Last night we went to one of the more interesting wine tastings we’ve attended in recent times. The occasion was a 75th anniversary pre-screening reception, before a Hollywood Theatre double bill featuring The American and Casablanca.

When we arrived, the compact and cozy lobby was packed with people enthusiastically tasting a selection of AOC wines from the Languedoc, along with some tasty canapés courtesy of Vancouver’s C Restaurant owner Harry Kambolis.

All too often, Languedoc gets lost in the great commercial wine shuffle, so it was good to see people having a chance to taste these distinctive wines (think Minervois), many of which are highly affordable as well as being readily available.

We like the idea of holding the tasting in the lobby and then flowing through into the auditorium at large, where people could meet mix and mingle and talk about the bottles, and the blockbusters coming up.

If you’re in the neighbourhood you can catch both the wines and the movies tonight and tomorrow (Sunday) night. It’s a great way to see a couple of classics and celebrate the longevity of such a great independent cinema (a rare thing nowadays), which produces some of the most inventive (and value priced) programming around. Check their ongoing schedule here. As for the pre-show wine tastings? We think they should make it a regular event…

In the meantime, here’s a couple of decent Languedoc drops you might just want to pick up yourself…

• Mont Tauch Fitou ‘Retro’ Growers Reserve 2008

This retro Fitou goes nicely with the occasion, Tim Pawsey photo

We’ve been a fan of the wines from this Languedoc co-op for quite some time. And, OK, the package also seems to fit the occasion nicely. The Carignan, Grenache, Syrah blend adds up to a well balanced, medium bodied red with some bright cherry tones and herbal notes, with a nice savoury streak that wine geeks like to refer to as ‘garrigue’. Perfect with pasta and tomato based sauces. Screw cap, and a good deal at BCLS $14.99

• Antech Cremant de Limoux 2006

Champagne style on a crémant budget. Cool. Tim Pawsey photo

Our perennial top ‘Champagne knock-off’ comes from Limoux in the Languedoc. (Lesser known wine factoid: Benedictine monks at Saint-Hilaire abbey, near Limoux, discovered their version of sparkling wine in 1531, a century or more before Dom Perignon reported ‘drinking the stars.’) The brioche (bready) and toasty notes on the nose of this wine do indeed make it quite champagne-like.  Pretty medium gold in the glass with plenty of bubbles, it’s deliciously full yet quite subtle on the palate. And at BCLS $24.99 it’s a steal.