Movie Stars

From film noir to anime, there's a wine for that

With the Wisconsin Film Festival taking place this month, many of us will also watch movies at home. Great movies deserve great wine, and a defining characteristic is its ability to evolve in the glass. Just as a plot unfolds, so do fine wines, exposing intricacies and twists and turns not experienced in the initial taste. Now, you can speed this up with decanters or aerators, but there’s something special about experiencing a long progression of change right out of the bottle. My hope is that your wine will be at its absolute peak right when the climax of your film hits. 

Anime: Hofer Grüner Veltliner, Weinviertal, Austria 2011 $15 for liter
Austria’s Grüner Veltliner grape can change dramatically. This matinee-priced version begins with aromas of freshly cut rhubarb and grapefruit. The wine is tangy and tingles the palate. After an hour, notes of lentils and mizuna emerge, and the wine is softer and rounder, yet no less refreshing. Try with generously buttered popcorn sprinkled with Parmesan.  

Space Westerns: Merry Edwards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2009 $45
This starts out a real fruitbomb, with dense dark fruit and cocoa aromas and flavors standing out in bold relief. After an hour, everything tastes much more harmonious and better; it’s as if the quality of the chocolate nuances in the wine went from Hershey’s to Valrhona. Order some sweet and soy-heavy takeout and enjoy!   

Film Noir: Produttori Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy 2007 $43
Made from the Nebbiolo grape in the Barbaresco region of Piedmont, this wine initially shows aromas of tart cherries and a faint herbaceousness. On the palate the wine is lean, with forceful tannins and acidity. After an hour, the wine blossoms, showing violet and truffle aromas, with a softer and sensual palate feel and an exciting mineral-tinged finish. Enjoy with crackers, sopressetto and some quality pecorino.   

Available at Madison’s finer wine stores. If unavailable, most purveyors will special order from their wholesalers if requested.

Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.

Read more Off the Vine columns here

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