Russell Crowe plays Max Skinner, a busy investment trader with questionable ethics. Max spent his childhood summers at the chateau/vineyard of his Uncle Henry but hasn't spoken to him in years. When he learns that it was left to him in his uncle's will he leaves London for Provence to sell the estate and get back to Londonn. Over the course of his stay, Max mellows and starts to develop feelings for the area, its quirky inhabitants and for a sassy cafe manager, ultimately realizing there may be more to life than money and the next big trade. It's a cute little film, if a bit draggy at times, and Max takes time to warm up to. My favorite parts were the flashbacks to Max's summers with his Uncle Henry as I loved the interchanges between Freddie Highmore (who played young Max) and the great Albert Finney as Uncle Henry.
Uncle Henry: "Max, have I told you why I enjoy making wine so much?"
Young Max: "You don't make the wine, Uncle Henry - that guy Duflot does."
Uncle Henry: [Reproachfully] "In France it's always the landowner who makes the wine, even though he does nothing more than supervise with binoculars from the comfort of his study. No, I enjoy making wine, because this sublime nectar is quite simply incapable of lying. Picked too early, picked too late, it matters not - the wine will always whisper into your mouth with complete, unabashed honesty every time you take a sip."
Baked Wine & Spice Grapes
Slightly Adapted from EveryDay with Rachel Ray, November 2013
1 lb red seedless grapes
1/2 cup sweet red wine*
3 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
2 strips orange peel
Gingersnaps to serve
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
In a baking dish, toss grapes, wine, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel. Bake, stirring occasionally, until grapes are tender--about 12 minutes. Discard cloves.
Serve warm with gingersnaps.
*Recipe called for ruby port. I substituted a sweet red dessert wine.
Notes/Results: Baking the grapes softens them and brings out more of their sweetness--which along with the wine, goes well with the cinnamon-clove-orange mixture and pairs exceptionally with the crisp spiced ginger cookies. The wine I used--an Argentinian sweet and fruity red that I had already on hand, worked well. This is a quick and easy dessert--although if you end up with the really large red seedless grapes, it takes closer to 20 minutes to get them sufficiently tender. It does seem like a perfect cozy fall/winter dessert. I would make it again.
Thanks to Tina for hosting this round! If you missed this month's Food 'N Flix and you love food, films and foodie films, join us in November for Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, hosted by Cheap Ethnic Eats.