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  • Writer's pictureTony Elvin

Gladiator with Wine

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

Thank you so much to everyone that joined us for our screening of 'Gladiator with Wine' at The Electric on Saturday night.

Read on for details on all the wines from the evening, our gallery of photos, and bunch of trivia.

As promised, these are the wines we enjoyed ...

Wines fit for the Emperor

Passerina, Marche, Italy, Waitrose Found Range £9.99

An ancient rare grape variety found in Marche on the East Coast of Central Italy.

Rich golden colour in a Ruinart Champagne style bottle, delicate jasmine on the nose. Citrus leading to notes of apple and peach on the palate.

'When in Rome' Pecorino, Abbruzo, Italy, Sainsbury's £10.00

Another ancient grape, Pecorino is not just a cheese but a fantastic wine from the mountain slopes of the Abruzzo, below Marche on the East Coast. This wine actually takes it's name from the 'Pecora', the sheep that nibble on the grapes.

A crisp, refreshing white with balanced acidity and brimming with aromas of ripe yellow pear, crunchy apples and sage

Araldica Gavi, Piemonte, Italy, Majestic £9.99

(£8.99 as part of a mixed case of six)

Made from the Cortese grape, this could be Tony's favourite white wine. DOCG wine from Piemonte on the West Coast, 'foot of the mountain'. In a region best known for reds, Barolo, Barbera, Barbaresco and Dolcetto, this wine is a stand out.

Notes of lemon, lime and white flowers.

Baron Amarillo Ribera Del Duero, Spain, Aldi £7.49

This wine represents The Spaniard, Maximus. Bold, powerful and intriguing. From the rocky Northern Plateau in Castille y Leon, along Duero river, which becomes the Douro as it winds it's way through Portugal, to Porto and the Atlantic Ocean.

Rich dark fruits abound, this silky red from the Tempranillo grape is a Rioja beater.

'Nero Oro' Nero D’Avola Appasiamento Majestic £9.99

(£8.99 as part of a mixed case of six)

Sicily is famous for The Godfather, Mount Etna, Nero D'Avola and Grillo.

This wine is a Majestic favourite and made using the appassimento process. Appassimento is the process of natural partial dehydration of grapes to produce a greater concentration of colours, aromas and flavours in the wine whereby the grapes, once picked in bunches are left to dry on straw mats in huge lofts making a wine of greater concentration. The name comes from The Passion required to make them, the additional time it takes in preparation of such a wine.

Dried cherry and violet aromas give way to intense porty, plummy flavours of red fruit and vanilla.

The Gladiator Gallery

Gladiator Trivia

Some highlights from our movie trivia ...

  • Russell Crowe became good friends with Richard Harris during filming, a friendship that unfortunately lasted only a few years until Harris' death in 2002. Oliver Reed, on the other hand, took an instant dislike to Crowe, despite Reed's being good friends with Harris. At one point, Reed even challenged Crowe to a fight.

  • Oliver Reed died three weeks before principal photography ended. Because Proximo was considered a key character, a clause in the movie's insurance contract would have allowed the filmmakers to re-shoot all of Reed's scenes with another actor at the insurer's expense, about $25 million. However, most of the actors and crew were exhausted from the punishing schedule, and Ridley Scott did not want to cut Reed from the movie. The script was rewritten, and a body double and CGI were used to give Reed's character a plausible resolution.

  • Originally, Maximus was supposed to fight Proximo in the Colosseum after being captured, probably as a penultimate blow from Commodus. Oliver Reed's death forced a re-write.

  • Joaquin Phoenix ad-libbed his scream of "Am I not merciful?" Connie Nielsen wasn't expecting it, and her frightened reaction was genuine.

  • Joaquin Phoenix was incredibly nervous on set; he asked Russell Crowe to rough him up before their big scene together, to psyche Phoenix up. Crowe was at a loss. He went to Richard Harris for advice. "Mate, what are we going to do with this kid? He's asking me to abuse him before takes," he said. Harris replied, "Let's get him pissed." Over the course of several hours, and several pints of Guinness, Crowe and Harris relaxed their co-star.

  • Jack Gleeson modelled his character Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones (2011) after Emperor Commodus.

  • Maximus' description of his home--specifically, how the kitchen is arranged and smells in the morning and at night--was ad-libbed. It's a description of Russell Crowe's own home in Australia.

  • The wounds on Russell Crowe's face after the opening battle scene are real, caused when his horse startled and backed him into tree branches. The stitches in his cheek are clearly visible when he is telling Commodus he intends to return home.

  • Over the course of the gladiatorial scenes, Russell Crowe lost all feeling in his right forefinger for two years after a sword fight, aggravated an Achilles tendon injury, broke a foot bone, cracked a hip bone, and popped a few bicep tendons out of their sockets.

  • Although Commodus was initially favored by the Roman people, he lost that status through dramatic acts of megalomania. He is often considered the initiator of the fall of Rome. During his reign, he incorporated his name into many common terms, such as the terms for money and the people. Eventually, the citizens and the Senate had enough of his rule: he was poisoned and, when he vomited out the poison, he was strangled. Afterward, the Senate returned the language to what it had been before Commodus, and the many statues of himself he'd put up were taken down.

  • It is a common misconception that a Roman emperor put his thumb upwards to signify that a gladiator was to be spared, whereas thumb down meant that there would be no mercy for a downed gladiator. In reality, this gesturing was the other way around: thumb up symbolized a sword action (and thus death), and thumb down a sheathed sword (mercy). The crew was aware of this while making the movie, but since "thumbs up" is considered to be a good sign nowadays, they decided not to unnecessarily confuse the audience.

  • This is Russell Crowe's favorite of any American movie that he has done. He also cites Maximus as his favorite role.

  • Mel Gibson was offered the lead role, and turned it down. At 43, he felt he was too old to play Maximus.

  • Joaquin Phoenix was always Ridley Scott's first choice to play Commodus.

  • A central part of this movie's main battle theme was re-used nearly identically in the famous score of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003).

  • This movie started shooting without a locked screenplay in place. According to Russell Crowe, the initial draft was so bad that when he was approached for the lead role, not even the producer wanted to send him a copy, afraid that he "[wouldn't] respond to it". Crowe was instead urged to meet with director Ridley Scott first. Unbeknowst to the producer, Crowe had already obtained a copy of the script and disliked it, but was won over by Scott's take on the project, as well as countless re-writes.

Thank you!

We look forward to welcoming you back to another of our events very soon but why not check out our website or sign up to our monthly mailing list to find out about new events first:

Tony and the Wine Events Co Crew


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