Best Wines & Best Pictures: How to Host a Wine-Tasting Oscar Party
Oscar Night Wine Tour:
Pairing Up the Best Wines
My idea of a fun Oscar party? Invite 9 of your friends over and ask them to bring a wine they think represents 1 of the nominees for Best Picture. (Yep, there are 10 nominees. You get to enjoy the fun too!) You’ll have a night of wine tastings and a great theme for your Oscar party! I’ll start you off with the picks below, some a bit more pun-ny than others (hey, humor rarely wins the big gold statue).
Types of Wines for Oscar Movies:
Oscar Movie: Black Swan
Wine Pairing: Bianchi Petite Sirah, Paso Robles, California, 2007
A deep, dark wine with earthy and blackberry jam notes. It’s nearly opaque in color and bold—anything but “Petite”—just like Black Swan’s leading lady, Natalie Portman. Though petite in stature, her commanding performance shows just how robust her acting chops are. I think she’d enjoy a glass of this post-baby.
Oscar Movie: The Fighter
Wine to Taste: Red Car “The Fight” Syrah, Central Coast, California, 2007
The name alone is hard to pass up to pair with The Fighter, but get beyond the name and you’ll find it has a matching amount of bite and juiciness—Mark Wahlberg without a shirt. Juicy, indeed.
Oscar Movie: Inception
Try with Wine: Santa Julia Tardio Torrontes, Mendoza, Argentina, 2008
Visually gorgeous, mindblowing, with a “Huh? What just happened” sense to it. I could be talking about this late-harvest Torrontes or Inception. Both are stunners, and the wine is beautifully balanced with sweetness and acidity that makes it unctuous but ultimately refreshing.
Oscar Movie: The Kids Are All Right
Taste With: Naughty Boy Chardonnay, Mendocino County, California, 2009
Naughty boy himself (at least in the movie), Mark Ruffalo would readily serve Annette Bening this impressively crisp Chardonnay. The movie is all about family, as is this small, award-winning family-run winery.
Oscar Movie: The King’s Speech
Try This Wine: Re Midas Soave, Veneto, Italy, 2009
Bearing resemblance to The King’s Speech, from the crown logo to the European heritage, Re Midas Soave has everything you want from a value-priced wine. It’s made from 100% Garganega grapes, a native Italian varietal, which, like its movie pairing, is a crowd favorite.
Oscar Movie: 127 Hours
Movie Wine Pairing: Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, California, 2006
Like the hero in this movie (and in some of our dreams), Hidden Ridge grapes spend their time hanging out at high altitudes, from 1,200 to 1,700 feet. Hidden Ridge is only accessible via 4-wheel drive or helicopter, as remote of a setting as James Franco hoped to escape. Dense, decadent, and delicious. Something you’d give your right arm for.
Oscar Movie: Toy Story 3
Wine Pairing: Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut Sparkling Wine NV, California
In Toy Story 3, you expect light and bubbly but you also get a healthy dose of the harsh realities of growing up. Similarly, the streams of tiny bubbles you expect abound in this sparkler, but you also experience an edge of minerality and mouth-watering lemon-lime. It’s a slam dunk for an Oscar, but sadly not in this category. Hope the bubbles help cheer up Woody.
Oscar Movie: The Social Network
Taste With: Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Laforet, Burgundy, France, 2009
What’s on your mind? Right now, my status is happily drinking the 2009 Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Laforet, Burgundy, France. I’m about to go online and tell all my “Friends” I’m drinking it. Facebook me and tell me what you’re sipping as you watch this movie, the one I’m guessing brings home the golden statue.
Oscar Movie: True Grit
Wine to Taste: Parducci “True Grit” Petite Sirah, Mendocino, California
It was a shoe-in to be served at the eponymous movie’s premiere, and for good reason beyond the coincidental name. The wine, like the film, has an earthiness to it but also a welcome warmth.
Oscar Movie: Winter’s Bone
Try with Wine: Masi Costasera Amarone, Veneto, Italy, 2006
Like Amarone, this movie may be lesser known to the audience, though it’s critically acclaimed. The wine is majestic, with a long finish, and deserves to be seen more. It stays with you as long as the movie.
The best thing about this Oscar wine-tasting party, no matter which film wins the Academy Award for Best Picture . . . you win by tasting all the best wines and trying some new favorites!
Anu Karwa, Epicurean Contributing Editor