Oscar-Winning Wines

Wines just as good as the movies.It's all about your viewing party on Oscar night, and I love how some people go crazy making all this food that matches the nominated movies. Well you should definitely do the same with your wine! For more fun wine tips, check out grapefriend.com

By Alyssa Vitrano

Les Misérables
Ah, who wouldn't raise a flag for a simple French wine even a villager can afford? Beaujolais is a really light, fruity option made from the Gamay grape. Villages-level Beaujolais is completely affordable (and not as pricey as the Grand Cru ones, which are amazing). Try the strawberry, satiny Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages 2011 ($11) or the more mineral, drier Potel-Aviron Beaujolais Villages 2010 ($14).

Django Unchained
Django's a modern spaghetti western, so go for an Italian grape that goes great with spaghetti. The high-acid Barbera will be able to match the equally acidic tomatoes in pasta sauces and pizza. Most Barbera's grown in Piedmont, Italy and I really like Marziano Abbona Barbera d'Alba 2011 ($25) which has great blackberry, violet and of course a good dose of acid. But they even plant some Barbera in California (they call Italian-style wines there Cal-Italians) - try the ripe, lush cherry Terra d'Oro Barbera 2010 ($18*).

Silver Linings Playbook
I highly condone Bradley Cooper's level of football fandom in Silver Linings Playbook, but I don't approve of his beer-drinking during games. He's totally missing out on so many awesome wines made by ex-NFLers! Mike Ditka used to coach the Bears and the Saints - now he makes wine. Try his easy-drinking "Coach" Cabernet 2010 ($16). Former Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe makes a deep, earthy blackberry Cab called Doubleback 2009 ($80) and former Seahawks QB Rick Mirer makes a riper, fruitier Cab called Mirror 2009 ($75). The price puts them in the elite category but they're both really good.

Lincoln
Zin was one of the first grapes planted in America so to honor our founding grape, grab a wine that honors our political founding fathers. The incredibly smooth and super jammy Federalist Zinfandel 2009 ($25) pops with black plum and blackberry. I feel like even the groups that were divided on slavery would agree this is a delicious wine. (Fun fact: Abraham Lincoln actually had a retail liquor license and opened a tavern in the 1830s in Illinois, though he rarely drank.)

Life of Pi
Pi grew up in Pondicherry, India before his epic sea adventure, so grab a good match for Indian food: Riesling! This grape comes in all different styles - light or heavy, sweet or dry. To balance the heat of spicy dishes, definitely have a lightly sweet one like Clean Slate 2011 ($10) - obsessed with how cheap it is compared to how good it is - or the delicious green apple, well-balanced Symphony 2010 ($15). And for non-spicy Indian food, try a drier one like the lime-zesty Breggo Riesling 2011 ($25) from Anderson Valley.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
When a wine's made biodynamically, the vineyard guys let things grow much more untamed, abandoning pesticides for more natural ways of farming. So grab one of these wild wines made in the southern Rhône. M. Chapoutier's been a leader in biodynamic wines and their Côtes-du-Rhône Belleruche wines are delicious and great values. Also, they come in Blanc, Rouge, and Rosé (all around $13) so there's something for everyone!

Zero Dark Thirty
The title refers to military slang for 30 minutes after midnight, which was when they raided Bin Laden's compound. So pour a wine whose grapes are picked in the middle of the night when the temperatures are coldest - ice wine! At night, grapes get frozen so the flavors are super concentrated when they press out the juice. The resulting ice wines are honeyed, silky, and phenomenal for dessert. Try Inniskillin Vidal 2007 ($62), all tangerine and lemony, or the elegant and heavenly Peller Riesling 2008 ($80) which is packed with tropical guava and sweet cinnamon. Both are from ice-wine-country Canada and fantastic to share with a whole group after dinner. If your defense budget's a little lower, check out Israel's offering, the marmalade, almondy Yarden 2010 ($29) made from Gewürztraminer grapes.

Amour
Didn't see this nomination coming? Yeah, me neither. But a great match would be a French wine that's a little more surprising and that people will loooove. Pinot Blanc is a super crisp, light, refreshing white, and my absolute favorite versions come from Alsace in France. Try the lemony, green apple Hugel Cuvée Les Amours 2009 ($19) which just reinforces the love theme!

Argo
One of my favorite movies of the year, Argo was all about secrets: hiding the refugees, creating false identities, fooling the movie press. So grab one of California's best kept secrets: Paso Robles Cabernet. Napa and Sonoma nab most of the attention, but Paso Robles is making really great smooth Cabs. And since it's far more lower-profile, you can get many of them for way less than all those $100+ Napa ones. The Estancia 2010 is the perfect value wine: blackberry, black currant, a little clove and only 14 bucks. An always-solid Paso choice is Justin, and their 2010 Cab ($26) is packed with black cherry and milk chocolate. Another fantastic one is J. Lohr Hilltop Cab 2010 ($35) which has amazing, velvety blackberry and cocoa flavors.

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