Much has been said about this new wine movie coming out, Bottle Shock, a humorous take on the earth-shattering 1976 Judgement of Paris that launched California into the limelight of the wine world.
Some say it’s good, some not-so-good. Of course, I don’t usually let reviews dictate my preferences, so you KNOW I’m still going to see this. Alan Rickman as a wine snob? Saaaaaaaaaaa-weeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. Bring it. Think the theatre bouncers will notice the pinot I have tucked in my purse?
While I wait with baited breath for Bottle Shock’s release here in Ottawa, allow me to reminisce about some of my other favourite wine and food flicks:
Mondovino – Docu-drama of Old World vs. New World. I quickly grew to loathe the aggressive, money-is-everything attitude of the wine dealer, and pitied the old vignobles who reminisced about the grand days of their winemaking years and lamented the loss of passion in today’s mass production of plonk. Very romantic view of the industry, reinforced by breathtaking cinematography and well-crafted storytelling. Also a good condensed lesson in European wine history.
Ratatouille – That part where Remy tries to explain the concept of taste to his brother, Emile, is the best. The little whirly-gigs and fireworks swirling around his head, brought on by a harmonious pairing of flavours, is the perfect image of what my brain does when I taste something amazing.
Sideways – I'm still on the fence about this one. Miles’ endless wine-speak had me in gales, but I found Jack so disgustingly chauvinistic and hateful I barely made it through the whole film. The saving grace was the scene where Maya and Miles are musing over full glasses about why they love wine. Maya: “I like to think about the life of wine. How it's a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained.” You and me both, sister.
Chocolat – My second favourite thing after wine. How can you not want to indulge in some good 80% cocoa after watching Juliette Binoche create fanciful delights onscreen, all the while coquettishly avoiding the romantic advances of Johnny Depp? The story is sweet but not overly saccharine, and Judi Dench does a bang-up job in the role of the feisty-yet-doting grandmother.
Honourable mentions: Mostly for the bucolic views of vineyards, I give a nod to both A Good Year and A Walk in the Clouds; the latter especially for the midnight battle to save the vines from frost by warming them with giant, dragonfly wings of silk. I have no idea if that sort of technique based in reality, but it’s lovely to watch. Too bad about Keanu Reeves trying to act in it, though. And then there's No Reservations: nothing beats Katherine Zeta-Jones marching out of the kitchen with a bloody steak, slamming it down in front of a persnickety customer and barking, "Rare enough for ya?" Cute but predictable love story. I made Hubby watch it with me; I think he's still trying not to gag.