While Palm Springs once again enjoys its 13 day run of The 24th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, where the likes of Richard Gere, Ben Affleck, Naomi Watts, Helen Mirren, as well as a flock of other appearing celebs, we vino literati, too, get to dream out loud with our favorite film and wine pairing schemes that this film fest allows us to imagine. Check out our last review of the Palms Springs Film Fest in 2011.
With more than 475 screenings of 180 films from over 68 countries, this desert’s successful event is further enhanced when we open up our imagined international theatre wine-bar—which, as you’ll notice, is fully stocked! (Film notes quoted herein are provided by psfilmfest.org.)
More movie houses are attempting to increase their business by transforming their snack bar to an open bar. And we are more than happy to put up with those clear plastic cups as long as they make available and keep pouring the good vino. Wine and theatre go back beyond Ancient Greece, and, although wine friendly movie venues are the minority report, that doesn’t stop us from dreaming out loud of a wine we’d like to enjoy for each different film we catch.
The Arts mix well: Art of film, Art of wine—It’s a natural!
As with food & wine pairing, where one teams the different combinations of flavors, densities, touch, and nuance of the meal to the points and counterpoints of a designated wine, movies offer us the same, if not a broader matrix of jump-off points. Film origins, story lines, titles, geography, and even character names can imaginatively take us to a myriad of wines around the world.
Just a couple of years ago, this film fest offered movies with titles like, “Cooking History” and “Mediterranean Food” that screamed out for wine and dispensed easy pairings on a silver screen platter.
This year we may have to be a bit more inventive: There’s “Drought”, a movie from Mexico that deals with drought and its pains in the ranchland—well, it sounds like a tough story line that can use a sturdy red wine to help it along. This is easy enough when using a geography connection—so let’s find some Mexican wine.
Whether you know it or not there are some wonderful Mexican wineries in the Guadalupe Valley that produce some delicious wine. One of the oldest wineries in all of North America is Santo Thomas founded in 1871 and located 28 miles south of Ensenada, in Baja California.
Indeed, I’m proud to know the esteemed wine consultant, Dr. Enrique Ferro, whose father was hired by Santo Thomas winery in 1930 to replant with Italian and French wine grapes and helped to transform the Mexican wine industry. Their Mision 1889 Blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Barbera has been stellar in and out of droughts for the past 75 years! And that’s what we’re having while catching this movie.
Some quick film titles and wine picks:
- “Caesar Must Die”, by the Taviani Bros. whose gave us the beautiful “Night of the Shooting Stars”. I’ll pick an Italian Merlot produced by the Cotarello Bros. and sold as IGT Lazio, made just north of Rome where Brutus did the deed;
- “Dormant Beauty”, “centering on the hot-button issue of euthanasia” it can be matched with either a Vintage Bordeaux or Vintage Port, as both wines need to lay dormant between 12 to 21 years before exuding greatness;
- “More Than Honey”, a German-Austrian production which features “the most spectacular footage of honeybees put on film”. The theatre will sell out when we enjoy a German Eiswein (Ice Wine)—wines from grapes high in sugar and acidity concentrated by being frozen by snow on the vine,or, TBA Eiswein—very rare, very sweet, very expensive wines made from hand-picked grapes that have dessicated on the vine (but for one drop of essence) and snow-frozen for only one night! Honey notes dominate with a plethora of fruit flavors. Spectacular!
As to content connections, no one can imagine any other wine to sip on than a Rosé from Provence when watching the movie “Renoir”. The sun may play games with the wines of Provence, but artists were attracted by the play of sunlight and shadows, colorful flowers and varied landscape. “This French film is a lyrical, visually gorgeous period piece that examines the effect of the teenage model Andrée on the artist and his son.”
Provencial rosés have the flavors of a red and the lightness of a white. Renoir adored the surroundings of Nice, so let’s grab a romantic rosé from Coteaux Varois and flirt back at the movie.
And finally, “The Perverts Guide to Ideology” by director Sophie Fiennes, “it’s the fun philosophy course you wish to have taken in college—loaded with clips from classic films.” It sounds cinematically poetic--a pensive and reflective work of art. The perfect wine: Amarone—always considered a thinking man’s wine. Stemming from the Italian word “amaro” meaning bitter—as life can be at times, this complex delicious red wine is made from very ripe grapes left to dry on indoor wooden racks that result in an intense concentration of flavors of dark fruits, raisins, earth, leather, and dried flowers.
And if you hit this movie right after dining out, you’ll be in great company, for an Amarone is the traditional climax to a Veronese feast! Further—if you bring a case of wine to any of the preview showings, you’ll be the Toast of the Town!
See you at the movies—Cheers!