Universally synonymous with celebration, popping a bottle of French champagne is a guaranteed way to create an atmosphere charged with joy and conviviality– both in real life and in the movies! We’re taking a look at a few of the times champagne stole the scene in some of Hollywood’s most iconic films.
First, a little about champagne
We all love drinking it, but how much do you really know about bubbly? Champagne is a sparkling wine named after France’s beautiful Champagne region, the hilly, vine-covered area where it’s grown and bottled. Located less than 100 miles east of Paris, this region is known for its chalky, limestone-rich subsoil, which is ideal for growing the three grape varieties primarily used for champagne (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Meunier). It also lends the beverage those uniquely bright and acidic flavours we enjoy so much.
According to the Champagne Bureau (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne), there are currently 370 houses producing champagne, using grapes grown by approximately 16,200 wine growers in the region. As an essential part of the country’s cultural DNA, it’s no surprise that the French are the number 1 consumers of French champagne in the world, followed closely by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
Now that you know a little bit about this fizzy drink’s origins, let’s explore a few of the moments Hollywood gave French champagne the red carpet treatment!
Pretty Woman (1990) – Moët & Chandon
Pretty Woman is a classic romantic comedy featuring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. In a scene from this modern Cinderella story, Vivian (Roberts) tries what we can only assume is her first taste of a luxurious Moët & Chandon Champagne. Edward (Gere) then advises her to try it again with a strawberry, as the fruit enhances the champagne’s flavour. It’s a small moment and yet an important one, as it marks our leading lady’s introduction to the finer things in life!
The Seven Year Itch (1955) – Piper Heidsieck
In one of Marilyn Monroe’s most memorable roles, she says, “I go to sleep with a few drops of Chanel No. 5, and I wake up with a glass of Piper Heidsieck Champagne every morning,” solidifying the brand’s popularity at the time. In another scene, she asks, “Hey, did you ever try dunking a potato chip in champagne? It’s real crazy!” Believe it not, that’s a flavour combination we haven’t tried yet.
The Great Gatsby (2013) – Moët & Chandon
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel explores the dark side of the excesses of the Roaring Twenties. Almost 90 years later, director Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation became instantly iconic for its depiction of the glitz, glamour, and decadence of this opulent era. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby, a man who has earned a fortune bootlegging alcohol and become popular in high society thanks to his epic, alcohol-fuelled parties. It’s only fitting that champagne takes such an important part in the film, as Fitzgerald himself once noted, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right.”
Inglourious Basterds (2008) – Perrier-Jouët
More recently, Quentin Tarantino showcased a special bottle of Belle Epoque Brut from Perrier-Jouët. The Art Nouveau bottle, featuring delicate white anemones, makes several appearances throughout the film, although technically this champagne did not exist during the Second World War when the film takes place!
This completes our tour of some of the most iconic moments that French champagne has graced the silver screen. If this celebration of French refinement and savoir-faire has gotten you in the mood for a bit of bubbly, head this way for advice on food pairing and recipes with Champagne!