Who doesn’t love a good Holiday movie? We know we do! And we also love wine, so in this episode we marry (or is it merry?!?) two of our favorite things and tell you about some fantastic Holiday movie and wine pairings. We choose three films - one old classic, one new classic, and one controversial pick - and pair them with three wines. Well, actually, one of the wines is used as a base for something we have never done before: Mulled Wine. Learn about what Mulled Wine is, our approach to pairing movies and wine, what our criteria are for choosing a Holiday movie classic, and what we think of the wines we paired with the movies in the tasting section of the episode. Overall, we think pairing Holiday movies and wine is a perfect Holiday treat, and we think we have found some great ideas for you - and maybe some inspiration for creating a Holiday wine and movie pairing of your own! Wines reviewed in this episode: Costco Kirkland Signature Rosé Prosecco, 2020 Red Rooster Winery Merlot, and 2018 Blackboard Red Wine by Matthews.
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Episode 56: Holiday Movie and Wine Pairings! 00:00
Hello! And welcome to The Wine Pair Podcast. I’m Joe, your sommelier of reasonably priced wine, and this is my wife and my wine pairing partner in crime, Carmela. And we are The Wine Pair!
Ok, a quick orientation for those of you who may be new to the podcast - in each episode we learn about, taste and review three wines that are reasonably priced - meaning under $20 - and should be easy for you to find. Our goal is to have some fun, learn about some new wines, and talk about wines in a way that regular people like us can understand. And we are proud to say we are officially recommended by the editors of Decanter Magazine, who call us fun, irreverent, chatty, and entertaining.
Well, Carmela, we are getting awfully close to Christmas, and there are lots of other Holidays happening at this time, so I got this idea in my head while I was on a walk last week in the ice and snow on a Sunday morning. I mean, we both love the Holidays and we both love movies, and so this idea felt kind of fun and maybe obvious - why don’t we do a Holiday or Christmas movie pairing with wine?
Super amazing idea, right?!?
There are a number of articles on the interwebs that talk about Holiday movie and wine pairings, and while I agree with some of them, or some of their choices, I think we have a pretty good selection of movies, and some fun ideas for wines to go with them, so we’ll see what all of you out there in listening land think. And we are going to do something in this episode we have never ever ever ever done before when we get to the wine selection and tasting section. Woo hoo! This will be fun. Or it will be a disaster! We’ll find out along with you!
Now, there are a ton of Christmas and Holiday movies and shows, so I had to quickly come up with a few criteria to narrow it down a bit. Any ideas what kinds of movies or shows I might have discounted?
- First, I discounted what are essentially Christmas specials - like Charlie Brown Christmas, Santa Claus Coming to Town, or Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Those ARE Christmas classics, but because they are shorter than a full length movie and are mostly animated, I decided we would cut those out. Plus, it seemed kind of weird to choose something that is very kid oriented.
- Second, for a similar reason, I decided not to choose a movie where the main character was a child. So, although we LOVE Home Alone, I just decided for this episode we would skip it. I was very tempted to use A Christmas Story because the parents are drinking wine on Christmas morning which is baller, I actually don’t like that movie all that much, and the main character is a child, so that was out.
- I decided against Hallmark movies. First, there are like 5 bajillion of them, and the Hallmark movies sort of drive me nuts, and I think the only wines you could pair with them are super sweet wines, so those were out.
- Now, I will say that one of our movie choices is dangerously close to crossing over a couple of these criteria, but I think thematically it is different enough.
I did not, as you will see, leave out as a criteria movies that are set in the Holiday time frame, like, say Harry Potter movies or Edward Scissorhands. Those movies are sort of tweeners because they seem to be shown a ton around the Holidays and they are at least tangentially associated. Plus, they are fun movies that could go really well paired with wine.
Are there any movies that you really like that you think I have cut out from the criteria? We would love to hear from those of you out there in listening land to let us know if you think we hit the mark on our movie selections or not.
And, from a wine selection perspective, to me the key in pairing is to look at three things:
- Does wine play a role in the movie at all, or drinks in general? Is there some wine drinking in the movie that would be a natural pairing?
- Is the wine a winter wine, which would be appropriate for a Holiday movie.
- What are the movie and the main character like that might give us a clue into the wine to pair? Is the main character sweet? Or is he or she mean? Is the tone of the movie serious? Those kinds of things allow us to see if we can pair the experience of the wine with the movie.
- Are there other aspects of the movie that we can use - such as the setting. Is it in a country or area where there are specific wines that are identified with it? Is there a significant scene where a meal or food comes into play that we could tie a wine into?
Ok, I think we should get to the movies we chose and the wines that we are pairing with them, which in one case is a wine based beverage, and get to tasting and reviewing the wines - at least in terms of how well they pair with the movies . . .
But first . . . we have to do our shameless plug, right Carmela? If you are enjoying what you are hearing, we think it would be super peachy if you would subscribe to our podcast, like right now! And we would also be tickled pink if you would leave us a nice a rating and review on our website or on your podcast service so that people who are searching around will see our ratings and go holy shit, I should check these guys out!
You can also follow us or reach out to us on Instagram at thewinepairpodcast or on CounterSocial - our Twitter alternative of choice - or contact us on our website thewinepairpodcast.com.
And, as we do every week, we’ll tell you someone we think you should tell about The Wine Pair Podcast, and this week we want you tell anyone who loves Christmas movies and wine (although not necessarily together).
ARTICLES and LINKS
Topic: Why Did We Choose Elf, Scrooge, and Die Hard as our Holiday Movies? 09:15
So, let’s talk about the movies we chose for this Holiday Movie and Wine Pairing Episode now that we have culled the list down based on the criteria above.
First, I wanted to choose a couple of classics - an old classic and a new classic. And then I wanted to choose one that is more of a controversial pick.
What are some things that would make a movie a Holiday classic? Any ideas? These are kind of from my head
- Naughty-list adult who has a change of heart - usually this is a guy, because lots of guys are hard-hearted assholes who need to remember that it’s ok to be compassionate, kind, and giving. There is some journey from being a dickhead to going through a massive change in outlook that is usually helped along by something supernatural
- Good person who plays the conscience - There is a good-hearted person who actually understands the true meaning of Christmas, but the mean person thinks that person is an idiot - until they have a change of heart as mentioned above.
- For the whole family - the movie is suitable for people of every age in the family
- Lots of Holiday spirit, and a Holiday setting
- You don’t get tired of watching it - it should be a movie that everyone is down to watch, and that when it comes on TV it is really hard not to just sit and dive into it.
From that perspective, the new classic is kind of easy - it’s Elf, and the old classic is a version of the Classic Dickens’ tale A Christmas Carol that I love called Scrooge with Albert Finney. I think both of those movies tick the boxes.
- The bad person who has a change of heart is Ebeneezer Scrooge in Scrooge, of course, and Walter Hobbs in Elf. Scrooge is easy - he’s like the most despicable guy who goes through an amazing transformation. With Elf, it may not be as obvious because the movie is centered around Buddy trying to find his real dad, but the true story in the movie is that his father has a massive change of heart.
- In both Scrooge and Elf there is a good person who plays the conscience - in Scrooge it’s Bob Cratchit that Scrooge thinks is an idiot and treats like shit but then comes around to understand and even love, and in Elf, Buddy is the good person who the main character comes to love.
- In terms of being for the whole family, Elf is an obvious choice, but the movie Scrooge, to me, has always been a favorite because of the music and the quality of the acting. I don’t think everyone knows this movie, but I know our kids love it, too, and I remember watching it with my brothers when I was young.
- And, if either of these movies is on, I will definitely just sit and watch, and we generally have no issues getting the kids to want to rally to watch them.
- I will say that Elf almost crossed the line in terms of not being removed based on our original criteria - after all there is a love story in Elf with Jovie, and there is a kid in Buddy’s younger brother who plays a central role, but I think those things are more tangential and so don’t disqualify Elf. And, it’s our show, so we can do what we want, damnit!
Now, the controversial movie pick may be a little obvious - it is Die Hard - but I am going to make a solid argument about why it is a Christmas movie. I know we talked about this before, but do you consider it a Christmas movie, Carmela?!?
- Obviously, the movie takes place on Christmas Eve, but from my perspective, Christmas itself is one of the antagonists in the movie. McClain is coming to visit his wife precisely because it is the holidays in the hopes they could patch things up. It’s more than the setting, it is a reason.
- The bad guys set the action to take place precisely because it is going to take place during a Christmas party and on Christmas Eve
- There are Christmas themed things that come up in the movie. First, McClane’s wife’s name is Holly. Second, when he tapes the gun to his back at the end of the movie, he uses Christmas tape that is covered in holly branches. Third, McClane kills a dude and puts a Santa hat on him. What is more Christmasy than that?
- And, it’s a classic. He’s sort of a bad guy with a change of heart. The conscience is his buddy who is the one cop that believes him, it’s clearly for the whole family with all of the killing and swearing, and I don’t really ever get tired of it.
Ok, it may not be a classic choice, but there is, at least at the end of the first movie, what appears to be a reconciliation between Holly and John, which is sort of nice and Holiday-y like. Plus, I just think it is fun to talk about and see if we can get people fired up!
Do you out there in listening land agree or not?
ARTICLES and LINKS
Wines We Are Pairing with These Holiday Movies: Rosé Prosecco, Mulled Wine with a Merlot base, and Red Blend with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon base 17:08
Alright, now that we have chosen our Christmas movies, let’s talk about the wines we chose. Now, I will say that all of the wines we have chosen are under $20, which is central to our podcast. But, because this is the Holidays, I am giving myself a present by choosing some wines out of our cellar that need some cleaning out. So, while maybe not all of these specific wines are easy to find, the kind of wines they are should be - and so you don’t have to be too worried about getting the exact wine we are talking about.
The first wine and movie pairing feels pretty natural. We’ll start with Elf, and the wine we are choosing is the Kirkland Signature Rosé Prosecco from Costco. Now, this wine is very reasonably priced at $6.99, and if you are a Costco member, is not hard to find.
Why do you think this is a good choice Carmela?
A sparkling wine seemed sort of an obvious choice for Elf, because he is so bubbly and effervescent as a character. He also really likes sweet things, so Prosecco is a good choice because most of the time, Prosecco is on the sweeter end. Remember that in sparkling wines brut means dry, but if the wine says “dry” on it, it is actually on the sweet side. This sparkler says “extra dry” which means it is sweeter than a brut sparkling wine because it has more residual sugar, but not as sweet as a dry sparkling wine. In fact, in terms of sweetness, Extra Dry is kind of in the middle. In our show notes, we have a link to a great article that goes over the different sweetness levels in Prosecco, which also is true for sparkling wine in general.
One interesting thing about a Rosé Prosecco is the specific grapes it is made from. We have talked about this in other episodes, but Prosecco is a wine named for the specific region his wine must come from, not the grapes. In regular Prosecco, there is only one grape in the wine, and that is a grape called Glera. However, Glera is a white grapes, and to make a wine a Rosé, the juice has to be in contact with red grape skins for several hours. In Rosé Prosecco, the red wine grape must be Pinot Noir.
So, like Elf, Rosé Prosecco is unique!
The next wine and movie pairing is something I am both excited and terrified about. I thought a lot about what wine to pair with Scrooge, and it just seemed obvious that it had to be something more traditionally British, and something that appears in the movie. If you remember, Bob Cratchit makes his famous Christmas punch, although I think his punch was made with gin. But, since this is a wine podcast, we are going to do something in that line but that is wine based - so we are making mulled wine with a Merlot base.
Mulled wine is a relatively easy to make warm spiced punch made with wine and other things like spices, citrus fruits, and sometimes additional alcohol. We have a couple of recipe links in our show notes, but we are sticking with one that is Merlot based because I wanted to clear my cellar of some Merlot that just sits there because I am not a big Merlot fan, and, evidently, mulled wine doesn’t require a great wine (but you don’t want to use a crappy one, either).
The Merlot we are putting in the mulled wine recipe is a Merlot from a winery in British Columbia, Canada called Red Rooster in our beloved Okanagan Valley. This wine is reasonably priced, although it will not be super easy to source for those of you outside of Canada.
Merlot in general feels like a good choice for a winter wine, anyway, so even if you didn’t want to make mulled wine, you could just choose a nice Merlot to have with Scrooge or your Christmas Carol movie of choice. It just feels to me that mulled wine is a perfect pairing - but we’ll find that out in a minute. We have been gently warming the mulled wine for a bit, so hopefully it will be ok! And, if you don’t have Merlot, you can use a Zinfandel or a Grenache. OTHER INGREDIENTS
And, our last Holiday movie and wine pairing continues on the controversy path because I think, with a movie like Die Hard, you need a big, bold wine. The wine we have selected comes from Matthews winery which is right here in Woodinville, Washington, not far from us as well. It is a red blend called Blackboard Red Wine by Matthews, and is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. So this is very much a Bordeaux style blend, and it uses 5 of the 6 noble Bordeaux grapes.
Now, red blends can be a little tricky. In general, when you see red blends, they are some sort of Bordeaux blend, but not always, and the trickiest part about them is that they can be a blend of almost anything and almost any amount. For example, this wine is made of 42% Cabernet Franc, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 17% Merlot. But you can have red blends that are very different mixtures of these grapes, or maybe leaves some of them out. And I am not kidding that I have seen different versions of this wine, even from the same year, that are described as different blends, or just Cabernet Sauvignon - which just shows you why red blends can drive me nuts because they are too opaque for me. I got the blend for this one on the bottle itself, so I am going to believe it.
So, what I would say is, if you can’t find this specific wine, try to find a red blend that is more Cabernet than Merlot. Overall you can look for something called a Meritage blend - which is what American wineries often call their Bordeaux blends, and the Brits will often call it Claret. Again, you want something pretty big and bold. And, for a movie like Die Hard, you need a wine that looks as red as blood!
All right, enough of that jibber jabber, I think it’s time to try some wine!
ARTICLES and LINKS
Rosé Prosecco, Mulled Wine with a Merlot base, and Red Blend with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon base movie and wine pairing tasting and review 24:21
Wine: Kirkland Signature Rosé Prosecco
Region: Italy, Veneto
Producer: Not sure
Grapes: Glera, Pinot Noir
Professional Rating: N/A
What we tasted and smelled in this Rosé Prosecco: Strawberry, yeast, shortbread, kiwi, watermelon Jolly Rancher, tart. Lovely
Great pairing with Elf. Perfect Holiday wine.
Food to pair with this Rosé Prosecco: Popcorn, caramel corn, light pasta, spicy food, fried foods, teriyaki chicken. Could go well with sweet foods. Great with tapas.
As a reminder on our rating scale, we rate on a scale of 1-10, where 7 and above means that we would buy it, and 4 and below means that we are likely to pour it down the sink, and in-between we are likely to drink it and finish it, but we are probably not going to buy it.
- Joe: 7/10
- Carmela: 9/10
Mulled wine with a Merlot base
Wine: Red Rooster Winery Merlot
Region: Canada, Okanagan Valley
Producer: Red Rooster
Retailer: Red Rooster Winery website
Professional Rating: N/A
What we tasted and smelled in this Mulled Wine: Warm smell, citrus, spicy, smells Christmasy, smells sweet, doesn’t taste as sweet as it smells. Great for a Holiday walk.
Mulled wine is a great pairing with Scrooge or a Christmas Carol.
Food to pair with this Mulled Wine: More of an after dinner drink. Souffle, chocolate tart, dark chocolate, dessert wine. Party wine.
- Joe: 4/10
- Carmela: 6/10
Wine: Blackboard Red Wine by Matthews
Region: Washington, Columbia Valley
Producer: Matthews Winery
Price: $19.49 (average Vivino price, not available any more online)
Retailer: Matthews Winery website
Grapes: 42% Cabernet Franc, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec
Professional Rating: N/A
What we tasted and smelled in this Red Wine Blend: A bit hot, wood, pencil, leather, blackberry, stewed cherry, dark fruit, tomato, earthy, vegetable smells like green pepper, meaty smell, complex, rich, cologne. Tasting plum, saddle leather, lots of tannin, a little bitter finish like rock or pencil lead, the aluminum end of the pencil. Smooth, big, bold. Nice wine.
Great pairing with Die Hard
Food to pair with this Red Wine Blend: Red meat, steak, roast, burger, cookout, grilled food, Prime Rib, barbecue.
- Joe: 7/10
- Carmela: 6/10
Which one of these wines are you finishing tonight?
Carmela: Rosé Prosecco
Joe: Blackboard Red Wine
Taste profiles expected from Rosé Prosecco, Mulled Wine with a Merlot base, and Red Blend with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon base: 45:45
- Rosé Prosecco
- Green pear, yellow apples, honeysuckle, white floral, raspberry, creamy strawberry, blackberry, candy sweets
- Tastings.com: Strawberry and rose hips with a medium-full body and a medium-long dark cherry and crystalline strawberry finish
- Mulled wine:
- Sweet and spicy
- Blackboard Red Wine Blend
- Black cherry, leather, chocolate, smoke, tobacco, oaky, black fruits, blackberry, plum, vanilla
Outro and how to find The Wine Pair Podcast 47:12
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Thanks for listening to the Wine Pair podcast, and we will see you next time. And, as we say, life is short, so stop drinking shitty wine.