Please excuse a little "Cork Dork-ery" ahead as we delve into some iconic films, and what they did for wine.
Johnathon Demme’s iconic 1991 horror, Silence of the Lambs was the third film in history to win an Oscar in five of the major categories – that’s Best Picture. Director, Actor, Actress, and Adapted Screenplay. Hannibal Lecter is a violent psychopath and brilliant psychiatrist, and is enlisted by the agent Clarice Starling to weigh in on a murder case. This film gave us the iconic line:
“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti”
While this may seem to be a throwaway line, there is more to this than meets the eye! Chianti, as with all red wines, is high in an enzyme called Tyramine, which is broken down by monoamine oxides, or MAOs. Lecter, due to his psychiatric condition most likely takes a medicine called a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor, or MAOI. This branch of medicine is often used to treat depression or psychosis, and by alluding to his, rather strange, meal, Dr. Lecter is hinting that he is not taking his medication. If he was taking his medicine and had drunk his Chianti, he may have experience a severe spike in blood pressure, headaches, nausea, chest pain, anxiety, and nosebleeds. So best to steer clear!!
There's very limited evidence to suggest that Chianti sales were boosted as a result of this film. In fact - there's more evidence that there was a boost in fava bean sales! Go figure!
Incidentally, Chianti does go rather well with liver, so he may have actually been onto something there... Check out our newest favourite Chianti here!
“If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am not drinking any f**king merlot...”
Well… it’s good to have an opinion!
Sideways is a 2004 American Black comedy by Alexander Payne which tells the story of two men trying to find themselves in Santa Barbara wine country, California. Miles, one of the protagonists portrayed by Paul Giamatti, is a wine connoisseur and has a distinct hatred of the beloved Bordelaise grape, Merlot, giving us the iconic line above. Miles has a penchant for Pinot Noir, lamenting
“Oh, its flavours, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ancient on the planet."
As a result of this film Californian Merlot sales actually dropped by 2% in the following three years after the film’s release, while Pinot Noir sales rocketed by 16% in the same time period. I suppose it’s fair to mention that Californian Merlot already had a bit of bad press to its name before this film. It was easy to grow, so they grew a lot of it, not all of it necessarily good! It seems that Sideways was the final nail in the coffin for poor old Merlot.
Recent vintages have been better made, and properly cultivated, making Californian Merlot a high ticket item these days! Why not see for yourself? Compare this Californian Merlot with this Californian Pinot Noir one evening and see which you prefer!