Best Picture and Best Wine Pairings

The 90th Oscars are this Sunday night March 4, 2018.

So what wine goes well with winning?

Bubbles of course!

Oysters and sparkling wine are always a hit: non-fussy, a big crowd pleaser, a bit exotic and exciting!

Seriously, though, when throwing an Oscar party or just a film night with friends, it is very important to be able to relax and enjoy the show with your guests.

So go with a nice cheese plate, some simple finger foods, along with bubbles on ice, and maybe even a berry pie — so easy!– that you can make ahead and smell while it cooks and cools! (Just buy the crusts, toss the berries in a little flour and sugar, and you’re good to go!)

Cocktails are classy and fun when made with bubbles, but they can be more work than setting out wine and beer — unless there’s someone at your gathering who would rather make cocktails than watch commercials! A salad is always nice to have as well — something crunchy and fresh — people can dress their own.

 There’s lots of Academy Award coverage…

so we’re just going to look at two categories, FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM and BEST PICTURE and below I offer my friend Ron’s rank of the top 3 of the 30 films he saw last year as well as the thoughts of the six of us who gathered to discuss wines and films in advance of tonight’s Academy Awards.

Foreign Language Film


PLOT:  Marina is a young waitress and aspiring singer. Orlando is 30 years older than her, and owns a printing company. Marina and Orlando are in love with plans for the future. After celebrating Marina’s birthday one evening, Orlando falls ill, and Marina rushes him to the emergency room, where he passes away just after arriving. Doctors and Orlando’s family don’t trust her, and a woman detective investigates Marina to see if she was involved in his death. Orlando’s ex-wife forbids her from attending the funeral, and Orlando’s son threatens to throw Marina out of the flat she shared with Orlando. Why? It’s not just the age difference but that Marina is a trans woman. This film is currently playing in nearby Camarillo — if I don’t get to see it on the big screen, I look forward to seeing it at home!

Our pairing: A wine from Chile as powerful as Marina.

2012 – Don Melchior – Cabernet Sauvignon – Puente Alto Vineyard 14.5% alcohol
93% cab sauv and 7% cab franc
SRP $120 — sample

This is not a big oaky in your face kind of cab. It is more subtle and elegant. The difference between someone who works in the gym too much and is big and bulky as opposed to someone who works out regularly to have an amazing tone and definition to their body.

Just like Marina.

The label on the bottle is also nice and subtle, classy. The rose with coral wine comes from the 313 acre Puente Alto Vineyard planted on rocky soils at the foot of the Andes mountains on Maipo river’s oldest alluvial terraces. Decadent, rich,  complex, very plush and smooth, bold and big with a beautiful minerality that’s noticeable right off the bat. Sulphur and minerals, sulphur and sage, dark cherry brooding fruit on the finish.

Wines from Chile tend to offer more for the money: this one consistently makes Wine Spectators Top 100 list and is usually in the Top 10. Watch for it!

Pair this wine Humbolt Fog cheese: awesome  creamy yumminess, a buttery caramel marries all of the flavors in the palate in a very lovely way, fantastic on the palate like a dance party going on where everybody is getting along and having a fantastic time.

Empanadas would also be a great choice for an Oscar party or movie night that features this wine and film because they can be purchased and be eaten by hand while watching the film! Jicama with a squeeze of lime and lemon and chile is also great for this.

If this wine is not in your budget, consider these Chilean Cabernet also from Concha y Toro:

2011 – Casillero del Diablo – Cabernet Sauvignon – Chile – 13.5% alcohol
SRP $10 (sample)

2014 – Marques Casa Concha – Cabernet Sauvignon – S.O. Maipo – Chile 14% alcohol
SRP $35 (sample)



PLOT: A minor incident between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee turns into an explosive trial that ends up dividing the two communities.

PAIRING: Find yourself some Lebanese wines! Recently Sue and I went to LA where we tasted our first Lebanese wines, including some indigenous grapes. We learned that French wineries had a huge influence on the wine industry there, establishing and guiding wineries. Domaine de Baal was a favorite.


PLOT: An estranged Russian couple going through a brutal divorce both have new partners and want to start over until their 12-year-old son disappears after witnessing one of their fights.

PAIRING: Vodka of course. From Russia.


PLOT: When a man and woman who meet at work begin to know each other, they discover that they have the same dreams at night, and they decide to make them come true.
PAIRING: Nimrod Wines NJK. SRP $55. This red wine blend from Hungary that I tasted at World Of Pinot Noir this past weekend. I know, I know, it’s not Pinot Noir, and while I loved their pinot noir, I think their red blend is surreal and magical and unusual and definitely Hungarian– just like this film. The wine has the initials of the gentleman pictured above, Mr. Nimrod J. Kovacs. Read his amazing story here– this man should have a movie made about him!   It’s spicy and brambly — really unusual and fun to have in contrast to all of the pinot! It’s a blend of :
73% Kekfrankos
20% Pinot Noir
7% Syrah
I can’t wait for movie night to watch this film while drinking this wine along with a pairing of Hungarian goulash made with real Hungarian Paprika!


PLOT: Disaster strikes when a curator hires a public relations team to build some buzz for his renowned Swedish museum. Critics say it is “darkly amusing.” The trailer is disturbing and exciting.

PAIRING: Graham’s 20 year old Tawney Port $65 (sample)

This wine is so beautiful it is like drinking a work of art — perfect for a movie about a museum!

Pair with beautifully made hand crafted chocolates from your favorite chocolatier or chocolate covered strawberries; it was actually pretty good with the pie!

Drizzle over ice cream in a beautiful goblet, or you could put it on ice, or serve it neat with a sprig of an herb like rosemary or sage. Very classy, very glamorous — and a little goes a long way.

This is a sipping wine, not a drinking wine, and you might be surprised, but it will go with fine cheeses too, especially a creamy blue cheese from Spain, and consider cured meats as well.

So what should you toast this year’s best picture nominees with?

The Academy is going to be drinking Coppola’s Director’s Cut, a fitting wine for sure, and a solid people pleasing cherry oaky wine, very American, and very animated!

We have three sparkling wines from around the world to suggest:

  • Pata Negra – Cava – Made with Organic Grapes – Brut 11.5% alcohol
  • Santa Marghererita – Brut Rose – Vino Spumante – 11.5% alcohol
    SRP $60 (purchased at winery)


to pair with the Best Picture Nominees for the Oscars:


According to my friend Ron Wells Ranked Annotated List Films of 2017: The Top 3 which I published on my Art Predator blog:

1. The Post is number one says Ron: May be not the best film of the year, but by far the most important. It reminds us that  the 4th Estate is a primary protection against an Orwellian future, or even an Orwellian present. Subscribe to a major newspaper today.

2. Molly’s Game is Ron’s #2 Film — and it’s not even nominated for Best Picture: “Thank god for Aaron Sorkin,” says Ron. “Following in the footsteps of Paddy Chayefsky, his words flow fast like a beautiful river. To hear them said by Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba is pure joy.”

3. Also not nominated for Best Picture: Lucky, says Ron “is only for those people who had as difficult a year as I had, or those who love Harry Dean Stanton. I loved this film, but I repeat: it is NOT for everyone. Nothing happens in this movie. It is a contemplation on life, death, nothingness, belief, and the meaning of words. When Harry Dean sings, it brought tears to my eyes. Every actor wishes they had a final scene as Harry Dean had in this film.” Oh, I love Harry Dean Stanton and this trailer reminded me why! I am looking forward to seeing this!


Here are three sparkling wines from around the world worthy of those Oscar toasts:

Pata Negra – Cava – Made with Organic Grapes – Brut 11.5% alcohol

This is a very nice Cava that’s very food friendly.

Bubbles and color – medium bubbles, not an abundance of bubbles, nice and light

Nose – citrus and grass, apples, really fresh, mildly yeasty

Palate – clean crisp, fresh,  nice and dry, some yeasty qualities, make sure there is some allouette cheese on your cheese tray. It pairs beautifully with this wine. Kind of a caramel apple as it opens up.

The Cava went beautifully with our Ceasar Salad, This would be so easy for a Oscar party — you could even buy a pre packaged Ceasar Salad mix and it would be a hit with this wine.

It doesn’t have to be that complicated to make a fabulous event where you can also sit and enjoy the company with the wine.

This wine is totally a winner for us. A nice flashy label, good, distinct, great cocktail or mimosa bubbles,  not particularly over powering so it will blend well. If this was at a party and this was being served, both of us would not turn up our noses, either by the glass or as a cocktail. Add some orange flavored sparkling water and gran marnier for a lovely cocktail.

This wine went fine with our berry pie, but was much better with the cheese plate, appetizers, oysters, and salad. This wine was so much better with  the savory items; we thought that another item that might do well with this food line up is quiche bites, because you could make them in advance, and they are fine eating at a chilled temperature.

Santa Marghererita – Brut Rose – Vino Spumante – 11.5% alcohol

When someone says Spumante Sue thinks of Sweet sparkling that her father loves for holiday brunch mimosas; thank goodness this is not necessarily that wine. While it is fruit forward and floral, it’s not sweet. There are other flavors going leading us to believe this would be the perfect pairing with our berry pie.

This comes in a really beautiful bottle…

Color and bubbles: Very pretty pink, rose – gold, delicate, foamy

Nose: I noticed the strawberries as soon as the cork was popped. This wine yearns for a creamy brie or LaTur, or Mascarpone on a piece of bread. It’d be fantastic with a berry, or grilled peach salad with burrata. It is however very nice on its own.

Try dropping a raspberry or strawberry in it for sipping during a movie party.

Palate: This is not the food wine that the cava is. It did not go well with the caesar salad.  This wine was best on its own this evening making us think that maybe it should be served first as an appetitive  to begin the evening with or consider using it in a cocktail like with a splash of St Germain.

12.5% alcohol $60

Sue and John just got back from a get away to the Anderson Valley. While Sue enjoyed all of the quaint lovely wineries that she visited, it was the sparkling houses that had her super excited. Handley was one of those places. John decided to share a bottle of Handley Blanc de Blancs that they bought on their recent trip for the occasion.

We found this wine to be so lovely to sip and a great for a toast when your best of picture has won and you really want to have a special toast. Or have it at the door to greet your guests!

Nose  – Sue found a lovely brioche yeasty quality to the wine and I picked out the apple qualities on the nose of this wine. Edie felt that if this were aged it would be fantastic! The nose on this wine is beautiful. It would be fabulous with oysters, lemon, and lemon curd; the salinity made this a wonderful wine for food.

Palate – Edie found green apple on the palate. super pleasurable now, but wait till the next year’s Oscar celebration to open this wine and be even more impressed. Be impressed now, and be even more impressed in a year or two.

We all enjoyed this wine a great deal. It offers so much more than the Cava or the rose; there are so many more subtle complexities to this wine.

CCOF certified organic estate vineyard grapes comprised of 100% Chardonnay planted in 1987 with cuttings selected from Ordway Valley Foothills Vineyard, some of the first vines planted in Anderson Valley and some of the first vines planted on the Handley Estate property. Anderson Valley was a relatively unknown wine region at the time so Milla Handley sought out plant material that was already proven to succeed here. The vineyard is a cold spot on the valley floor exposed to afternoon winds which delays sugar accumulation and maintains acidity while developing ripe fruit characters making them ideal for making sparkling wine. A very small dosage of sugar was added at disgorging to soften the wine’s crisp acidity.

Enjoy these wine and movie pairings!



2 thoughts on “Best Picture and Best Wine Pairings

  1. What a fun post Gwen! Love how you paired the wines with the films. I feel like I’ve been under a sheet with regard to these movies thus appreciate being movie enlightened- merci!


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