A Pair to Remember: 5 Wine and Movie Pairings for Your Next Night In
by Sarah Shotwell
Whether you’re on your own or lounging with a loved one, dinner-and-a-movie night can only be improved by a long pour of the perfect wine. Check out our suggestions for varietal and movie pairings. Whatever your genre of choice might be, it seems there is a perfect wine for every film.
Horror with Pinot Gris
This may seem a counterintuitive match, but wine and food pairings are all about balance and complement. Creamy, fatty sauces are cut with bright acidity; spicy dishes are sliced by a touch of sweetness. When watching horror, balance the gore and keep things light with an easy-drinking glass of Pinot Gris.
Suggested Dinner Pairing: Caramelized onion and gruyere pizza. With slasher films, skip the red sauce.
Wuxia/Kung Fu with Dry Gewurztraminer
While the west has been enjoying martial arts films for decades, European and American wine is a more recent addition to the Chinese table, which has traditionally emphasized beer. While watching a Chinese film, pair a beautifully choreographed fight scene with a dry Gewurztraminer from Alsace or California. The lovely spice notes and characteristic lychee aromas are the perfect combination of classic form and unfamiliar excitement.
Suggested Dinner Pairing: Spicy, Southern Chinese fare, like Kung Pao Chicken with Dan Dan noodles. Ganbei!
Romantic Comedy with something light, chilled and red
Often times, one member of a couple prefers red while another reaches for the white. For a light-hearted date night, put on a rom-com and pour something that will please both parties. Long a tradition in France, chilled, light reds are growing in popularity stateside and are delicious year-round. With a classic romantic screwball try a traditional Gamay Beaujolais. To pair with a quirky, modern love story, opt for a hip stainless-fermented Pinot or Valdiguié.
Suggested Dinner Pairing: A cheese and charcuterie picnic in the living room. Quelle romantique!
Spaghetti Westerns with Zinfandel
These classic cowboy movies originated with the great Italian director Sergio Leone, but they are a staple of American culture. What could be a better pairing than the official wine of the wild west? Legend has it that Zin has grown in California since the Gold Rush. Try an old-vine wine for an ultra-authentic experience. (Some Zin vines in California are over a hundred years old!) Fun fact: in the 60s, scientists discovered Zin to be identical to the Italian varietal Primitivo. Looks like Italy and the wild west have gone together all along.
Suggested Dinner Pairing: Santa Maria tri-tip sandwiches with marinara sauce and mozzarella. Think of it as a western spin on the meatball sandwich.
Experimental / Art House with an unconventional blend.
If you’re feeling like pushing the boundaries with your movie selection, why not make a night of it? If you’ve been waiting to try one of the exciting, bizarre new blends that new world winemakers are experimenting with, there’s no better time than while soaking in psychologically unsettling imagery and delineated plot. What’s an unconventional blend? A wine that eschews any and all categories. (Think native-fermented Petite Sirah and stainless Chardonnay topped with hot-climate Pinot Noir.) Like Art House films, these wines are unusual, creative, and potentially disastrous. But how do we know unless we try them?
Suggested Dinner Pairing: Three or four incongruous, obscure items, thrown together on a plate. Example: pork-belly nachos with foraged lichens and braised Kim chi. Will your creation be any good? We have no idea. But it’s the perfect night to find out.
Have any other suggestions on creative wine and movie pairings? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!