Raising a Glass to Change: Wine for the Academy Awards

The 93rd Academy Awards are upon us this Sunday. From devoted movie buffs to just casual couch potatoes, the distinct set of challenges this year and the themes in many of the nominations has everyone's interest piqued. For the first time in Oscar history, there are two female filmmakers nominated for Best Director, the very first Asian American and Muslim actor were nominated for Best Lead Actor, and the first film for Best Picture with an all-black production team. We’re raising our glass to a season of change—and we’ve got just the wines for the job! If you’re having an intimate viewing party or just sipping solo we’ve got our nominees all cued up.

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Best Picture: Presence Without Push

The Best Picture category this year is full of heavy hitters. All of these films are meant to inspire critical thought, from Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, a poetic yet gritty take on the feelings of (and literal) displacement following the 2008 recession, to Shaka King’s “Judas and the Black Messiah” re-educating the American public on the Hampton assassination, there is a lot of power behind these films. You need a wine with a lot of character to match the tone of these powerhouse films, without being so heavy you feel dragged down. Our pick for this category is Valravn Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2018. Sustainably farmed in Sonoma County, California with lush dark cherry, ripe strawberry, and hints of rose petals dominating the ultrafragrant nose. The palate shows rich fruit compote and hints of cedar spice, balanced by beautiful elegance and minerality. An extraordinarily well-rounded wine with something for everyone.

Best Director: A Breath of Fresh Air

The Best Director category has a lot of energy this year. In no small part due to the marked diversity amongst the nominees and the stories they crafted. Chloe Zhao is the first Asian woman and woman of color to ever be nominated for her work in “Nomadland,” Emerald Fennell won a nomination for “Promising Young Woman,” while Lee Isaac Chung made the list for his exquisite work on the heartfelt Minari. For this category, you need a wine that exudes freshness and elevates as you welcome in this breath of fresh air. Yves Duport’s Aligoté Sans Soufre 2020 is new to our Brooklyn shelves but hails from Bugey, France where the patchwork of unique terroirs offer incredible diversity to the wines there. Organically farmed and bottled with no added sulfur, the wine is clean and honest. Beautifully mineral and almost filigreed in texture, the wine is full of apple blossoms and lemon, white peach, sweet herbs, and a touch of smoke.

Best Lead Actor: Bouzy For the Boys

While a terrible shadow was cast over this category by the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, there can be solace found in the nomination for his outstanding performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” This year, sages of the screen Anthony Hopkins (at 83, is there anything he can’t do?) and Gary Oldman triumphantly snagged nominations, and Riz Ahmed made history as the first Muslim actor to score the nomination for his role in “Sound of Metal.” Critical darling Steven Yeun, formerly of “The Walking Dead” became the first Asian American to be nominated for his role in “Minari.” Something classic and refined that speaks to excellence is needed for such a momentous occasion. Herbert Beaufort’s ‘Les Facettes’ Blanc des Noirs Champagne is just that and more. From the Grand Cru village of Bouzy, France this beautifully nuanced, sustainably farmed bubbly is crisp and refreshing. With mouthwatering notes of cherry blossom, apple cider, and lightly toasted brioche, this bubbly blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is a testament to craft that will brighten any celebration.

Best Lead Actress: It’s Ladies’ Night

The Best Actress category is serving pure, beautiful chaos this year. In years prior, there is a clear fan favorite decided by the outcomes of Critic’s Choice Awards, Golden Globes and SAG Awards, but this year there is no consensus. Viola Davis blew everyone away with her role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” where she was finally allowed to be big, messy and glorious, just like Ma Rainey. Singer Andra Day’s performance in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” was as legendary as the film’s subject. Vanessa Kirby’s earth-shattering birth scene in “Pieces of a Woman” will stay with audiences for all of time; Frances McDormand devastated audiences in “Nomadland,” and last but not least Carey Mulligan slayed audiences and bad actors in “Promising Young Woman,” the feminist revenge flick no one saw coming. In a year dominated by films that tell women's stories in all their rage, glory and beauty, we recommend Donne Fittipaldi Bolgheri Rosso 2018, a fiercely elegant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This wine captures all the luxury of Tuscany at a price point rarely seen in this quality. Fruity on the nose with notes of cherry, cassis, dried herbs and the slightest underpinning of spice. Easy to drink without sacrificing complexity, the round silky tannins and a satisfying finish keep you coming back sip after sip. The estate is run by Maria Fittipaldi and her four daughters who strive to make wines that embrace the many facets of femininity and tell the story of the Bolgheri terroir.