Top 10 Holiday Wine & Movie Pairings

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miracle.jpgBy Courtney Cochran

When it comes time for the holidays, little sounds as good as a cozy night in with loved ones and a great seasonal film. So read on for our list of top holiday films - each one paired, of course, with a superb vinous partner. Because here at WineCountry, we wouldn't have it any other way.

10: Miracle on 34th Street
This 1947 holiday classic tells the tale of a precocious six-year-old who doesn't believe in Santa Claus - that is, until she meets a Macy's toy department Santa (72-year-old Edmund Gwenn, in an Oscar-winning performance) who insists he's the real St. Nick. Heartwarming and full of nostalgia, it's a can't-lose cinematic selection for the season. Pair the original black and white version of the film (our choice) with Meyer Family California Port ($35), a warm, soulful sticky tailor made for a cozy night in.
9: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Only Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) could get away with the insanely inappropriate and uncomfortably hilarious gags that mark this film from start to Yule-studded finish. Highlights: Disaster-prone Griswold serves up just about every holiday disaster possible, musters moping teens and negotiates with a mooching relative (a raunchy Randy Quaid). Pair this laugh-out-loud holiday romp with 2007 Earthquake Zin ($20), a hedonistic, unapologetically flamboyant red from California's hot Lodi. ;

8: Home for the Holidays
Director Jodie Foster delivers warm laughs and family angst aplenty in this feel-good film about a single mom (Holly Hunter) who loses her job and must cope with a wayward teen (Mom, I'm losing my virginity this weekend) and colorful relatives over Thanksgiving. Pair it with 2007 Château Thivin Brouilly ($16) a pert, resiliently fruity red from one of the top growing regions in France's Beaujolais.

scrooged.jpg7: Scrooged
Leave it to former SNL funnyman Bill Murray to bring us a deliciously dark update of Charles Dickens' holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. In Murray's popular 1988 rendition, we follow a schmarmy TV exec on - surprise! - a ghost-ridden night of reckoning one Christmas in Manhattan. Watch for fabulous special effects as well as impressive celebrity cameos, including a rousing musical rendition from Al Green and Annie Lennox. Pair it up with a dark, brooding Petite Sirah from the Sierra Foothills; we like Lava Cap's 2005 "Granite Hill" El Dorado Petite Sirah ($30).

6: Home Alone
The John Hughes-penned holiday flick that made Macaulay Culkin the world's biggest child star is big on laughs as well as box office mettle (it grossed some $533 million in theaters). We love Culkin's spirited portrayal of an eight-year-old accidentally left alone when his family jets to Paris for the holidays, and who can forget Joe Pesci's hilarious burglar bent on breaking into the boy's home? Pair this cheerful holiday blockbuster with 2008 Tablas Creek "Cote de Tablas" Paso Robles Blanc ($20), a precociously aromatic, fruity white from California's Central Coast.

5: A Christmas Carol
This 1951 rendering of Charles Dickens' classic novel is considered the definitive film version (though we love Bill Murray's, too). We especially love the old school black and white coloring and effects, not to mention the way the film tugs on all the right heartstrings as we follow miserly London businessman Ebenezer Scrooge through a night of reckoning with the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come. Pair up this nostalgic treat with a bittersweet Broadbent 3 Year Fine Rich Madeira ($17), a cold weather-ready sticky with surprisingly warm flavors.

4: Meet the Parents
This 2000 Ben Stiller/Robert De Niro vehicle delivers major laughs as Stiller's painfully bumbling Greg Focker travels home for the holidays with his would-be fiancé to meet her parents (De Niro and a brilliantly cast Blythe Danner). Lost luggage, fires, pet pranks and serious misunderstandings ensue in this superb side-splitting comedy of errors set against a wintry white backdrop. Pair it with 2005 Swanson Oakville Merlot ($22), made with the misunderstood but often stellar Merlot.

3: Love Actually
If you love Christmas, romantic comedies and unapologetically happy endings, then tune in to Love Actually this holiday, a British film by the writer of Bridget Jones's Diary that's as exuberantly entertaining as it is sweet. And with some eight couples' affairs of the heart to follow, this winning flick not only boasts a winning cast (think Hugh Grant, Keira Knightly, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson, to name just a few) but also a winning amount of intrigue set to a bestselling soundtrack. Match it up with 2006 Phifer Pavitt "Date Night" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($75), a sweetly named red you might just fall in love with, actually.

2: A Christmas Story
Bullies, BB guns and frozen tongues - the holidays just wouldn't be the same without this 1983 nouveau classic about an Indiana boy who goes to great lengths to ensure he gets his dream Christmas gift. With its expert meshing of Americana and holiday themes, A Christmas Story comes in close to the top for us in overall excellence in the holiday film category - making it a must-see this year. Pair it with 2006 Casa Blanca Banyuls ($23), a sweet southern French stickie that's also tops on our list (not to mention tailor-made for pairing with chocolate.)

wonderfulife.jpg1: It's a Wonderful Life
Initially a box office flop, this 1947 winner shines today as one of America's most treasured films - and boasts a holiday backdrop to boot! Down and out, George Bailey (James Stewart) is contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve, only to be saved by an angel who shows him what the world would have been like had George never been born. It's Dickensian melodrama at its best, and viewers will find plenty to celebrate in a tear-jerking finale that affirms the importance of friendship, perseverance and - sigh - love. Match this one up with 2002 Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut L'Ermitage ($35), a vintage-dated bubbly made on American soil with - we firmly believe - no shortage of gratitude for the good things that life brings us.

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Nicely written Courtney. Love the choices for Scrooged and especially Miracle on 34th Street. Can't wait to see what you do with Summer Blockbusters!

Love this concept. Having a hard time deciding between #3 and #1.

What a clever article! Thanks for the ideas.

Number 2 for me. "You'll shoot your eye out!" Favorite line. This may come off dumb, but what is a French Stickie?

Cool read, thanks for the info!

I love this! Just what I was looking for--

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