Much ado has been made about this weekend’s upcoming Academy Awards ceremony – mostly from the haters’ camp. As a native Angeleno, I generally love the Oscars – I grew up with them. I love watching pretty people arrive in beautiful dresses and sometimes I love even more seeing a total train wreck make its way down the red carpet. I like winning money for making educated guesses about the winners and I like winning money even more for taking home the prize just because I bet on some foreign film with a controversial title.
Champagne exudes the kind of class that The Academy Awards personified once upon a time. I’ve recently been introduced to a new online boutique called Henri’s Reserve that specializes in selling hard-to-find Champagnes from small tucked-away family estates and, especially, those that fall under the rising category of Grower Champagnes. I’m a big fan of these particular Champagnes as they’re often made with the kind of attention to detail that has become a thing of the past for many of the region’s bigger houses.
So, I’ve teamed up with the e-boutique to pair some of the nominees in the Best Picture Category with their offerings. Why not all 9? Because I philosophically object to the fact that there are NINE nominees to begin with. So I’ve decided to exclude Hugo because kids can’t drink Champagne, Incredibly Loud & Extremely Close because Champagne is for celebrating and 9/11 was sad. Also because kids don’t drink Champagne. And War Horse, because, similarly, horses don’t drink Champagne.
Anyways, here’s to the winner!
The Tree of Life: A love it or hate it movie that yours truly lost all desire to see after hearing reports of 30 minutes of random footage of everything from pretty space pictures to dinosaurs to fetuses in utero. Not for me. This movie definitely divided the critics and movie-goers alike, and for that reason I’m pairing it with Fleury’s Biodynamic “Carte Rouge” Blanc ($45.00). Mention “biodynamic” to anyone in the wine world and you’re guaranteed to stir up about as much controversy as this film.
The Artist: This black and white silent film, evoking the bygone era of glamour that is so often mourned by film critics today, deserves to be paired with Henri Billiot Brut Rose ($60.99). Romantic and lively as The Artist’s Peppy Miller, this beautiful pale salmon sparkler is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Midnight in Paris: Don’t try to tell me you didn’t Charleston around for a few days after seeing his movie – it was too magical. Get carried away all over again and try something delightfully old-fashioned with J. Dumangin Fils Brut ($45.00). This Champagne has that classic biscuity, rich, and dry character that devotees love.
The Help: Depending on who you ask, there’s either a lot to celebrate in this movie about the Civil Rights Era south, or this movie is a race-relations disaster on par with previous best picture winner, Crash. Luckily, I don’t write about movies, I write about wine so I’m going to politely excuse myself from that conversation. However, one of the most enjoyable performances in the film, for me, came from the wonderful Octavia Spencer (who is also nominated!). In honor of her performance, I’m pairing The Help with the sassy and expressive Marc Hébrart, Brut Rosé ($50.00).
The Descendants: Usually Champagnes don’t evoke flavors of rich, lush, tropical fruits – and for a movie based in Hawaii, that’s kind of what you’d like to find. So I was thrilled to find Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs ($45.00). This Champagne doesn’t quite scream “tropical paradise” but neither does the movie’s rendition of Hawaii, frought, as it is, with the kinds of familial and marital tensions that most of us like to imagine don’t exist in such a beautiful place.
Moneyball: A movie about baseball demands a different approach to the dainty and feminine Champagne. Rene Geoffroy “Expression’ Brut ($46.99) is richer with a buttery nose that has hints of tobacco – which everyone knows baseball players love to chew! Also, it’s a little musky and a little funky, just like the dude that probably made you go see this movie.
For more from Caroline Helper, visit her blog ForgetBurgundy.com.