#Wine Movies

As I surf the wine webpages/blogs etc all over the internets it seems as though most have at one point or another provided a personal ranking of wine related movies.  I like movies as much as I like wine and punk bands so considering there aren’t many wine related punk albums I’m going to give this wine movie idea a shot…..

Below in very particular order (1 being best) are my faves.  It’s a Top Ten list (well, technically 11).  They include fictional drama and documentaries that I have seen (if something is missing I haven’t seen it but would love to know about it if you would be so kind).  I, of course, welcome debate and/or additions to this list.  Talk amongst yourselves….

  1. Sideways     Ok, yeah I know, everybody fawns over this movie and who am I to go against the grain.  In reality I must have watched it half a dozen times and loved it each time.  (Fun fact tho, and I can’t link because I forget where it is but Paul Giamatti apparently had no clue about wines during the filming)
  2. Blood Into Wine     This is a fascinating story of Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan’s vineyard in Arizona.  Yes, Arizona.  The film is quirky and fun and while documenting the journey it doesn’t get too serious.  Honestly I think anyone interested in wine would love this film.  (I haven’t had the wine but really REALLY want to try it)
  3. Sour Grapes     So this is a mind-blowing documentary about the biggest wine sham in history.  Rich people with way too much money and ego get taken by a very knowledgable wine connoisseur who also is a mastermind criminal (see what I did there?  CONnoisseur – yeah, now you do).  The whole story is so bizarre that if it wasn’t an actual documentary you would think it could be made into a theatre-worthy big budget drama (which I wouldn’t rule out once Rudy Kurniawan is released.)
  4. Bottle Shock     Not exactly the best reviewed wine movie in the world, but really fun drama about the Judgement of Paris.  The California vs France wine spectacle and family drama surrounding it makes it a passable couple of hours of tv time.  While it shows the context of the new world vs old world wine battle, apparently the real-life character (Spurrier) that the lead was to portray was not exactly pleased with the job done (played by Alan Rickman).  Regardless, its fun enough for a sunday afternoon on the couch.
  5. Somm and Somm: Into the Bottle     Ok you get a two-for-one here.  Somm is the inside look at a group of wine snobs who have far greater palates than I will ever have and can smell dirt from the South of France in their wines.  The follow-up movie just checks back in on them.  Both are cool and both can be watched with a collection of wines and a bucket.
  6. Barolo Boys     Ok, look, it’s a documentary movie about the explosion of Barolo, with an appropriate hint of controversy.  Barolo.  Guys, just drink the world’s most amazing wine and watch it!
  7. Red Obsession     Documentary on the addition to Bordeaux and the way China has a penchant for buying up as much as can be bought.  Narrated by Russell Crowe (See movie below!)  Great interviews with wine makers and analysis of the future of Bordeaux wines.
  8. A Good Year     A feel good drama I guess, and the only reason it ranks in the top ten is because who in their right mind wouldn’t want to inherit a French vineyard?  It’s got a good story line too with the requisite memory pieces and love interest etc etc.  But it’s essentially about a guy who inherits a vineyard.  Even as basic as that it would be a lovely story.
  9. Mondovino     A really neat documentary on the big guy vs small guy or rather the effect global business models have on the wine industry.  Sure, that sounds dry but it’s not, plus the film has some great visits to amazing wineries, heavily European but still incredible insight.
  10. French Kiss     Ok, I know.  Groan.  #eyeroll  But I had to, honestly, I liked it.  Sure, it’s no documentary lol, and barely really even about wine.  But there is an element of wine crime with the smuggling of a grape-vine.  And then there’s all the other fluff.  But it has an awesome soundtrack and Klein is funny even if fake.

….and while it doesn’t make the list because I haven’t seen it, given the recent surge in Merlot (#merlotme) interest again after Sideways may have inadvertently tried to kill it I would bet that Merlove would make this list but I will have to wait to make an update.

Pure Art #PEC style by Norman Hardie

Norman Hardie.  Honestly that pretty well sums it up.

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I opened his 2012 County Unfiltered Cabernet Franc the other night because, well, it was time, AND it was one of several NH wines I had stored and kept thinking about (read: dreaming about).  Man oh man did it deliver.

Before we talk about the vineyard itself lets talk about this liquid hedonism!

I opened it, and because I’m an impatient idiot, I immediately had a glass.  An admittedly dumb yet necessary educational idea.  It started out edgy and a bit too tart but Holy Mother of God after 30 minutes of breathing it unleashed a whole new world.  I hold great admiration for those who can time a proper decant – my timing was pure luck and I got busy lol.  I should have known better and probably did but, again, refer to idiot statement above.  It grew in flavour but softened in tartness and became this thing of beauty.  Sure, I’m partial to my home province and region but I really had no great love for Cabernet Franc.  That’s not to say I don’t like it, I quite like it but I am more a Pinot Noir devotee (and I have a couple of his in storage waiting for another year or two of depth).  It was a velvety-punchy kind of wine just as it should be, bold and adorably arrogant.  Every bit of pepper and plum hit all the right spots.

The only negative to this wine was that I had only one to open!

As it was unfiltered there was a dusting of sediment which added to the realness of artistry.  Anyway enough fawning about Hardie and his Cabernet Franc, let’s look at the story briefly….

Hardie has been in Prince Edward County since 2003 after essentially travelling the Pinot Noir world as an apprentice and is a certified sommelier.  Basically, he is to Burgundian-style wines what Iggy Pop is to punk.  As I understand it he has around 12,000 Pinot Noir vines, and not to take anything away from the Cabernet Franc but this is where the real gold is found.  His cool climate experience and knowledge has transferred to PEC and has proven itself over and over.  Oh, he also has a wood oven and pizzas onsite, but I’m afraid I don’t order my Pinots at pizzerias any more often than I order my pizza at vineyards (tho in fairness I’m told his pizzas are really good!)

Here is his little corner on the internets…..  www.normanhardie.com