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Neorealismo Italian Cinema Night

Join us for a night of Italian cinema and vino! Wine frequently evokes a certain sentiment – one that is thoughtful, inquisitive, and creative. Let’s think creatively about wine pairings. Which of your favorite movies pairs well with that glass of wine you’re drinking?

One of the many beautiful revelations of Italian culture is Italian cinema, specifically Neorealism (c. 1943-1952). This Saturday, we’ve taken some of our favorite neorealist Italian films and paired them with Italian wine. We’ll have an epic film playing in the background as we toast to the neorealist geniuses behind them. If you’re on the hunt for some new movies to see in 2017, these are a great place to start, and you’ll have some wine to pair with each viewing too! To read more about Neorealism, check out this film-buff article.
 
Roma, Città Aperta (Rome, Open City) (1945) by Roberto Rosselini
This is Roberto Rosselini’s first film of his genre-defining trilogy, and was the first post-WWII cinematic masterpiece to tell the story of Italians against German occupation in a nearly documentary-like approach. This is the defining film of Neorealism, and soon after its release, ‘Rome, Open City’ won the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, solidifying Neorealism cinema throughout the Western World.
Wine pairing: In need of another deep, full-bodied red, with lots of grip and grit, I immediately thought of a Piemontese red. The 2012 Negro Lorenzo Langhe Dolcetto fits the bill. This Dolcetto has hints of spiciness and super ‘grapey’ smells, with sweet tannins and a bit of wild blackberries. It’s fresh but old school. Negro Lorenzo has a fossilized scalloped shell as its logo, symbolizing the history of the land, as marine fossils are still found in the sandy soils of this Piedmont vineyard.
Cheese pairing: Parmigiano Reggiano, raw cow’s milk from Reggio-Emilia, Modena, and Parma.
 
Umberto D. (1952) by Vittorio De Sica
Set in Rome, this moving, heart-breaking tale of a retired government worker Umberto D. is a true masterpiece of Neorealism. Umberto D., portrayed by Carlo Battisti, is threatened with eviction by his landlady. Umberto, along with his treasured terrier Flike, tries to find a way to stay in his home.
Wine pairing: Something dark and pensive such as the 2014 Venditti Sannio Rosso, a blend of Montepulciano, Olivella, and Aglianico. From the region of Campania, this wine has a little earth, a little black olive, and notes of cranberry and savory herbs. It’s a hardworking wine, and the kind Umberto D. would crave after a hard day of work and the grind.
Cheese pairing: Pecorino Toscano, sheep’s milk from Tuscany.
 
L’Avventura (The Adventure) (1960) by Michelangelo Antonioni
Monica Vitti plays a young woman who disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. Her lover and her best friend, during the subsequent search for her, become attracted to each other. The film is noted for its careful pacing and character development. There is the interesting effect of always having the hum of a factory smokestack buzzing in the background to distinguish the industrial feel for the film. Filmed on location in Rome, the Aeolian Islands, and Sicily, L'Avventura made Monica Vitti an international star.
Wine pairing: A sultry orange wine like the 2015 Cantine Valenti Ciuri di Lava. Notes of Sicilian oranges and marmalade in the nose, a dry finish with a bit of chalky Etna earth to it. It's adventurous and erotic.
Cheese pairing: Podda Misto, cow and sheep’s milk from Sardinia.
 
8 ½ (Otto e mezzo) (1962) by Federico Fellini
Fellini had writers’ block and thus was born ‘8 ½’. This is one of the sexiest, weirdest, most prolific, and inspiring films in the history of cinema, so of course it must be paired with a sexy wine like a Sicilian Frappato. The beach scene with Guido and Saraghina is wild, the Terme spa (cue: “Ride of the Valkyries”) outside of Rome is unforgettable, and the thick rimmed glasses of Anouk Aimee is just one of the memorable character facets of such a textured and rich film. Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a filmmaker on the brink of a nervous breakdown, who brings the viewer through his pandemonium of memoires and fantasies.
Wine pairing: 2015 Nerocapitano Frappato. Meaty and sexy, with a red cherry sour edge. You’ll go back for more and more.
Cheese pairing: Nababbo, goat’s milk from Lombardy.
 
I Girasoli (The Sunflowers) (1970) by Vittorio De Sica
Following Matrimonio all’Italiana (Marriage, Italian Style), De Sica directs the chemistry-filled, magical duo of Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni playing wartime newlyweds. Much of the film was shot in the Soviet Union and early in the film the two newlyweds make a 24-egg omelet together. The scenes of the USSR are gorgeous, and listening to Sofia Loren speak dialect is to die for.
Wine pairing: It’s such an engrossing scene watching Marcello and Sofia cook together, so what else to pair but a white wine from Campania to go with the 24-egg frittata? Let’s open the 2013 Casa di Baal Bianco di Baal IGT (Fiano, Moscato, Falanghina). A little sweet, a little bright, just like a sunflower.
Cheese pairing: Gorgonzola Dolce, cow’s milk from Valsassina, Lombardy.