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Wine Review: Movie night? Try pairing with wine

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It is common practice to pair wines with foods, but why stop there? How about pairing wines with movies?

Currently, the older movies are in vogue and, as an old movie buff – my father was a motion picture projectionist who worked one block from home and half a block from school, so you know where I spent my youth – I would like to offer my recommendations of what wine to enjoy while you are watching or rewatching the classic films of moviedom.

In my opinion, the finest version of the overly made and remade Robin Hood story is the 1938 “The Adventures of Robin Hood” starring Errol Flynn. It’s a movie that is best accompanied by a petite sirah. Petite sirah wines are bright, full flavored and as enjoyable and memorable as the movie.

“El Cid,” starring Charlton Heston, is the story of a historic Spanish hero, and therefore a Spanish Rioja red wine is the order of the day. This wine will beautifully accompany that movie.

“Hopscotch,” my favorite movie, is a CIA spoof starring Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson that takes place in modern day Germany and Austria. While the beginning of the film suggests beer, the best variety of wine to see it all the way through would be a riesling. Riesling wines, dry or sweet, are happy and friendly wines. This is a very entertaining film, and riesling wines go hand in hand with the Germanic atmosphere of the movie.

A film series that is so often watched and rewatched are the “Indiana Jones” films. The choice of wine here was a difficult one, and I finally settled on a pinot noir as the perfect accompaniment to the continuous action of the movie. I chose the pinot noir as it is one of the few wines that could stand up to all of the intense excitement of the movie and, like Indy, it does not die by the end of the film.

While on the subject of a series, the “Star Wars” films also call for a red wine, but one that can see into the future. Syrah – or shiraz, they are the same – is one of those wines whose popularity is currently expanding by leaps and bounds and is perfect for accompanying an adventure that takes place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” The choice of a syrah will fit well with the continuous extraterrestrial excitement of this outer space adventure.

Then there is the super-saccharine soaked, multi–Academy Award winning epic of the old South, “Gone With The Wind.” With all of the action and plot twists in this movie, the only wine to accompany it would be vintage port. A vintage port is sweet, multifaceted and if you cannot finish it on movie night, in the words of Scarlet O’Hara, “tomorrow is another day.”

The manic Cary Grant comedy classic “Arsenic and Old Lace” calls for nothing less than elderberry wine, which is a major player in the plot of the film. However, since elderberry wine is not readily available, a gewurztraminer will fill the bill nicely. A gewurztraminer is also a good choice as it will make the scary parts of the movie much more enjoyable, and you also will be able to use it to drink a toast to the late Mr. Spenalzo.

The most obvious choice for the movie “Bottle Shock” must be a chardonnay. This variety is the best to accompany the true story of a California chardonnay that was judged to be the year's finest wine in a French competition over all of the contenders.

In winning this competition, it proved American wines to be the equal to the overly touted, overly expensive French contenders.

These are films and wines that I enjoy, however they may not be your choice. Here is the opportunity for a personal quest to find the right wine to accompany your favorite movies.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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