It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The bakers are baking, the gift wrappers wrapping, and the families and friends are gathering. Everyone is busy with holiday plans and knocking out their end of year work goals. We are now counting down in the single digits to Christmas, and there is a lot happening.All the more reason to optimize the quiet moments for maximum relaxation and enjoyment. For when you foresee (or even need to plan for) your evening ending up with a movie night on the couch with a bottle of wine, here’s our recommended shopping list to pair with some of our favorite holiday movie choices: Elf For this delightful Christmas tale full of cheer and singing loud for all to hear, I suggest you pick up an Ice Wine - extra points if you find one from New York state! While I’m not sure if Buddy would want to put this in his coffee, this wine would surely align pretty closely to the 4th elvish food group: syrup. But this syrup is for adults only, and it is as sweet as Buddy the Elf himself. For those with less of a sweet tooth, seek out a prosecco - The big, clean bubbles mirror Buddy’s pure, effervescent personality.For max enjoyment, pair with a treat from one of the other main elvish food groups: candy, candy canes, or candy corns.The Nutcracker Ballet The Nutcracker ballet, along with The Christmas Carol, are the holiday performances you and your family are apt to make the special trip out to the theatre for. However, if you can’t make the trek out, just tune into Netflix for a performance narrated by Kevin Kline and featuring a young MaCaulay Culkin.For this classic, first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 18, 1892, I have to recommend another classic - Champagne. Of course, such a prestigious wine region usually comes at a price point that may-or-may not fit the everyday budget. In that case, why not try a traditional method sparkling wine from Moldova? They share history with The Nutcracker’s homeland, and you can find a decade-old Grand Vintage for only $20. For max enjoyment, have sugar plums and chocolate on-hand. It’s a Wonderful LifeThis beautiful Frank Capra exemplar was the Christmas tradition in my house growing up, and I appreciate it more-and-more the older I get. For this, I’d like to pair with a ruby port (tawny if you prefer). Port is refined and elegant, and simultaneously comforting, and you’ll certainly need some comfort as you progress through George Bailey’s Christmas crisis and revelation. The ending is sweet and triumphant, just like the finish of your port. For max enjoyment, have tissues and dark chocolate handy, and watch on Christmas Eve. A Christmas StoryFor this all-American, Cleveland classic, I’d pick up a US-produced rosé. I’m a huge proponent of enjoying rosé all year long, so wine not? It’s the pink bunny of the wine world (but one you’re actually happy about)! Plus, rosés are best in their youth, much like Ralphie’s active imagination. If you can’t find a US rosé at your local package store, you’ll certainly enjoy one from Provence or Languedoc.For max enjoyment, don your favorite onesie in solidarity with Ralphie.Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerPlayful and bright, I want a young, fruit forward wine for this wholesome movie. Look for an Oregon Pinot Noir or California Zinfandel produced in the last 1-3 years, preferably with red cherry and/or strawberry notes as bright as Rudolph’s nose. If New World isn’t your thing, consider a Crianza Tempranillo from Rioja.For max enjoyment, snuggle up for your viewing party with that toy or stuffed animal from your youth we both know you still have. How to Grinch Stole ChristmasAh, what to pair with Mr. Grinch, whether he be animated or Jim Carrey? Baring my husband’s appropriate, but non-grape based suggestions of Absinthe and Gin, I’m going to recommend you seek out the dark horse of the sparkling world: sparkling reds. Give an Italian, secco (dry) Lambrusco di Sorbara a try, with descriptors like tart and tangy red fruit; or if you like the darker fruit spectrum, a sparkling Shiraz from South Australia ought to do the trick. The red fruit in your glass will be festive, plus those bubbles will give you the warm-and-fuzzies when Mr. Grinch’s heart finally grows up from two sizes too small. For max enjoyment, sing out loud and proud when the Who sing their “Welcome Christmas” song because you know you want to. Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze...The Holiday For this subtle holiday favorite, I’d hands down pair with a California Chardonnay! In THE Let-Go-Bar-Scene Amanda is seen drinking a deep gold, white wine, and I’m making an educated guess it’s a Chard. Plus, Iris’s holiday takes place in Amanda’s home state of California...so off to the white wine aisle you go!For max enjoyment, turn your living or bedroom into a pillow fort (absolutely bedecked with some holiday lights) from which you can enjoy watching the movie. White ChristmasWhite Christmas is a Christmas classic for old Hollywood romantics, with music, fabulous dancing, romance, war-time camaraderie, and costumes to die for. It was released in 1954, and since that was long before the new world markets started to grace the wine world with their presence, I have to recommend pairing an Old World wine with this vintage film. Look for an older vintage Medoc red Bordeaux blend for you red wine lovers, and for the jazzier scenes, maybe consider a Condrieu Viognier to mix things up a bit!For max enjoyment, set up shop next to a cozy fireside and wear something sparkly. Hallmark Christmas moviesGo to your fridge. Pick a wine (any wine). Grab some crackers on the way back to the couch. Voila! You have the perfect wine and snack to pair with all of that CHEESE!! (I can say it, I’m obsessed with these movies)What are some of your favorite holiday movie and wine pairings? What should we try next?
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Original post August 2016; updated June 4, 2017: the original article was a sneak peak of the film. Now that it's shattered box office records this past weekend (over $100mm opening weekend) we thought it appropriate to pair 3 great Spanish wines from Priorat with Wonder Woman. Wine pairings at bottom of post. Wonder Woman Movie (2017) Preview and Wine Pairing Contributing author Derrick Smith, founder of the widely popular video game digital publication Game Insider, gives us a preview of the new Wonder Woman movie, which was announced at Comic-Con. It challenges our wine-pairing experts! As if the new Wonder Woman movie tagline (“Power, Grace, Wisdom, and Wonder”) didn't do enough to set the tone for Wonder Woman's cinematic explosion, the reveal of Marvel's first lady has us giddy with excitement. Starring Gal Gadot as the beautiful Diana, princess of the Amazon and resident of the island of Themyscira, our imaginations have ran wild with speculations of how to properly re-introduce Woman Woman in her first full-length movie. Immortality, complemented by grace and power: come 2017, our comic book dreams (and Gal Gadot's) will become a reality. Sure, the tease of our fearless eye-pleasing lady of wonder holding her own against the powerful Doomsday was magical, as she aided Superman and the Dark Knight against an impossible threat. Yet we simply wanted more...much more.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Contributing author Derrick Smith, founder of the widely popular video game digital publication Game Insider, gives us a preview of the new Wonder Woman movie, which was announced at Comic-Con. It challenges our wine-pairing experts! Fans of the big bad green dude should be excited to learn that their favorite brute and the son of Odin will be teaming up with the Incredible Hulk for some intense high-octane gladiator action when "Thor: Ragnarok" releases in November. The idea of the Incredible Hulk and Thor joining forces has been a burning desire for fans for quite sometime now. Of course these are fans still mesmerized by the dominating nature of the Hulk, flexing his might in a distant world after being exiled. Continuing to press for a Hulk film with a storyline closely synched to the comic book series of Planet Hulk, San Diego Comic-Con 2016 hinted at this as a strong possibility for "Ragnarok," which stars Chris Hemsworth reprising his iconic role as the God of Thunder, with a very brief ‘if you blink you may miss it’ reveal." Also, adding to the film's story hints, Marvel Studios proudly showcased the stylish replica gladiator armor, which featured a cool Roman-esque helmet, alongside a menacing hammer and axe worn by the big fella. The green one if you were wondering. As we yearn for a more lengthy and powerful reveal experience, we take comfort in knowing that "Thor: Raganrok" will eventually bring to life our wildest comic book fantasies. November could not get here fast enough. 2014 Machete This wine is a blend of Petite Syrah, Syrah, and Grenache from Orin Swift. The color of the wine is inky, dark -- nearly black. This blend includes two of the most robust and tannic varietals, Petite Syrah and Syrah, which makes this wine huge and muscular like Thor. The 2014 Machete has notes of ripe blueberries, boysenberries, toasted oak, vanilla, and blackberry.
He played the Blues that would bring a tear to B.B. King's journeyed eyes. He played it on a sitar. A sitar is a large plucked string instrument originating from India and used in classical Indian music. But to see the seemingly emotionless man sit in historic Jazz at Lincoln Center among a jazz ensemble that was comprised of Pakistani and American musicians, including the iconic global superstar Wynton Marsalis, was unexpected to say the least. These musicians sat together and played songs like Sweet Georgia Brown, Limbo Jazz and Blues Walk in harmony, though half their instruments existed centuries before "America" was born. They played together beautifully, on beat with each other while bringing their own unique sound to the collective soul. At first glance it would seem these two cultures are worlds apart- and in many respects they are. There are stereotypes both ways that cloud truth. However stepping through their respective differences in politics, religion, history and language there is music. There is deep rooted, centuries old, soul driven cultural appreciation and love for music. The documentary Songs of Lahore places the viewer alongside a journey taken by a group of classically trained Pakistani musicians as they travel to New York to perform with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center orchestra for a very special set of performances. The film, by the two-time Academy Award winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy gives background into the city of Lahore which was at the time of Pakistan's independence in 1947 a place where artist, musicians, and poets gathered to openly share their art. However, today Lahore is besieged with terrorists, corruption, and religious extremist who have silenced the once vibrant sounds of culture. In 2004, U.K. businessman Izzat Majeed took it upon himself to try and revitalize music in his native Pakistan. He founded an underground space called Sachal Studios, wrangled up master musicians, and convinced them to start jamming in an effort to not let music die in Lahore. The men started jamming and experimenting with sounds. One such experiment landed Sachal Studios global acclaim - the reimagination of David Brubeck's classic Take Five played on traditional South Asian instruments. Wynton Marsalis caught wind of this and invited the group to play at Jazz at Lincoln Center with him. The rest is history that's still unfolding today as the film was recently released on iTunes. This documentary shows how music can be an equalizer and foundation for understanding and opening each culture to learn more about the other. While watching this documentary drink a wine from a winemaker who was described as having high-standards, being a risk-taker with impeccable attention to detail. and who had zealous allegiance to his land (terroir). Didier Dagueneau is legendary French winemaker who died in a plane crash in 2008. He was a winemaker who went against the proverbial grain and traditional conventions while achieving greatness with grapes. Try the 2009 Domaine Didier Dagueneau Pouilly Fume. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqgHPDcPh3A Learn more about this documentary at http://www.songoflahoremovie.com/ Listen to Sachal Studios album on iTunes
Wine Tasting with Jimmy Vestvood We live in a time where crime, uncertainty, and orange-skinned neanderthals are running rampant (and running for the U.S. presidency). However, we can breathe a sigh of relief, feel a little safe and secure knowing that the newest American Hero is out there protecting our fair city. Gotham has Batman. Metropolis has Superman. Los Angeles now has Jimmy Vestvood, private investigator. Jimmy doesn't have fancy outfits, military grade technology nor super-human strengths to fight crime and save our city, and our Country. No. Much like his idol Steve McQueen, Jimmy relies on his wit, his charm, his sex appeal, and his brilliant detective mind to solve the most complicated of predicaments. Jimmy, who recently moved here from Iran on a visa-lottery, took time of out of his busy schedule to join our host Jennifer Tapiero for a special wine tasting. Enjoy the video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQcRnHagwFs (And checkout http://jimmyvestvood.com for showtimes and ticket information to Jimmy Vestvood Amerikan Hero starring the incredibly funny Maz Jobrani.)Special thanks to the following wineries and their delicious wines. Jimmy may be new to drinking wines but we're not - and we thoroughly enjoyed each of these! Also, a special thanks to Damoka LA, a premier and iconic rug shop in Westwood for allowing us to film at their gorgeous location. Fabio Viviani Wines Patel Wines Napa Valley Double Canyon Wines For behind the scenes and cutting room floor material please visit I LIKE THIS GRAPE on YouTube. Cheers!
Avoid The Crowds This St. Patrick's Day. Netflix And Chill With Vino! You don't have to go out and deal with nonsense on St. Patrick's Day. Stay in, invite some friends over, and pop some bottles. It's easy to Netflix and Chill with some actors and actresses with Irish ancestry this St. Patrick's Day. [caption id="attachment_2410" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Liam Neeson[/caption] Netflix & Chill with Liam Neeson This man has one of the most recognizable voices in the business and his voice is in top form in action/drama Darkman. Enjoy a glass of Kuleto Estate Zinfandel - spicy, dark, and bold. Perfect pairing for Liam Neeson flick. [caption id="attachment_2418" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Nicole Kidman[/caption] Netflix & Chill with Nicole Kidman One of most memorable scenes from Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut was the open credits showing the most tasteful way to film a beautiful woman undress. The sensuality of her figure pairs well with a 2012 Pahlmeyer Merlot which drinks like velvet on your tongue. [caption id="attachment_2435" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Saoirse Ronan[/caption] Netflix & Chill with Saoirse Ronan If you're struggling to pronounce her name, it rhymes with 'inertia'. Recently nominated for an Academy Award for her lead role in Brooklyn, her piercing blue eyes and youthful warmth pair beautifully with the sharp, yet interestingly young tastes of a 2014 J. Cage Pinot Noir (also a recent award winner!). [caption id="attachment_2437" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Colin Farrell[/caption] Netflix & Chill with Colin Farrell Always a favorite with the ladies, he brings a mystery and bravado to all of his roles. Stir things up by watching Phone Booth with a glass of Eos 2012 Reserve Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon. The suspense of the film and the multifaceted notes and complexity of the wine are the perfect match.