Film (Pinot) Noir
If you’re anything like me, you spent lockdown subscribed to every single streaming service in existence relying on them as something to do when there was nothing to do. Netflix, NowTV, Disney+, Amazon Prime? You name it – I’ve had it, and I’m not going to lie, they’ve been a crutch for me.
Having always enjoyed the odd wine centric film and with my recently acquired knowledge of streaming service catalogues, I wanted to share a few really great wine films, what to drink with them, and where to find them.
Red Obsession is a very interesting documentary that looks at the institution that is Bordeaux and how the wines have been received in the wealthy and emerging Chinese market. Narrated by Russell Crowe, this touches on the exceptional 2009 and 2010 vintages, the concept of investment wines, how the wines were priced and showcased, the demand for Bordeaux wines in China, the future of Bordeaux wines in China and the future of wine in general in China, including their own production plans. This is always my go-to wine film when someone asks for a wine film recommendation.
What to drink? Bordeaux, baby.
This film hits different these days. The late Alan Rickman (legend) portrays the late Steven Spurrier (another legend) and tells the story of the Judgement of Paris. In a nutshell, the story loosely follows Spurrier’s journey to Napa Valley (before it was cool) seeking the best wines to include in a blind tasting against the top wines from France. A light-hearted film which also features a scene where Rickman is eating KFC from a bucket in a retro AMC Gremlin.
What to drink? California Chardonnay
Somm I / Somm: Into the Bottle / Somm III
The Somm series introduces four candidates who are a few weeks away from sitting the prestigious and very difficult Master Sommelier exam. Somm I highlights the level of dedication and determination that’s required to pursue this niche qualification and the benefits of passing. The second film is focused on ten specific wines and their story and history. Finally, Somm III, which is my favourite, follows two separate tastings including some of the best wine tasters in the world. The series offers a glimpse into the varying lives of wine professionals and what unites them all: a deep passion for what’s in the bottle.
What do drink? Something blind. Have someone pour you a mystery glass so you can really get into it, and guess at what you’re having. Maybe you’ll make it into Somm 4
Another stellar documentary, Sour Grapes speaks to the fine wine auction market and tells the true story of a counterfeiter, Rudy Kurniawan, who made loads of wealthy friends and sold them oceans of fake wine. Rudy infamously made $35,000,000 USD in two auctions where wines from his cellar were being sold. The story is mind-blowing and an interest in wine isn’t necessary at all to enjoy this. The drama in this film will have you on the edge of your seat.
What do drink? Something that isn’t fake would be a good start.