Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Blood Of The Vines

Wine Goes To The Movies
with and
"Notorious," the 1946 classic from master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, actually features a wine as a character in the movie.  Hitch put a big clue to his mystery in a bottle of wine from Pommard, in France's Burgundy region.

Hitchcock was a wine connoisseur and really loved the northern California wine country.  He loved it so much, he bought a ranch and vineyard near Scotts Valley during the filming of 1940's "Foreign Correspondent."  That's why you see so many northern California locations in Hitchcock films - so he could be close to his digs between Santa Cruz and San Jose.

In "Notorious," when Cary Grant drops that bottle of 1934 Volnay Caillerets Bouchard, my heart skips a beat every time I see it.  "Not the premier cru!"  Fortunately, there's no great wine in the bottle, just a little pesky uranium ore which he neatly sweeps under the wine rack.  That's where radioactive isotopes are always swept so they'll go unnoticed until someone brings in a Geiger counter.

No hazmat suits, not so much as a rubber glove for protection.  Uranium is only weakly radioactive, which explains why Cary Grant didn't suffer any sort of disfigurement.  If anything, he became even more suave and debonair afterward.

Ingrid Bergman doesn't fare so well in the movie.  Oddly, she gets hers from a cup of coffee.  Someone must have slipped some uranium into the sugar bowl.

You can find a recent vintage of Bouchard Volnay Caillerets for $50 to $60, but it appears that for the 1934 vintage you'll have to go to auction, so expect to spend a lot more.  Louis Jadot has a Pommard which sells for around $40, and that appears to be the low end of the price range for that appellation. 

If you need a really cheap date night, see the Blood Of The Vines pairing for "Arsenic & Old Lace."
Bargain Burgundy:

2008 Domaine Ballot-Millot & Fils Bourgogne Rouge  -  Leave the auction to Cary Grant.  Here's some Pommard (with a little Meursault and Beaune thrown in) for about $20.

2007 Laboure Roi Bourgogne Blanc "Maximum"  -  A white blend of Meursault and M√Ęcon grapes - not far from Pommard - this Chardonnay is under $20.

Caves Bailly Lapierre Cremant de Bourgogne Brut  -  A sparkler from near Chablis, this will give you that Cary Grant feeling for about $15.

Blood Of The Vines also appears on the cool Trailers From Hell blog, From Hell It Came.

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