Movie & Wine Pairing


Sunset Boulevard Syrah 2013
Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California

Sunset Boulevard (1950)
(not currently programmed)

After seeing the film, Louis B. Mayer famously said that actor-director Billy Wilder had “disgraced the industry,” but few today would say Sunset Boulevard (1950) is anything less than a masterpiece. Its compelling portrayal of Hollywood is dark and unsettling, and it calls for a wine of equal depth and mystery. Pour a glass and enjoy the complexities of Gloria Swanson’s ageless performance.


Other reds may play to larger audiences, but Syrah (famed Old World grape of the northern Rhône) refuses to be forgotten. Inspired by the 1950 Paramount Pictures classic, Sunset Boulevard, this Alexander Valley release is as complex as the character of Norma Desmond and is definitely ready for its close up. You’ll find it smoky, perfumed and dark at heart, with luscious black fruit and a long, satin-dressed finish. Guests will be equally happy sipping this Syrah at the table or during cocktail hour.


grapeSyrah ranges in style from jammy, full-throttle blockbusters (the style that put Australian “Shiraz” on the wine map) to the refined, complex versions you get in France’s northern Rhône Valley – its spiritual home. The grape was first planted in California back in the 1880s, but it wasn’t until the mid-1970s that its U.S. star began to rise, thanks to a group of Rhône fanatics known as the Rhône Rangers.


Sonoma is a diverse and rambling county over twice the size of Napa Valley, with a wide array of landscapes and wines that Wine Spectator describes as “unparalleled in the Golden State.” Alexander Valley is tucked away in its northeastern corner, where warm, sunny days are moderated by cooling breezes that rush down from the nearby coastal mountains. This, combined with the valley’s cool nights, yields remarkably pure grapes that are packed with intense aromas and flavors.


foodWhile it’s smooth enough to enjoy on its own, this powerful red will also be a star with a wide variety of hearty meals. Some of our favorite matches include the classic southern French dish of cassoulet (a rich, slow-cooked, meat-and-bean casserole), barbecued lamb with Moroccan spices, pan-seared duck legs in a black cherry sauce or a peppery filet served with fingerling potatoes.

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