Issue #25 April 2021
Since we’re all hunkered down again for the next few weeks and by now many of us are likely running out of untried jigsaw puzzles and bread recipes, it’s time to resort once again to that old stand-by of pastimes; the movies.
There’s nothing like a good film and of course, a glass of wine to transport one, albeit temporarily to somewhere else. And I can’t think of a more perfect pairing for that glass of wine than a movie about wine!
In this issue we’ll not only get to know three delicious bottles but three terrific wine flicks to go with them. So have a seat around the old, oak tasting table. The popcorn is popping, and so are the corks.
Welcome back to the cellar.
Let’s fill our first glass with a full-bodied, red from the Ribero del Duero region of northern Spain.
Escondido Tempranillo 2017 is rich and elegant with flavours of dark cherries, plums and even seductive suggestions of dark chocolate.
Escondido Tempranillo 2017
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#: 132597
This Tempranillo (known as Spain’s noble grape) is dry and savoury with a wonderful smokiness that lingers until the next sip. And it’s a very tasty wine date to go to the movies with. In particular this intoxicating film from 2012 called, Somm.
Somm is an American documentary that follows the attempts of four wine dedicated candidates to pass the extremely difficult Master Sommelier examination; a pressure-cooker of a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world.
Here’s the trailer.
That clip alone just makes you want to pour another glass of wine. So let’s, dammit!
This next bottle I only recently discovered, thanks to an old friend who let me in on it. Humbly, it sits on the regular listing shelves at the LCBO.
La Petite Hitaire is made in the southwest of France in the region of Gascony. This is the Spanish-influenced land of Armagnac, Foie Gras and the four grapes that make this great find; Ugni blanc, Colombard, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon blanc.
La Petite Hitaire Blanc Cotes Du Gascogne
750 mL bottle LCBO#: 553925
This delicious secret (no longer) is sunny and crystal clear. It has a fresh, zesty aroma like a field of new grass carried on a gentle breeze. It tastes of grapefruit, kiwi and lemon tart with slight effervescence and crisp, refreshing acidity.
La Petite Hitaire is perfect for the coming summer. To heck with that, it’s perfect for sipping right now with this classic wine film; Bottle Shock starring the late, great Alan Rickman.
Bottle Shock is a 2008 American comedy-drama based on the 1976 wine competition referred to as the “Judgment of Paris”, when California wine defeated French wine in a blind taste test.
Rickman plays Steven Spurrier; a British wine expert and merchant who organized the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. In doing so, he unexpectedly elevated the status of California wine and promoted the expansion of wine production in the New World. Quite a guy. Steven Spurrier died a little over a month ago. He was 80.
Here’s the trailer.
Even though France lost the battle in 1976, they didn’t lose the war, as evidenced by the many excellent and iconic wines they produce from some of the greatest wine regions in the world. One of these regions is Burgundy.
I’ve avoided featuring Pinot Noirs from here due to their often rarefied price. But these reds are worth getting to know and I’d like to introduce one to you that while slightly over our $20 threshold, is a very good representative of this great region.
Chanson Reserve du Bastion Bourgogne Pinot Noir comes from the Côte-d’Or region of Burgundy in the northeast of France. The area has a relatively cool climate and soils with a high limestone content.
Chanson Réserve du Bastion Bourgogne Pinot Noir
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#: 50575
The beauty of burgundies is this; more so than any other wines they have aromas and taste qualities that reflect the earth they grow in. Each sip transports you in a way to a gnarled vine on a slope that has been growing there and producing grapes for hundreds of years. Some of the vineyards in Burgundy were planted by Cistercian monks in the middle ages.
This particular burgundy is an elegant garnet colour with flavours of red fruit, minerality and spice. And it’s perfect with vegetable dishes, beef, chicken, or fish.
It can make a great meal even better.
Apart from many different meals, a beautiful film called Grand Cru would also be the ideal accompaniment to this wine.
The film features Pascal Marchand who left Montreal at 21 to work the harvest in Burgundy. He settled there and began a journey to winemaking stardom. Now, 30 years later, he is renowned and regarded as a winemaking innovator.
The film is shot over his most difficult year ever; the catastrophic 2016 season which saw devastating frosts, hail and disease in the vineyards. It leaves you with great respect for the winemakers there, so dedicated to their craft and to working with Pinot Noir; the most finicky of grapes that struggle each year to ripen in cool conditions but somehow when they do, provide the juice of greatness.
Here’s the trailer.
I think I’ve probably said enough for this month (maybe enough for a couple of months). So, we’ll wrap things up for now. Thanks for visiting the cellar once again.
I look forward to seeing you in May. Your seat awaits.
Until then, keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer.
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If you’re enjoying my wine meanderings, I’m really glad. And please let me know your thoughts or tell me about any great wine you’ve discovered. email@example.com