Welcome to the seventh round of wine and movie pairings on Life With A Side Of Coffee! This round features films by Johnny Depp, an actor I have a lot of respect for. He truly embodies every character he plays whether it's Captain Jack Sparrow and his haphazardly ways or a small part like the bad wolf in Into the Woods. A psychologically troubled character in Secret Window, a youthful romantic in The Corpse Bride where he only lends his voice or that crazy barber in Sweeny Todd. He has yet to take on a role he couldn't conquer and for that he leaves me speechless. There aren't a whole lot of actors out there who have the talent that Johnny Depp has. You may not particularly like him but you should respect his artistry. It's one-of-a-kind nowadays. To start us off, I chose a film that I've wanted to see for a while but never have: What's Eating Gilbert Grape. I've wanted to see it more for the incredible performance Leonardo DiCaprio gave but I'm glad I chose it for Johnny's round. I went in pairing a movie and wine without really knowing anything about either so it was kind of a blind decision but I think it worked in an unusual way.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape, if you haven't seen it, is about a boy named Gilbert who's probably in his early 20's/late teens and his relationship with his brother Arnie. Arnie is mentally handicapped and is about to turn 18. This is a big deal because the doctors told his mom he wouldn't live to 10 so they're planning a big party. Arnie is such a sweet boy who is happy and loves life. He likes to play games and he loves to climb, something that gets him in trouble often. Gilbert is Arnie's main caretaker. His mother is not in good health and hasn't left the house since their father's suicide eight years earlier. Gilbert and Arnie have two other sisters, one who's older and takes care of the house, the other who is 15 and pretty self-involved. This life that Gilbert has, taking care of his mother and Arnie while keep the house standing and working at a small-town grocery store, seems enough until a girl walks into his life and changes things for him. He wants to get out but he feels stuck. He doesn't say it but you can tell. [SPOILER ALERT] After coming to terms with the life he wants and the life he has, lots of things fall into place for Gilbert. He accepts his mother for who she is and no longer feels ashamed of her. He accepts his responsibility for Arnie because he's his brother and no one loves him or cares for him better than Gilbert does. He seems like he is willing to stick with this life he has and then his mother dies suddenly but not quite unexpectedly. Not wanting her to be a joke, they all decide to burn the house with her in it. It was almost like a purification. They buried the past, not to be forgotten but to be left where it should be. And this turn of events allows Gilbert to keep his responsibility of Arnie while also traveling with the girl he loves.
It might sound sad, which it has a few moments, but it's actually a very insightful and uplifting story. It's incredible how many people feel weighed down because of responsibilities whether they're familial, financial or something else. Sometimes you have to just accept it for what it is, like Gilbert was willing to do, or you have to find a way to make a change. In Gilbert's case, fate happened and it allowed him to start a new chapter of his life. He's an incredibly loyal person, all the way down to his core, and sometimes that allowed people to take advantage of him. Being able to let that part of his life go, allowed him to move on and create the life he actually wanted.
You're probably wondering about the wine. I got a bit long-winded there. I just really loved this movie. The wine was a 2014 D'Aquino Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie White Label. Translation: it's a Pinot Grigio from Veneto, Italy. The website says: "With roots in Burgundy, the Pinot Grigio grape has arguably found its home of choice in Northeast Italy. The small, pinkish-gray-skinned grape flourishes in delicate sunshine of this sub-Alpine region. Pinot Grigio has unique floral and spicy notes rarely found in other areas." It has a "dry, soft but tasty harmonious flavor with definite and persistent background of pears and apple with a pleasingly bitter aftertaste." It has aromas of acacia flowers, citrus and hits of apricots and almonds.
This is a very, very dry white wine. If you love dry, citrusy wines, this is totally for you. I love citrusy wines but I'm not too big on the super dry ones. I will say that it was refreshing. This is a great wine for a warm summer night. It would pair nicely with fish or lighter pastas and even chicken. I got a floral scent while smelling the wine and very strong notes of pear and tart apple on the tongue. It has a bright flavor at first and then goes bitter towards the end. I feel like this wine was perfect for What's Eating Gilbert Grape because the description I just gave kind of describes Gilbert in a way. He is such a bright, caring person but his life is tied down pretty strictly in a bitter way. The refreshing quality of the wine reminds me of the end when Gilbert gets a brand new start. Rather than just pairing the movie with a wine based on whether it's a comedy or a drama, instead I ended up matching the wine with the character and his "happy ending." It's a direction I haven't explored in this series yet and I think I'm going to start doing it more often. What do you think? Do you agree with my assessment?
Make sure you check out my other Wine & Movie Pairing posts!
- 2013 Tempo Vero Montepulciano D'Abruzzo & Good Will Hunting
- 2014 Ruza White Zinfandel & What Dreams May Come
- 2014 Loves Me Not Malvasia Blanca & Mrs. Doubtfire
- 2013 Rombauer Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay & Arsenic and Old Lace
- 2012 Rombauer Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Houseboat
- 2012 Penascal Estate Tempranillo Rose & Charade
- St. Julian Red Heron & The First Wives Club
- 2012 Luna Pinot Grigio & The Last Five Years
- Xo, G Pinot Grigio & Breakfast at Tiffany’s
- Xo, G Pinot Noir & Jumanji
- Xo, G Rose & Into the Woods
- 2013 Kin + Country Validguie & Burlesque
- 2012 Wonderful Wine Co. Rose & Sideways
- 2013 Wonderful Wine Co. Riesling & Christmas in Connecticut
- 2013 Alcalà Monastrell & Love Actually
- 2013 Relevé Rosé & Crazy, Stupid Love
- 2013 Redux Sauvignon Blanc & Shall We Dance