begins in dusty North Africa, Domaine Ouled Thaleb from Morocco.
To listen to the show, follow the link here and click “Episode 23.” We’ll have notes on our second film, “Rules Don’t Apply,” up later in the week.
The Film: “Allied”
“Allied” is based on a the true story of two international spies who fall in love during a WWII mission in Casablanca. They get married, move to London and have a child, but there’s a catch. She might be a double agent.
Sounds intriguing, with one problem, the entire films plays like a flat, awkward melodrama.
Marion Cotillard handles most of the dialogue; Brad Pitt seems disconnected, and the film directed by Robert Zemeckis looks great but doesn’t feel authentic.
“Allied” wants to be old fashioned but is surprisingly boring. The final 15 minutes is terrific, but it takes two hours to get there.
The worst scene in “Allied?” Making love in a car in the middle of a life-threatening sand storm…. You’ve got to be kidding?
The Wine: Domaine Ouled Thaleb
Though wine and a Muslim country don’t usually mix, as religious beliefs forbid many Muslims from drinking alcohol. But, the soils in the regions can still be ideal for growing interesting, expressive wines. THe hisotry of wine production in North Africa goes back least 2,500 years. In the first half of the 20th century, when the region was under French rule, that wine production boomed in Morocco. At its peak in the 1950s, the country was producing 300 million liters of wine, powerful stuff known as ‘vins médicins’, medicine wine, used to fortify lower alcohol French wines. After it gained, it’s independence wine production fell off until the early 1990’s.
Today Morocco is one of the largest wine producers in the Muslim world, producing around 35 million bottles each year. Red wine dominates, with the majority being every day, table wine. But thanks to producers like Domaine Ouled Thaleb, the quality of wines in the region is improving, with growers experimenting with varieties that are best suited for the region.
Domaine Ouled Thaleb was established in 1923 and led the renewal of the Moroccan wine industry in the 1990’s. While most of their fruit is Estate grown, with and international, fruit forward style to their wines, often produced from organically grown grapes. Their Medallion wine is a blend of Cab, Merlot and Syrah, grown in sandy, gravel filled soils to create an earthy, crushed stone filled wine with black fruit, dark chocolate and spice, influenced by a year in partially new French oak.