Fred Tasker: Wines with a Hollywood pedigree

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014 - 12:00 am

The Oscars are coming March 2, and some of those other wine columnists are struggling to suggest what wine goes with each contending film. A nice New Jersey merlot for “American Hustle,” perhaps; something out of this world for “Gravity,” and so on?


This is a full-service column, so I’m recommending wines from the cinema idols themselves. Turns out there are lots of them.

If you want them for an Oscar night party, you might have to get some of them online, so I’m writing this column a week early. You can Google their websites to buy them.

I’ve tasted some of these wines but not all, so I’m not including tasting notes this time. Let me know how you like them.

Francis Ford Coppola: In 1975 this film director bought the historic Inglenook winery in Napa Valley.

In 2005, Coppola bought a second winery, Souverain, in Sonoma County, and renamed it Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Here he turns out a “Director’s Cut” series of wines including one he calls “Cinema” – a blend of cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel and petite sirah – for $20. Coppola also makes a light and fizzy sparkling wine called Sofia Blanc de Blancs, in tribute to his daughter, Sofia, who directed 2003’s “Lost in Transition.”

Antonio Banderas: The dashing “Zorro” star in 2009 bought half interest in a 600-acre vineyard in Spain’s famous Ribera del Duero area north of Madrid. He named it Anta Banderas. The winery makes a chardonnay and several blends of tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon and merlot priced at $16 to $45.

Madonna: The Material Girl’s parents, Silvio (Tony) and Joan Ciccone, run the Ciccone Vineyard and Winery in Sutton’s Bay, Mich., within sight of beautiful Grand Traverse Bay. They make a whole range of varietals for $13 to $17. Press reports say the dutiful daughter chipped in $1.5 million for the venture.

Fess Parker: Famous for his “Davy Crockett” and “Daniel Boone” TV roles in the 1950s, the late star bought 700 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley and established the Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard. Today it makes award-winning pinot noir, syrah, chardonnay and viognier, priced at $15 to $50.

Fred MacMurray: The dashing romantic and comedy star of films like 1940’s “Remember the Night” with Barbara Stanwyck and 1961’s “The Absent-Minded Professor” bought 1,700 acres in Northern California as a refuge for his family, and never planted a grape on it. After his death it was sold to the wine behemoth E&J Gallo, which planted 450 acres and sells wines under the “MacMurray Ranch” label. The winery makes chardonnays, pinot gris and pinot noir from $15 to $36.

Sam Neill: Born in Northern Ireland but raised in New Zealand, the actor in 1993 bought 5 acres of land in southern New Zealand’s wine country and founded Two Paddocks winery. Today he has 42 acres of riesling and pinot noir priced at $32 to $70 a bottle.

Emilio Esteves: The Staten Island-born star of “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire” and his fiancée, Sonja Magdevski, run Casa Dumetz at their Malibu estate, turning out syrah, gewurztraminer, grenache, viognier and a sparkling syrah called “Sonja’s Suds” in the $30 range.

Read more articles by Fred Tasker

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