Wine Journeys Takes A Look at “From the Vine” – A movie worth seeing
We have something completely different this month: a movie review. It does, of course, involve wine. The film called “From the Vine” was shot in Canada and Italy and is well worth seeing.
First and foremost, it is very good cinema. “From the Vine” hits all the right notes – an uplifting story, good characters, and beautiful cinematography. It follows a man who moves to the U.S. from Italy as a child, who grows up, becomes a lawyer, marries, relocates to Canada, and becomes CEO. Then he has a crisis of conscience and ends up back in Italy taking over his Grandfather’s rundown vineyard in Southern Italy with some ensuing complications. The story that follows is heartwarming, dramatic, and funny, along with the scenery in Basilicata is breathtaking – fully bathed in gorgeous Italian sunlight.
The Barrie Film Festival screening had the Toronto based Producer/Director in attendance and he told us there would be more screenings, potentially in Niagara Wine Country, and he hoped for a wider release in the Spring. You can keep track of new screening dates/places on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/fromthevinemovie/ .
My thoughts were on Italy; so, you can find a number of Italian wines this month. Regrettably, the LCBO did not have any Aglianico del Vulture, the wine featured in “From the Vine”. My ratings are based on a 5 star system developed by the British wine writer, Michael Broadbent: 5 stars: Outstanding; 4 stars: Very good; 3 stars: Good; 2 stars: Moderately good; 1 star: Not very good, but not bad; No stars: Poor.
Santa Margherita Impronta del Fondatore Pinot Grigio 2018 ★★★½+ $27.95 (Vintages) Most Pinot Grigio grapes are grown on the Italian Veneto plain. However, superior wines are made from fruit sourced from the Alto Adige’s mountain slopes like this one. They, and this one, are more expressive and have more aroma, flavour, and body than their Veneto counterparts. It will give you a different experience to your everyday version. Good with seafood, pasta in a cream sauce, or by itself
Megalomaniac The Narcissist Riesling 2017 ★★★★ $18.95 (Vintages) John Howard (owner of Niagara’s Megalomaniac) commissioned a whimsical label, but he produces serious Riesling. Just off dry with the sweetness hidden by the piercing acidity, it shows lemon pulp, lime, minerals, and a little developing oiliness. It’s a good accompaniment for sautéed shrimp & vegetables drizzled with Piri Piri Sauce.
2027 Cellars Chardonnay Wismer Vineyard Fox Croft Block 2017 ★★★★+ $22.95 (Vintages) I love what Kevin Panagapka, the winemaker/owner, does with Niagara single vineyard fruit. He lets the wine speak and this shows it. It’s all about the minerals, acidity, green apple, pear, and lemon with just enough oak spice supporting the fruit. Matches well with chicken in a Dijon tarragon cream sauce.
Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Rose NV ★★★ $22.95 (Vintages) Pale salmon in colour, this is a lighter bodied New Zealand sparkler produced using the Charmat Method. Expect light strawberry and red cherry with some lemon and grapefruit notes and a trace of brioche. Lighter bodied, it makes a good aperitif or pair it with seafood apps.
Melini Chianti 2018 ★★★ $13.95 (LCBO) If you like a simple, lighter bodied Chianti with pure raspberry and red cherry fruit and little, if any, oak, this is good wine and great value. It’s one of my favourites for this lighter style. Perfect combination with your pasta in a rose cream sauce, but try it with other pastas and pizzas as well.
Icario Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2011 ★★★★½ $21.95 (Vintages) I fell in with Vino Nobile in Tuscany several years ago. This is a 2011 at a good price point that’s fully developed from bottle age with some blackberry and black cherry with dried cherry, cedar, menthol, and vanilla, plus a modest violet aroma. If you want to experience how wine develops over time in the bottle, pick up some and pair it with charcuterie, cheese, or meaty pasta.
Carpazo Rosso di Montalcino 2016 ★★★★ $19.95 (Vintages) A southern Tuscan wine that usually plays second fiddle to its more famous and expensive sibling, Brunello di Montalcino. However, don’t let it being the second wine put you off. It has great acidity and good tannic structure combined with red & black cherry, sage, and tobacco. Medium bodied, it would work well with pork or steak or dishes with Porcini mushrooms.
Zenato Valpolicella Superiore 2016 ★★★½ $18.95 (Vintages) Sometimes the beauty is in the simplicity and that is the case here. Nice ripe red cherry fruit, some cooked black cherry, good acidity, and moderate tannins. It’s a great Italian red to enjoy with pizza, pasta with tomato sauce, or meats (red or white).
San Pedro 1865 Selected Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ★★★★½ $19.95 (Vintages) From Chile’s Maipo Valley comes this Cab with big aromas and flavours, and equally big, but smooth tannins. So much intense menthol and eucalyptus, black currant, black cherry, raspberry, leather, and cigar box here. If you love Chilean Cabs like me, this will be your happy place. Try it with beef or old Cheddar cheese.
Ricardo Santos Tercos Bonarda 2015 ★★★½ $15.95 (Vintages) Malbec is the better known Argentinian wine, but Bonarda deserves some attention. It’s almost full bodied, dry, with conspicuous leafy, herbaceous tobacco and mint melded with blackberry, red currant, and sour red cherry. I’m thinking it would be great with carne asada.