Whether it’s observing the smooth texture of her skin, the shape of her lips, the silky strands of her hair or listening to her sexy accent when she speaks, the purity and beauty of French actress Catherine Deneuve seems to only get better with time.
In Indochine, an Academy Award-winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Deneuve plays Madame Eliane Devries, a wealthy woman living in French Indochina in the 1930s. After her royal family friends are killed in a plane crash, Eliane adopts their daughter, Camille, the young princess of Annam, a province of colonial Vietnam.
While raising the young girl on her expansive rubber-tree plantation, Eliane meets Jean-Baptiste, a handsome young French military officer. An intense affair develops between the two star-crossed lovers. But as the uprising against the French occupation continues, peace and love quickly become an illusion. In a series of risky events, a Mandarin emperor is assassinated, the workers on Eliane’s plantation become disgruntled, and the young, romantic Camille falls in love with Jean-Baptiste. As the consequence of military discipline, Jean-Baptiste is sent away and Camille leaves to find him.
Besides her concerns for the safety of Jean-Baptiste and Camille, Eliane must stay strong to survive the historic rebellion which leads to the First Indochina War and the eventual expulsion of the French from the country in 1954.
Based on the historic period spanned by the film, there were many great wines also on the rise, particularly red wines from the Burgundy region of France. One of the top producers at the time was Maison Louis Jadot, a classy négociant winery founded by Louis Henry Denis Jadot in 1859.
To match the character development, stunning scenery (shot in Vietnam, Malaysia and Switzerland) and the dazzling costumes featured in Indochine, try the Louis Jadot 2009 Gevrey-Chambertin Rouge, made with pinot noir grapes picked in the famous commune villages of Cotes de Beaune. In the glass, the wine has perfumed aromas of dark red fruit, rose petals and layers of spice. On the palate, the flavors expand with complex notes of ripe berries, plum, wild mushrooms and mineral; balanced tannins; and a long finish.
This elegant wine not only pairs perfectly with the beauty of Deneuve and the historic plot; but it also offers an ideal complement to fresh basil, mint, ginger and other flavors commonly found in Vietnamese chicken and pork dishes, or other styles of French-Asian fusion cuisine.
Christopher Sawyer is a celebrity sommelier, journalist and wine expert for wine recommendation website Likelii.com. Chris has been a personal sommelier for many luminaries, from the Getty Family to the Gorbachevs, as well as for Oscar-winning director and chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, John Lasseter. He was named Top Ten Sommeliers of Wine Country 2011 by The Wine Tasting Panel Magazine and travels the world as a judge in international wine competitions. He has been featured in a wide array of national media, including USAToday, MSN, NBC, ABC, CNN, Redbook, Maxim, National Geographic Traveler and Esquire.