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7:00am Saturday 25th February 2012 in Lifestyle
Fancy a drink? Our drinks columnist Sam Wylie-Harris looks at some trophy wines suited to the red carpet, ahead of the Oscars.
The penultimate pictures party, the Bafta Awards offer Brits a snapshot of who'll be the toast of Hollywood on Oscar Sunday.
A starry, starry night, the 84th Academy Awards on February 26 is the ultimate A-list bash, and a brilliant excuse to create a ballot, cast your vote and step into a stellar cellar for some best dressed labels.
With a front-row seat and an evening of red carpet glamour, here are some celebratory wines to lay out for friends to applaud the critics' choice, or console the nominees.
The official champagne for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Taittinger Brut Reserve NV (£35.99, Tesco) has won numerous accolades and is the fizz of choice for special awards dinners. It's elegant and toasty with a fine mousse, and a lengthy enough finish to complement a long acceptance speech.
For more than 30 years, Villa Maria has romped home with more medals than any other New Zealand winery, and no doubt it'll be backing Kiwi funnyman Bret McKenzie for the Best Song Oscar with his nomination from The Muppets.
In tune with his charming ditty, try Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Marlborough, NZ (£9.49, Waitrose). A lively fruit salad that leaps from the glass, it's herbaceous with hallmark gooseberry flavours and green nettles on the mouth.
The stars of the Bafta Best British Film award winner, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, will be hoping to repeat their success on the other side of the pond, and an English wine from a top drawer producer should spark some powwow around this famous spy thriller.
Try Chapel Down's latest release, Chapel Down Chardonnay 2010 (£13.99, www.slurp.co.uk), Tenterden, Kent. Unoaked, it's a clean, fresh mouthful of green apples with apricot and lime flavours, and typifies the citrus-driven style of English wine.
After Meryl Streep's triumphant Bafta win for The Iron Lady, fans will be hoping she trips the light fantastic (without losing a stiletto) to receive the Oscar for Best Actress.
To wish her well, try this gem from New Zealand's own first lady of wine, Jane Hunter OBE. A seasoned trophy winner, her Hunter's Gewurztraminer 2010, Marlborough (£12.99, www.laithwaites.co.uk) is an excellent introduction to this sweeter style of white wine. Floral and blossomy with a blast of lychee, there's a subtle fizz for extra freshness and a delicious drop with Asian snacks and bites.
Veteran director Steven Spielberg will be hoping his equine epic War Horse wins by a mile, and the movie's histrionics call for a pukka red for sentimental moments.
Try the aptly-named Show Stopper 2010, Durif, New South Wales, Australia (£8.99, www.laithwaites.co.uk), made from a grape you won't find on the high street. Rich, velvety and spicy with deep savoury fruit and high tannin, it's gratifyingly intense when there's too much horsing around on the stage.
It was a golden night for French silent movie, The Artist, which scooped seven gongs at the Baftas, and the cast are hot favourites in Tinseltown.
To keep the fervour flowing, try The Society's Celebration Cremant de Loire (£10.50, www.thewinesociety.com) for a flirty fizz to serve at peak moments.
A dry French sparkler from the majestic Loire Valley, it's bright and full-bodied enough to support this romantic film.
Or if you prefer the minerality of a classy Chablis, try ES Chablis 2010 (£9.34, Asda). Deep apple fresh with a hint of oak, classic mineral shell and good acidity, it's a top pairing with delicate seafood canapes.
If he's not pipped to the post, Woody Allen will be hoping to charm the critics with his romantic comedy Midnight In Paris, which has landed the director his best reviews in recent years.
And for a trophy wine to cheer all the nominees' best efforts, try Chateau La Dominique 2008, St Emilion, Bordeaux (£30, www.bbr.com). A youthful merlot from the pretty village of St Emilion on the Right Bank, it's medium bodied with black cherry and red fruit flavours, some leaf and cassis, firm tannins and elegant structure.
A claret with good cellaring potential, you can always lay it down if your film doesn't sweep the board.
Best buy With a super toasty character and fresh, citrusy nose, you can't go wrong with these brilliant, award winning bubbles while they're on special offer. Try Finest Premier Cru Champagne NV (£15.99 from £20.99, until Feb 21, Tesco).
Liquid news Blonde is best... Thornbridge Brewery has scooped two top awards in the 2012 Craft Beer In Keg Competition, held by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). Thornbridge's Chiron was judged gold medal winner in the Champion Premium Bitters, Pale and Golden Ales category, while its Jaipur IPA won gold in the Champion Strong Bitters and IPAs. For more information, visit www.thornbridgebrewery.co.uk