Pairing wine with movies! See the trailers and hear the fascinating commentary for these movies, and many more, at Trailers From Hell. This week TFH Guru Brian Trenchard-Smith takes us on a cinematic journey to The Land Down Under. Of course, there are wine pairings for each.
The Nightingale is a 2018 Australian western set in the penal colonies of Van Diemen’s Land, an island now known as Tasmania. The British, in the 19th century, sent their hardened criminals to the colonies instead of incarcerating them in that blessed plot, that earth, that realm, that England. They might have used the American colonies as their criminal dumping ground, had it not been for a little thing called the Revolutionary War. “No thanks, England. We have our own criminals to put behind bars!” “Right, yes, that island down under, that will do.”
The film centers on an Irish woman’s search for revenge against British military officers who attacked her and her family. Oh, yeah, she’s angry. She teams up with an Aboriginal tracker and sets out to beat the brush, looking for those responsible. Woe be to those who have incurred her wrath.
There happens to be a wine which seems tailor-made for The Nightingale. 19 Crimes features wine labels depicting an array of criminals who received “punishment by transportation.” There is even an app which allows one to hear their stories through a code on the label. It also seems that Snoop is now connected with the company. There is no mention of what crimes he copped to, except that of shilling his Cali Rosé while wearing a hoodie.
The 1940 war film, 40,000 Horsemen, focuses on several young members of the Australian Light Horse, a cavalry on horseback, which played a big role in several battles of WWI. They fought – and defeated – the enemy in the Sinai desert, staging what was reportedly the “last successful cavalry charge in history.”
It’s not all horseplay, of course. There is a love angle which involves a fair maiden who has an eye for the mounted military man. The romance blossoms after the young woman saves the life of one of the three young soldiers. She happens to be the daughter of a French wine merchant who is killed by the Germans for spying, so there’s some revenge in this movie, too. When they start messing with the wine guy, that’s when I get mad.
This wine is a little hard to find, but the Four Horsemen Sangiovese hails from Australia’s McLaren Vale. Four horsemen down, 39,996 to go.
The first movie to feature two Aboriginal actors in the lead roles was Jedda, in 1955. It was also shot in color, a first for an Australian film. The Gevacolor process was complicated, but then so was shooting a movie in the Australian outback. Things get done.
The title role is an Aboriginal woman who was raised by a white foster mother in Australia’s Northern Territory. Always barred from learning anything about her own roots, she aims to find out for herself as a young woman. She starts with an Aboriginal man who caught her eye. That turns out to be a bad idea.
He sweeps her up and takes her to his people, but they’re not having it because she is not their kind of people. You can see the tragedy coming a mile away, but the movie’s narrator spins it as two more for “the great mother of the world.” So much for the happy ending. No wonder Hollywood didn’t want to finance the picture.
The Northern Territory is an official wine region in Australia, but the area is not hospitable for the growing of the grapes. The land is either bone dry or tropically humid. The area was given official status simply so that every state and territory in the country could claim it.
There is a distillery – Seven Seasons – which offers such liquid refreshment as Green Ant Gin, Bush Apple Gin and Native Yam Vodka. That first one is not just a catchy name, by the way. The gin is actually made from real green ants. They say they taste like coriander, which begs the question, why not just use coriander? It’s easier to harvest and it won’t walk away from you. Anyway, Green Ant Gin has been winning awards, so there must be something there.