Make it a ‘Hollywood and vines’ Oscar night

February 27, 2014 

The Academy Awards ceremony is Sunday night, and some wine columnists are offering party pairings themed to the contending films — a nice New Jersey merlot for American Hustle, perhaps, or a Midwestern chardonnay for Nebraska.

We have a better idea: Make it a “Hollywood and Vines” night with wines by entertainment-industry luminaries. It turns out there are a good number of them.

In some cases the stars take a serious interest in their wineries; in others, they’re lending their names in endorsement deals. (I’ve tasted some of these wines but not all, so I’m not including tasting notes.)

Francis Ford Coppola: In 1975, the film director bought the historic Inglenook winery in California’s Napa Valley. He took a major role in the winemaking, and one of his early red blends, “Rubicon,” brought to mind the helicopter rocket fire from his Apocalypse Now. The wine is more subtle today — a blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot and merlot — but still powerful, and $155 a bottle.

In 2005, Coppola bought a second winery, Souverain, in Sonoma County, and renamed it Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Here he turns out a “Director’s Cut” line of wines including one he calls “Cinema” — a blend of cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and petite sirah — for $20.

Coppola also makes a light sparkling wine called Sofia Blanc de Blancs, in tribute to his director-daughter, Sofia. A blend of pinot blanc, sauvignon blanc and muscat, it comes in a can with its own sipping straw, at $5.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: The couple partnered in 2012 with France’s winemaking Perrin family to make Ch-au Miraval Rosé at their 1,200-acre estate in Provence. A blend of cinsault, grenache, syrah and rolle grapes, it’s $28.

Drew Barrymore: The actress fell in love with Italian whites, and decided to put her family’s name on one. Barrymore Pinot Grigio, IGT Delle Venezie, made by Northeast Italy’s Vinicola Decordi, is $20.

Madonna: The singer reportedly chipped in $1.5 million for her parents’ Ciccone Vineyard and Winery in Sutton’s Bay, Mich., which produces cabernet franc, pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot grigio gewurztraminer, dolcetto, pinot blanc, riesling, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, muscat and malbec wines, as well as cold-weather hybrids Marechal Foch and De Chaunac, in the $13-$17 range.

Fess Parker: Famous for his Davy Crocket and Daniel Boone TV roles in the 1950s, the star established the Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard in California’s Santa Ynez Valley. By the time of his 2010 death it was making award-winning pinot noir, syrah, chardonnay and viognier that’s priced at $15 to $50.

Antonio Banderas: The dashing Spanish star bought half interest in a 600-acre vineyard in the famous Ribera del Duero area north of Madrid in 2009. Anta Banderas makes a chardonnay and several blends of tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon and merlot priced at $16 to $45.

Sam Neill: Born in Northern Ireland and raised in New Zealand, the actor bought five acres of land in southern New Zealand in 1993 (presumably with earnings from his starring role in that year’s Jurassic Park), and founded Two Paddocks winery. Today he has 42 acres, producing riesling and pinot noir that sell for $32 to $70 a bottle.

Emilio Estevez: The Staten Island-born star of the 1980s films The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire and his fiancee, Sonja Magdevski, run Casa Dumetz at their Malibu estate, turning out syrah, gewurztraminer, grenache, viognier and a sparkling syrah called “Sonja’s Suds” in the $30 range.

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