If ever there was a film made for anyone whose mantra is Thank God for Red Wine then it’s RED OBSESSION (PG).
Combining his passions for pictures and plonk, writer/director/producer Warwick Ross has made a vintage documentary to savour.
Apart from heading up Lion Rock Films, Warwick Ross is also a vigneron. His winery, Portsea Estate, in Victoria has won national and international awards for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
But RED OBSESSON goes much further afield than his own fruit of the vine and work of human hands scenario.
With co writer/director producer, David Roach, Ross has fermented a fascinating foray into the fever generated by Bordeaux wines in the ballooning Chinese market.
Starting with a tracking shot of what looks like a shrine to wine underscored by Jeff Beck and Joss Stone’s rendition of I PUT A SPELL ON YOU, the film makers prep us with a short history of Bordeaux, the great Chateaux, the recent consecutive vintages and the collusion between critics and makers that conspires to keep the cost high.
Enter the dragon, cashed up and ready to buy expensive cru by the flagon. With America flagging under the crushing GFC, that superpower has been succeeded by the emerging superpower, China.
It’s a cellars market as most cashed up Chinese buy the wine as investments rather than a convivial accompaniment to a meal. Not satisfied to merely import the wine, enterprising dragons have begun production of home grown varietals after careful study of the traditions of Bordeaux. The obsession has manifested itself not only in the viniculture but also the architecture with a Chateau more Francois than Chinois being built eighty klicks outside of Beijing.
The production managed to secure some of the biggest names in the international wine world. People like Charles Chevalier (Chateau Lafite) and Wine writers and critics like France’s most famous wine critic, Michel Bettane, UK wine critics Janice Robinson MW, Steven Spurrier and writer and broadcaster, Oz Clarke. There is also input by the world’s most famous interviewer and wine lover, Sir Michael Parkinson as well as filmmaker and owner of Inglenook Winery, Francis Ford Coppola.
Narrated in a marinade of melody and mellifluousness by quaffing connoisseur Russell Crow, RED OBSESSION tills its territory in a terribly entertaining manner making it the top of the top in a vintage year of documentary film making. Top drop. Cheers.