Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Wine & film
Every summer from mid-July to early August there is an outdoor cinema festival at the Parc de la Villette in the northeast corner of Paris. As night falls at 10.30pm or so in these long days of the year, the film starts late, leaving a broad expanse of time to go tipple elsewhere or—which is more gratifying—directly in the park.
Aside from a couple of shameful tourist spaces—I'll name names: the Champs-Elysées and the Champ de Mars (that flat mown park in front of the Eiffel Tower)—where boozing has been proscribed, everywhere else in this fine town, one may bring one's bottle(s) and corkscrew, stemware, whatever else seems apposite, and tuck in.
And, oh my brothers, a few days ago they showed (in the original with subtitles) "A Clockwork Orange."
It had been warm that day, nearly 80°F after a week of chill, overcast and mediocre dashed-hopes summertime. No, this day was hot and sunny. It was still fine out as night fell, but it was also nice to have a woolen blanket (rentable from the park) and to sit on a canvas lawn chair and watch that still startling, still hilarious film under dark and beautiful yet calm skies, with a wind that kicked up.
My friend Meg brought the last of her stash of 2007 François Chidaine Montlouis, bought in a frenzy of appreciative relief in, I dunno, March or so, at a wine festival.
We'd had a curious bottle of bubbly back at the ranch (viz., her flat nearby) before striking out to the park, whetting our filmgoing vinous appetites with NV Domaine de L'Ocre Rouge "La Perle," a méthode champenoise from the south of France, about 11 miles north of Nîmes. Half pinot noir, half chardonnay, it rides the back of a very Champenois blend. And it has an ace up its sleeve: the vigneron is in fact a son of those chalky hills—Ayméric Beaufort, of the family renowned for the exuberantly good Champagne Jacques Beaufort. But given the dramatically different climate, the wine was a curious creature; dry with a bit of citrus pith, but also a pearish tone. An interesting discovery, and a fair friend for the small round yellow zucchinis my host had prepared, stuffed with ground pork and spelt, robed with a few leaves of basil. We should all eat basil when we go up to heaven.
Then: the park. The film. That dark yet clement sky. The savory Montlouis (damn, Chidaine is a monster of pitch-perfect winemaking). The lovely silence amid many. All were quiet. I hate to say it, but films are better when lots of people are watching them. I always go alone, but here we were all alone, and all enrapt.
But we were drinking best.