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What to Drink for Your Favorite Movie

Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Feb 20, 2009 1:53pm ET

Every year about this time my wife and I indulge in a movie marathon to try to see as many of the Oscar-nominated films as possible. That way, when they open the envelopes during Sunday’s broadcast, we know what we’re pulling for.

It occurs to me that we could support our favorites by drinking appropriate wines over the course of the evening.

For The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, you could line up a vertical tasting. Start with the oldest vintage and progress to the youngest, just as the title character reverse-ages in the movie.

Fans of The Reader, which takes place in Germany, need only open a nice bottle of Riesling spätlese. The action shifts among the late-1950s, late-1960s and mid-1990s. Take your pick of vintage dates, or drink something fresh and young, like the protagonist early in the film.

I noticed a number of wine placements in Milk, which features Sean Penn’s spot-on performance as assassinated gay rights leader and San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk. In one early scene, I spied a bottle of E. Guigal, probably a Côte-Rôtie (which the characters could have afforded in the 1970s). That would not be a bad choice, but the door is open for any California wine.

The characters spend some time drinking good wines in Frost/Nixon, the story behind David Frost’s interviews with the disgraced ex-president, also set in the 1970s. But I can’t help thinking of an oft-told story about Nixon and wine. At a party on the yacht Sequoia, the story goes, he poured vin ordinaire for his guests while he kept a bottle of Haut-Brion, carefully wrapped in a napkin, at his side for himself. If you choose to emulate Nixon, at least share a few sips with your friends.

I don’t know what to suggest for Slumdog Millionaire, the story of an overachiever from the poverty-stricken streets of Mumbai who wins the girl by going on the Indian version of the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Wine makes no appearances, and I don’t know if I can recommend any available wines from India.

Any ideas?

(By the way, I’ll be drinking Riesling.)

Dennis D Bishop
Shelby Twp., MI, USA —  February 20, 2009 3:19pm ET
I would have to go with a "2-buck-chuck" while watching Slumdog Millionaire. ...and I would enjoy the wine!
Mg Matzkin
Thousand Oaks, CA —  February 20, 2009 4:26pm ET
Although not wine, perhaps start with Bombay Gin Gimlets
David Harper
Annapolis MD —  February 20, 2009 6:22pm ET
A nice though light Volnay Mitans 2003 for Kate Winslet and "The Reader" with lamb chops and romaine on the side.
Andrew Bernardo
Halifax, Nova Scotia —  February 20, 2009 8:13pm ET
Domaine Cazes Alter Cazes Cotes du Rousillon, a relatively inexpensive goodie (90 points from Mr. Marcus) that will allow me to afford to rent all of the movies for my own marathon before Sunday's big show.

Monticello Vineyards
Napa, California —  February 21, 2009 2:39am ET
Michael Semanick, a friend and wine club member, was at one of our winery events last week. Michael, a previous Oscar winner, has been nominated this year for two Oscars for sound mixing (Wall-E and Benjamin Button). We had a great time talking about some of the similarities of mixing sound and blending wine. I'm not sure what we'll be drinking on Oscar night, but we'll definitely be rooting for Michael !Cheers,Chris Corley
Jonathan Rezabek
Chandler, AZ —  February 22, 2009 6:51pm ET
I thought Tricky Dick had a penchant for Margaux. Can anyone confirm?
Andrew J Walter
Sacramento,CA —  February 23, 2009 5:21pm ET
a local Indian wine of course..not sure how good they are

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