Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"A Good Year" The Movie

(The limestone covered vineyards of Château la Canorgue. Photo courtesy of Beaune Imports)

Getting serious Hollywood heavyweights like Director Ridley Scott and Actor Russell Crowe to do a slapstick film on wine is almost bizarre. Yet, their new movie "A Good Year" is a lot of fun to watch, especially if you approach it like you would a good rosé.

Based on Peter Mayle's book of the same title, the movie tells the tale of a obsessively competitive boy, tutored early on about the charms of wine by his uncle during summers spent at the latter's vineyard in Provence, who grew up to be a greedy, backstabbing monster of an investment banker in the City of London (he calls his minions "lab rats"). From the moment Max Skinner, the investment banker (played by Russell Crowe), received a letter from France informing him about his uncle's death and his impending inheritance, the movie becomes altogether predictable, so you can just sit back and laugh at the run of jokes and hilarious scenes that Ridley Scott stitched together.

Wine buffs would delight in how wine is the catalyst in the movie. No, there is no discussion here of malolactic fermentation or of showing off great trophy wines as in "Sideways". The opening scene sets the tone with the boy Skinner being schooled on the appreciation of wine by his uncle who opens a bottle of 1969 Bandol, Domaine Tempier. The uncle pours a full glass for himself and he cuts the next glass with water for his nephew. Asked by the boy why he likes wine, the uncle explains that "wine is incapable of lying".

But the real star of the movie is the Provençal setting. Much of it was filmed on location at the beautful estate of Château la Canorgue in the Lubéron hills of Provence. Its picturesque Roman villa, with a natural stone swimming pool, overlooking the limestone covered vineyards is stunning.

Enough said. Go see the movie and enjoy!

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Uva Cure!


There's been a spate of reports recently about the remarkable healing powers of wine, specifically red wine.

A study by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that Cabernet Sauvignon may help cure Alzheimer's disease. It appears that Cabernet Sauvignon stimulates a protein that prevents Alzheimer's from developing. The study was done on mice and not on humans.

Another study, also involving mice, done by the Harvard Medical School and the Naitonal Institute on Aging, showed that large doses of resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, "lowers the rate of diabetes, liver problems and other fat-related ill effects in obese mice", says a New York Times article.


These studies certainly appear to be good reasons to keep drinking wine. But I do remember Julia Child's comment on a TV show with Jacques Pepin when they were cooking salmon. Pepin extolled the benefits of Omega-3 found in salmon, to which Child immediately retorted, "but we don't eat salmon for medicine!" Amen