by Jenny Benzie, Advanced Sommelier of Épernay
Movies can be like fine wine. Depth, character, and an unexpected ending are all qualities that can be found in both of these creative endeavors. What makes each of them unique is the artistic style of the director who has a vision from start to finish of the project. This is played out by a multitude of influencers involved in the ever-evolving plot. If all goes well in the initial stages of development, post-production is typically more of a minimalistic, hands-off approach. The final cut is the culmination of hours, days, and months of hard work, determination, and passion all bottled up into one.
The annual Nantucket Film Festival gives us the opportunity to experience movies that we may never have otherwise seen, much less heard about. Here you have the opportunity to meet and greet with the filmmakers themselves, attend discussions to learn more about life behind the scenes, and discover stories that are told through the art of film.
THE BEES HAVE IT
The benefits of bees far outweigh the possible sting you might receive from them. In fact, live without bees would leave a much bigger sting that could ever be possibly imagined. Bees are responsible for a majority of pollination in the world. This includes not only flowers and vineyards, but also some of the food we eat. Honeyland is the story of a beekeeper Hatidze in the remote mountains of Macedonia. He tends to his hives with the golden rule for sustainable honey cultivation: you take half and you leave half for the bees. See what happens in this documentary when nature’s delicate balance is threatened when new tenants move in next door.
Creating and maintaining balance is key in the vineyards as well.
Idlewood Flora & Fauna “The Bee” is a lovely Piedmontese inspired white wine from the rugged hills of Mendocino County in California. It is a blend of 50% Muscat Canelli (also known as Muscat Blanc or Moscato Bianco), 48% Arneis, and 2% Cortese. The wine is very aromatic with scents of honey and wildflowers from the Muscat, yet has structure from the Arneis that leaves a touch of richness on your palate with the finish. This pays homage to the work bees do in the vineyard to make the flora and fauna flourish.
WORDS OF LOVE
No movie is complete without some sort of love story. Director Nick Broomfield shows us the intimate, bittersweet story of the love between world-famous musician Leonard Cohen and his muse, Marianne Ihlen, in the film Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love. Learn about this unconventional relationship that endured for half a century after they met on a Greek Island in the 1960s.
This romantic documentary would be made even sweeter with in-hand a glass of Château Léoube “Rosé de Léoube” from Côtes de Provence, France. This organic pale salmon-pink color rosé wine is made from a blend of Grenache and Cinsault, completed by a touch of Syrah and Mourvèdre. This fruity, well-balanced, and generous wine will have you falling in love with it over and over again.
BLACK AS NIGHT
While most movies are about one story that may have many common threads throughout the scenes, DC NOIR by talented writer/producer George Pelecanos is a crime anthology of four stories. Each sequence is set and filled within the neighborhoods of Washington, DC. From a hit man in love, to friends drawn into drug dealing, and the lives of cops in between, the name of the film shows some of the dark side of city living.
A great monster of wine to pair with this movie noir is Leviathan Red Blend from California. This monster of a wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, all blended together to produce a singular wine that showcases the best characteristics of the vintage. Red plum, spice, vanilla, and oak are all elements you will find in this flamboyant racy blend. The color of the wine is as dark as the night is long.
Nothing makes for a great movie plot than when someone tells the main character that they can’t, and then they do. This is exactly the theme for this year’s closing film feature, Maiden. The story is about British sailor Tracy Edwards, who was long dismissed and belittled as the only woman crew member on the ships where she worked. In order to prove herself, she entered the Whitbread Round the World Race, typically an all-male endeavor, with an all-female crew determined to prove her naysayers wrong. Filmmaker Alex Holmes creates an uplifting, against-all-odds story that will have you out of your seat cheering not just for the story itself, but also for the historical footage and method of historical storytelling.
To toast the end of this heroic seafaring saga, we cheer with a taste of Krug Grand Cuvée Champagne. While the house of Krug has been known for many years, it’s current presence and stature in the marketplace is due to the efforts of President and CEO Maggie Henriquez. Born in Venezuela and educated in the United States, Maggie was the former President of Möet Hennessy Argentina before taking her current position. Her visionary spirit serves as her inspiration as she guides Maison Krug into new areas, while still respecting the roots and history of how Krug came to be.
Whichever movies you decide to see this weekend, be sure to get in line early so that you have your first choice of seat in the house. If you are looking for some nourishment or libations before or after a film, enjoy a tasty breakfast or a freshly made salad and sandwich served with warm hospitality at The Beet, open from 8 am to 8 pm just steps from the Dreamland Theater at 9 South Water Street.
Cheers to the cinema and the sips that pair with the movies!