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  • Writer's pictureTony Elvin

Merlot on the Orient Express

Zoot Alors! Madame et monsieur, what a night on board the Orient Express we had!?

As promised, read on for details on all the wines and trivia plus a few cheeky snaps from the evening.

Our on board wine menu

'Mayerling' Rosé Cremant d' Alsace, Cave de Turckheim, Turckheim, Alsace, France, £17.00 online

Collected from our Strasbourg stop. Strawberries & cream soda on the nose, clean, dry fresh palate of fresh raspberry and citrus.

Waitrose Blueprint Range Dry English White, Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking, Surrey, England - Waitrose £11.49

Our hybrid grape Seyval Blanc dry English white wine. This grape is contraband in the EU but is well appreciated in England, Wales, Canada and East Coast USA where it flourishes in a cooler climate. Fresh and grassy on the nose, zippy citrus on the palate.

Marcus Huber Gruner Veltliner, Traisental, Austria - Waitrose £11.99

Citrus and white pepper on the nose. Citrus and orchard fruits on the palate with a racy minerality. The hills are alive with the taste of Huber's Gruner . . apologies, wrong movie!

La Umbra Merlot, Transylvania, Romania - Waitrose £7.49

Saving bears one sip at a time, our Merlot on the Orient Express! A donation from every bottle of La Umbra sold is made to Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Transylvania. La Umbra, meaning 'in the shade', represents the new life these rescued bears now have, free to roam under the shade of a large forested sanctuary. Red berries and spice.

Ephusus Cabernet Öküzgözü, Izmir Agean and Elazig Eastern Anatolia, Turkey - Turkish Porter £10.99

I this picked little number up in Istanbul, this is a Turkish blend of grapes from Izmir and Anatolia. Wine from one of oldest wine countries in history, Turkey has a history in wine making, 7000 years in the making. Ephusus Cabernet Öküzgözü (oh-cooz-goe-zue) On the nose sour cherry and plum. Soft tannins, long fruity finish.

Orient Express CCTV snaps

Magnifique Trivia

The classic 1883 journey ran between Paris and Istanbul with stops at Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, and Bucharest. The route in our movie is the Simplon route; Milan, Venice, Belgrade & Sofia. Simplon is the name of a tunnel linking Switzerland to Italy, saving half a day's travel.

Our train today very authentic to original .. no private bathrooms, even in 1st class. Just toilets, no bath or shower

They built one mile of real track for the shooting of the movie. Branagh genuinely walked across the train roof, although attached to wire, he was terrified.

Agatha Christie was inspired to write the story by an incident where the Orient Express was caught in a blizzard and stranded in Turkey for six days. Christie was then involved in a similar situation when travelling on the Express two years later when part of the track was washed away from rain and flooding.

At least one real murder took place on the Orient Express. Maria Farcasanu was robbed and murdered by Karl Strasser, who pushed her out of the moving train one year after the book was published. The book was originally entitled 'Murder on the Calais Coach' as a six instalment newspaper series. Just one year later renamed Murder on the Orient Express.

Also, in 1950, Simon Karpe disappeared from the train under suspicious circumstances involving espionage, inspired Ian Fleming's book "From Russia With Love".

This star studded cast have 35 Academy Award nominations between them.

Almost entirely all the cast had some connection to Branagh; friends, previous co stars of stage and screen.

Maybe it was this familiarity that led to complacency from Johnny Depp, arriving late and hungover, early in filming. Branagh dressed Depp down in front of the cast and threatened to find someone else to play the part. Depp was never late again.

Depp asked Branagh to apologise to Derek Jakobi for shouting at him. Jakobi actually inspired Branagh to become an actor.

At weekends the cast played Werewolf together, you may know the game better from the recent TV show The Traitors. Penelope Cruz would often win, because she seemed so innocent.

You see 12 passengers sitting in a tunnel at a long table. This scene depicts "The Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Johnny Depp upon meeting Daisy Ridley asked her if she was in Star Wars, she said yes, but said he hadn’t seen movie yet but was a big fan of Peter Cushing. She admitted that she wasn't in that particularl Star Wars movie. Depp just said oh and moved on.

Josh Gad "interrogated" an annoyed Daisy Ridley several times to get an answer to questions about Star Wars, The Last Jedi, filming her reactions with his smartphone.

Trivia courtesy of IMDB

Merci mon ami, until next time!

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