Wine and the movies – it’s a natural pairing! The bottles make great props and help set the tone for a scene. Some examples may be surprising, but others just seem so natural. For example, I have compiled such a great list of Bond wine references, Bond, James Bond, that I’m putting that list together next, but for now I’m just listing a few of my favorite cinema moments.
Coming in at number five is the great Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. In one particularly intimate moment during the seduction of Agent Starling, Hannibal shares one of his trademark food and wine pairings:
"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."
While making an impact, that sounds like an awful match to me! Find out Hannibal’s preferred pairing for liver and fava beans inside. The truth is Thomas Harris’ original line, in the book Silence of the Lambs paired the liver with the richer and much more assertively flavored Amarone – a pairing I can see working nicely.
So what are some other great Wine in Cinema moments?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
Coming in at number four would have to be that unforgettable moment in The Jerk when newly-wealthy Navin R. Johnson ups the ante and moves onto bigger and better bottles, and let me tell you, this wine ain’t no slouch!
Waiter: Would monsieur care for another bottle of Chateau Latour?
Navin: Ah yes, but no more 1966. Let’s splurge! Bring us some fresh wine! The freshest you've got - this year! No more of this old stuff.
At number three there’s that all-time classic food and wine pairing from the wine (and vodka) producing Actor Dan Aykroyd in his incarnation as Jake Blues in the movie The Blues Brothers. Recently released from Joliet Prison, Jake and Elwood set off to reassemble the band, man! One stop calls for a little snacking: Shrimp cocktail and Champagne, as it were. As a bonus - Peewee Herman plays the waiter!
Jake: Give us a bottle of your finest Champagne, five shrimp cocktails, and some bread for my brother.
PeeWee: We have a Dom Perignon '71 at 120 dollars.
Jake: That'll be fine, pal.
Hell, yes, that would be fine! And at that price, bring me another, please. And while you’re at it, maybe a paper cup, since that’s what everyone remembers from the movie Sideways. Well, the main reason everyone remembers the next scene is primarily because it was expertly set up when Miles uttered those famous words, “We’re not drinking any f%^&*ng Merlot!” The inside joke (and moment number two), of course, is that his most prized bottle featured a good dollop of Merlot!
Maya: Seriously, the '61 Cheval Blanc is peaking... it might be too late already. What are you waiting for?
Miles: I don't know, a special occasion. With the right person.
Maya: The day you open a '61 Cheval Blanc, that's the special occasion.
And my number one wine moment in cinema? Oddly enough, it involves another 1961. Not only were the wine references in Ratatouille spot-on, but the entire movie brought back vivid memories of my many years in the kitchen. Plus, it was all presented with remarkably witty dialogue. Some of my favorite lines of all time come from this movie, and Skinner delivered a doozy as he tried to get Linguini drunk. I love this scene!
Skinner: Toasting your success, eh, Linguini? Good for you.
Linguini: Oh, I just took it to be polite. I don't really drink, you know.
Skinner: Of course you don't. I wouldn't either if I was drinking that. But you would have to be an idiot of elephantine proportions not to appreciate this '61 Château Latour, and you, Monsieur Linguini, are no idiot. Let us toast your non-idiocy!
So, there’s more to come, from Bond movies to TV scenes, so stay tuned!