A Sparkling Wine Winning Oscar’s Heart


PIPER-HEIDSIECK Limited Edition Bottle


In my favourite film of all time, and the one I play impetuously whenever the mood envelops me, a ship emerges from a blanket of fog while the Adagietto from Mahler’s 5th Symphony, mournfully guides the film’s opening credits and ultimately the destiny of the principal character. Death In Venice based on the slim novel by Thomas Mann and directed by the master craftsman Lucino Visconti is not for a mass audience, it is an acquired taste for all the senses, but senses which are receptive to an unusual experience – a gradual unveiling of flavours, a deliciously captivating stroke of genius where all the elements are in harmony, yet the harmony is only suited to a participant ready for the journey.

The only direction, the late actor Sir Dirk Bogarde was given by the late Italian director was to read the book 30 times to understand the character he was playing, and in one scene to stand when the gondola on which he was travelling, passed beneath the Rialto Bridge. The actor discovered at the film’s release, that the entire production was orchestrated to the Mahler symphony, and at the precise moment he stood on the gondola, the music reached a powerful crescendo. A masterpiece, choreographed to the minutest degree, without hype, without sycophantic pampering to the masses, and with virtually no promotional budget. Granted, this was 1971, but all the temptations of commercialism were alive and well even back then. The film was seen by a limited audience, it wasn’t particularly hip, and it didn’t burst onto the screen in glossy, funky colours with cool CGI added in post production. It was traditional, it was classic, it was tasteful.

I believe that the appreciation of wine is not unlike the appreciation of a good flick. I’ve discovered my wine and film philosophies are clearly connected. I favour under hyped, brilliantly produced wines and films…I shy away from anything that can afford a multi million dollar promotional campaign, and embrace small budget, carefully crafted gems which don’t enjoy mass distribution, but will be featured at special venues, where quality rather than quantity is appreciated. And the producer, or even the main players (or grapes) needn’t be mega stars. There is even a parallel to the method of Visconti when he suggested to the actor that multiple readings of the novel were essential. The flavour of the book, as in the flavour of the wine, and the subtle nuances, become only too apparent when you have a level of comfort with the content. The production of a wine and of a film have many comparables, but the most conspicuous is their attraction of snobs, and the army of critics, who get paid for a career I’ve never quite understood, or found relevant. And the sheer pleasure and escapism each allows from our pressure cooker world is second to none. A good film and a good wine should unfold it’s secrets slowly, and be savored attentively to fully appreciate the passion poured into the product by it’s maestro.

There are few who truly enjoyed Death in Venice as I did, there are few who genuinely enjoy dry wines from the Mosel region of Germany, as I do. There are many who salivate over The Avengers and Barefoot White Zinfandel. Whose taste is the correct one? Whomever puts the money down on the counter, for the experience! That’s who!

I’ve always got my nose in a magazine devoted to one of my favourite subjects: Films, music, cars, Charlize Theron and wine. Did you spot the odd one out? Yup, wine. The others you can be addicted to without the neighbours gossiping. I’m obsessive about my flicks, but if you chuck an over-hyped one my way, I tend to doze off during the opening credits. I don’t like hype. Niles and Frazier Crane were incredibly entertaining on the subject of wine, and Peter Seller’s description of a bottle he’d enjoyed, in the classic 60’s flick “There’s a Girl in my Soup” with Goldie Hawn was wickedly funny. A film up for an Oscar is not unlike a bottle of wine itself. It can be touted as the greatest thing since…well, since the last great bottle of wine the critic consumed, or it can be dismissed as total mouthwash.

Of course, being a thoroughly obnoxious bloke, I’ll go for the mouthwash every time. The same way I’d sit through “My Dinner with André” or “Chocolat” rather than an over touted 100 million Dollar blockbuster (Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean are of course the obvious exceptions). My worlds do harmonize once a year, and I indulge them to the hilt, as I put down my car magazine, stop watching Charlize on Netflix and pop a cork from some fantabulous nectar, as the stars take their seats for Oscar’s night out.

This year is an exceptional one for me, because I have a bottle of champagne from unquestionably the most celebrated Champagne House Piper-Heidsieck. And this year the French Champagne House Celebrates the Excellence of the Academy Awards® With a Grand & Bold Magnum Bottle of their precious elixir. I have a bottle of their ”Red Carpet Ready” limited edition magnum bottle that will be poured exclusively at this year’s 88th Oscars® ceremony and Governors Ball, the Academy’s official post-Oscars celebration. Only 1,000 bottles were produced (so now just 999 remain) the special limited edition magnum was designed by the 230 year-old French House specifically for the occasion with the word “Oscars” and the number “88” forming a golden “tiara” wrapped by hand around each bottle. You can see this in the photos that I took of MY own bottle below!!!

PIPER-HEIDSIECK Cuvée Brut is a blend of mainly Pinot Noir incorporating more than 100 crus from the Champagne region in France.  The colour has a bright shimmer of gold with a perfume of nuts and fresh herbs. The flavour is clean and fresh with plenty of fresh fruit coming through, which linger in your mouth eagerly awaiting another glass. Bravo Piper-Heidsieck. Encore.

The A-List actor steps up to the microphone and opens the envelope. The audience waits in hushed anticipation. And in the category of the Most Tasteful Celebratory Drink … the Oscar goes to PIPER-HEIDSIECK’s winemaker, Régis Camus. As Régis walks towards the stage to accept his award the show’s announcer says: Régis Camus has been named ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ eight times over the past ten years…”

PIPER-HEIDSIECK is imported into the United States by Terlato Wines


Bottle 1_Fotor P&B _Fotor

I’m tailgating with Brad Runge, the limited edition of Piper-Heidsieck, and my 2002 Jaguar XJ Sport.  Brad is the owner of V&J Coachworks, Paoli, PA who keeps the car looking impeccable. We will be celebrating the Academy Awards in style on Sunday for a special cause along with some other top marques of cars (whose bodies he maintains in red carpet worthy, very sexy looking condition) to go with the top Marque we will be drinking. Visit V&J HERE

(Italian handmade silk scarf designed and made by:


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