Wine in Notorious

Notorious is the classic Hitchcock film of 1946, starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Ingrid is enlisted by Cary to spy on some Nazis who have fled to Brazil. This film is a classic for many reasons - including the fact that key scenes take place in a wine cellar!

First we have Ingrid, just after her father has been sent to jail for treason. She throws a drunken party at her house, with cocktails all around. In fact, Cary lets her drive drunk!

Next, the two head down south. Cary and Ingrid fall in love. Cary even goes out to fetch some Champagne for the pair of them. He stops by the office and is told Ingrid has to go sleep with the Nazis, and gets so upset that he leaves the bottle behind. We see that it's Champagne, by someone & fils (and sons).

So Ingrid is pointed at one of the Nazis and told to seduce him. In the first seduction scene. the two share Champagne out of the big-bowl glasses that we now know are so bad for bubbles.

Now it's time to meet the Mom - a dinner party is held. One of the Nazis gets very upset by the wine bottles on the back shelf. The wine shown is a 1er Cru Burgundy - Volnay Cailleret Bouchard, Product of France. This famous winery has been around since 1731. The poor Nazi is slain for his reaction.

Ingrid marries the Nazi, and they throw a lavish party, with many bottles of Champagne. If you look at the bottles, there are 3 different types of bottles. All 3 randomly have a neck collar that says "extra qaality", but this collar is sometimes around a neck with a gold starburst, and sometimes around a neck with a larger, more plain circular device.

Cary and Ingrid go down into the wine cellar to see what secrets are hidden there. Cary starts looking through the wine lists hanging on the wall. One list has Piper Brut (a Champagne) 26 30 38 40. Next is Napoleon 20 24 29 - Napoleon is a style of brandy that is aged for 4 years or more. Many different labels have a "Napoleon" brandy. Finally is Quart de Chaumes 28. Quart de Chaumes literally means "quarter of thatches" and is a region of Anjou, France that is known for late harvest Chenin Blanc wines. So these are all lists of dessert wines - but are hanging behind bottles of Burgundy (i.e. French pinot noir).

I am very curious about what this grid actually means. Across the top are the days of the week - mo tu we thu fri sat sun. But then across from each wine vintage, there are a list of numbers and it appears the people are Xing down the count of what is left. So that would have nothing at all to do with dates, since you're moving from right to left as you X out each bottle. So maybe the dates on the top are meaningless?

In any case, this chart of dessert wines is hanging behind the bottles of 1934 Grands Vins de Bourgogne - Pommard Francois Penot & Cie - product of France. So one question is why Brazil would have labels with "Product of France" which is of course meant for an English-speaking market. And next, why these old bottles of fine Burgundy are standing up on their ends instead of laying on their sides like the other bottles here! And of course, since the bottles appear to be more than one row deep, when Cary breaks a bottle in the front, why didn't he put the replacement bottle behind the front row so that the front row would be nice and correct? The answer of course is plot :)

That's it for the wine! Soon Ingrid is being poisoned with coffee, and all thought of wine is gone. Still, a fun movie to watch!

Wine in Movies, TV Shows and Books

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.