When you think about great - really Great - movies centered around wine, multitudes come to mind. There are so many superb wine movies to name, it is more a matter of whittling down the sizeable list to something more manageable. I've gone ahead and put together my list of All Time Wine Movie Favorites, and I thought I would share it with you here. Maybe one of your favorite wine flicks has been left off? Please do say so in the comments.
Of course any list of wine movies would have to include something from Fassbinder. It is just a matter of chosing one in particular from amongst the several wine themed Fassbinder pictures. The neglected classic Despair finds Fassbinder at his most wine-y. Dirk Bogarde plays Hermann Hermann, a man slowly gone mad, unable to tell the difference between Saint-Bris and a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. He hatches an elaborate plot to serve the later to his guests at a dinner party, confident that they will find minerality in the glass. Amazingly enough, the film is set in 1990's Berlin, against an imagined backdrop of the problems inherent with German reunification. Throughout the movie Hermann Hermann remains blind to the fact that his wife is having a tawdry affair with Pinot Grigio.
Harrison Ford plays a man charged with hunting down fake Jeros of '45 Pomerol with only his corkscrew and his palate to go on. In this dark vision of the future wine world, Rick Deckard (Ford) must track down each fake wine before it enters the market and does irreperable harm. He faces a deep moral dilemna when he encounters a wine that he knows to be "fake" but which he loves the taste of. Should he continue this dangerous relationship? And Deckard's very identity is called into question when it is revealed that his first experience of '45 Pomerol may have been from a forged bottle, implying his earliest taste memories may not, in fact, be "real." A bleak cinematic picture of global wine world sprawl and a wine terrain far removed from terroir and the indisputable sense of place. An imagined dinner table where every dish smells of synthetic truffle oil. How pliant is a reality that absorbs the fake whole? Is it possible to escape a permanently dark city-world built upon the convenience and desire for replication?
Perhaps most disturbing today owing to the three shining bright talents starring in the film having been taken too early by the scourge of Hollywood: Premox. But when viewed again, this picture painfully renders the spirit of a boy unable to find solace or faith in his parent's love of straw-covered fiasco Chianti, and unable to find answers in a school life devoid of Poulsard. A reminder of the loneliness of youth when the desire is to drink verticals whole, but who knows of what.
to be continued...