Woody Allen's films are much like good wine. They're layered, complex, sophisticated, enjoyable and, like the best wines in your life, memorable. At least, his good films are. The bad ones—well, they feel like a young, overpriced bottle that you wish you hadn't sprung for.
Last year, Allen released Midnight in Paris, and it was a return to form for him. It was whimsical, smart and nostalgic of the best parts of his career. The most memorable character in this one was Corey Stoll's Ernest Hemingway, despite being a supporting role. Stoll turned him into someone who was sophisticated and larger than life, pushing him beyond the film's other literary legends, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein. It was that performance that I thought of as I sipped the 2010 Luca Syrah Laborde Double Select, a hearty, meaty wine out of Mendoza, Argentina, which I picked up from Costco the other day for just under $20.
Even the bottle this wine comes in feels manly, serious and solid, the sort you could crack over someone's noggin if it came down to it in a wine-bar brawl. It's got a gorgeous ruby color, looking like it would go well with a slab of seared meat, dark on the outside and bright pink in the middle. This is tough stuff, the sort of wine that will obviously overpower something as finicky as fish or as paltry as poultry. The nose is earthy and ripe, and you get a sense of loam and wood before you bring it to your mouth, where it spreads out in an array of flavors. There's smoke and game and the big flavors of creamy full-grown berries, dark chocolate and intense spice. It hangs around your palate, but it's more like a flirtatious friend than the sort of guest you wish would leave.
Sure, Mendoza is a long way from Paris, but the sentiment is the same, and unlike many French wines, the Luca Syrah makes for a terrific value. Try it. Hell, try it with Midnight in Paris. It makes for a great pairing.Write to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You can follow Anders on Twitter at @anderswright.