And the Oscar for Best Wine goes to….

As Academy Awards' speeches go, the one given by Robert De Niro on Saturday night stands head and shoulders above the rest. Oenaphiles, sommeliers and vignerons in particular should take note: there's a new wine critic in town. “You talkin' to me?”

Presenting Francis Ford Coppola with the Irvin G Thalberg Memorial Award, De Niro referred to “the great Francis Ford Coppola's string of hits, unprecedented in their complexity and impact.” If you are thinking Apocalypse Now or Godfather I II or III, think again.

“Who can forget his 2007 Director's Cut Cabernet Sauvignon?” De Niro asked. “It's dense richness lightened by hints of cherry, mint and tobacco.”

De Niro then moved on to talk about the 1991 Rubicon Estate Proprietary Blend “Ultra rich and concentrated with impeccable balance, deep and complex with layers of cedar, currant, anise, blackberry, sage rich in minerals very plush at points yet firmly tannic and structured.”

At this point Coppola was seen nodding his head in self-congratulatory agreement. De Niro went on to say that Robert Parker had given it a 90, “finding fault with the aggressive tannin which he said caused some astringency in the finish” De Niro retorted, “Parker's a dick!” After much laughter from the Academy audience and a short chuckle from Coppola, De Niro continued, “For me, this wine is easily a 92 maybe 92 ½.”

Continuing the theme, the Irvin G Thalberg given for a life time of achievement in movie production became the award for “Wine Making and Luxury Resorts.”

“This didn't happen overnight,” said De Niro. “Francis came to it the old fashioned way through hard work and making movies,” De Niro paused, “like me!” The actor was grateful for his part in Godfather II “because of the opportunity to be directed by one of the giants in the wine business!”

“Seriously, Francis, you're an inspiration and one of my biggest influences,” said De Niro. “You can see it in my acting, in my directing, in my producing, and perhaps most of all in my De Niro 2010 estate-bottled Pinot Cab Shiraz blend!' 

[Video of the full speech given by De Niro]

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