Sarah Jessica Parker, Wine-Maker Extraordinaire, Can’t Make a Cosmo
Most of us can’t divorce Sarah Jessica Parker from her Carrie character in Sex and The City, and it’s hard to believe the iconic TV show has been defunct since 2004. “When we think of Sarah Jessica Parker, we think of sex… and the City,” the Today show co-host Hoda Kotb said this week. “Maybe not so much sex, but sauvignon blanc,” Parker quipped back, dangling a glass of white wine. Parker was referring to her new line of, yes, wine, the Invivo X Sarah Jessica Parker, a new sauvignon blanc available at (among others) the Park Avenue Liquor Shop.
SJP is no stranger to the business of branding; she’s a seasoned entrepreneur who already has her own line of shoes (she’s been spotted this week wearing the Anahita) and perfume (the Lovely is as feminine as you get). While we always thought Carrie was a firm devotee of the Cosmopolitan, this clearly signals a new era. The wine, which is harvested in the Marlborough region of the Oceanic island, is said to have notes of grapefruit, passionfruit and citrus zest. We couldn’t help but wonder what it really tastes like, so we consulted Miss Parker herself, asking the “one sip a night gal” about all things boozy.
NADJA SAYEJ: Hello?
SARAH JESSICA PARKER: Hi, it’s Sarah Jessica calling. Sorry for calling you late, all the other interviews went a little later than expected. They weren’t as punctual as I had hoped.
SAYEJ: That’s a good sign—that you like to talk about wine?
PARKER: I do!
SAYEJ: Are you hungover from the launch party last night?
PARKER: No, I’m not. I’m not going to say I’m abstemious. I made one glass last a long time and I’m going to say that I was completely in a minority. Everyone else was making three or four glasses last a very brief period of time.
SAYEJ: So, I guess people do like your new line of wine?
PARKER: OMG I was thrilled! Someone turned to me last night and said, “I’m on my sixth glass,” and I said, “Wow, fantastic. That’s thrilling to hear.”
SAYEJ: What’s the most drunk you’ve ever been?
PARKER: I don’t know. I can’t say that I’ve been drunk. I had to be drunk ago years ago on a television series and I had never been drunk, so I asked my friend Willie Garson, this was in the late 1980s or 1990s. I asked him to take me out and get me drunk because I really didn’t know how to behave as someone who was inebriated or someone really in their cups. I guess I got maybe drunk? But I was so aware of it the whole time, that it wasn’t a particularly enjoyable experience. I remember it, but I wasn’t sick the next day and I didn’t throw up.
SAYEJ: Then what was it like?
PARKER: The one thing I recall from being drunk, for me, and what was really about two cocktails, is that I really noticed the details of the women’s bathroom in the bar. And that’s pretty much it. I remember waking up the next day and thinking to myself, “God, is this a hangover? I don’t think I have a hangover! How utterly disappointing.” So, there you have it, that’s my debauched, drunken story. It’s pretty dismal, isn’t it?
SAYEJ: I couldn’t believe it when Andy Cohen said you were a “one sip a night” gal?
PARKER: We’ve been friends for a long, long time. Yes, as told by Andy Cohen, for many years, I just didn’t drink as much as anybody else. I think I’ve been drinking wine for about 10 or 12 years, actually. I started drinking wine because I travel so much and I always wanted to have local experiences everywhere I went and wherever I go.
SAYEJ: How did you go about that?
PARKER: I always ask the server, wherever I go, for their local wine. “What is your local wine? Is this your table wine?” I think you learn so much about wine, regions, climate, and soil by just having that local wine in a carafe without a label on it. I have always enjoyed that, and it’s only really in the past five years that I drink wine. Just drink wine!
SAYEJ: Do you remember the city or the country that you visited that turned you onto wine?
PARKER: I think it’s an accumulation of this: The more you try, the better you understand it, the more you develop a palette for it, the more curious you are. One recent summer, just being in the foothills of Mount Etna in Italy and having that wine. Again, it’s to tie into the local, Sicilian wine and how incredibly interesting, as well as complex, it is. When you have a wine where you can taste rock, mineral and dirt, I love that. I love that! I think that’s been it for me, for a lot of places, and not just within the past five years. The last five years, I’ve had three kids! That’s probably why it has been… I have three kids.
SAYEJ: Are you a wine snob?
PARKER: I wouldn’t say I’m a wine snob, but that’s not to say I don’t have wine that I prefer. Meaning, there are wines that I love, or think that I love. I’ve learned a lot from lots of people, and its really because of travel.
SAYEJ: Yeah, definitely.
PARKER: I think being around people in other countries and listening to them and remembering what I like. I’ve been listening to people, too, on the rare occasion of a fancy restaurant—or even a restaurant with a great sommelier who can talk about a wine that they love that you haven’t heard of, something that they’re excited about. Like something from a small vineyard somewhere. I think all of that has been super exciting, even as a grown-up, frankly.
SAYEJ: What’s the best time to drink wine?
PARKER: I love drinking wine at the end of the day or opening a bottle of wine for dinner. But, to be honest, I probably don’t keep up with many of my friends. [Laughs].
SAYEJ: You’ve said before that there’s a community vibe to sharing wine.
PARKER: It’s true. We cook a lot, especially in the summer. I mean, we do also in the fall and winter, but people aren’t coming over to our house as much because of school, but in the summer, we cook all summer long. People are always at our house and we’re at our friends’ homes all the time, too. There’s a big group of us that do that. And when we do these get togethers, everybody always drinks wine. It’s just done. It’s very much habit and very much a part of those late days and evenings together. We all love it.
SAYEJ: Because of your role as Carrie in Sex and the City, everyone must think you drink Cosmopolitan cocktails everywhere you go, no?
PARKER: I do love a Cosmo! But I didn’t drink a Cosmopolitan until loooooong after the show was over, which is so weird! I never had a real Cosmopolitan, like really, really truly. Like, I didn’t order one, but people would hand them to me, and I’d hold them in my hand not to be rude. But it was only really, not until the last few years, that I really loved a Cosmo. But I can’t make a Cosmopolitan. I don’t make drinks at home, I don’t know how to make cocktails. So, that’s why wine is my friend! All it takes for me is a corkscrew or just a twist of the wrist.
SAYEJ: And ta-da! Your sauvignon blanc.
SAYEJ: I read that the on-set Cosmopolitans you all drank on Sex and the City were either water and food coloring or watered-down cranberry juice?
PARKER: Yeah, it was probably cranberry juice and water and slices of lime or lemon and a chilled glass.
SAYEJ: So how did you make this wine, anyway? The company is in New Zealand. Did they show you a bunch of blends and ask you to choose one?
PARKER: We did everything together with the blend. We were down to beakers. I was blending it with them! It wasn’t just being presented with one or two glasses, it was a full-on real, well-documented and recorded four or five hours of just sitting there with three or four very specific bases that were based on conversations we had been having for about six months and harvesting the grapes in March in New Zealand and bringing them here in the latter part of May and just working and working and working it out together. It was so interesting and so exciting.
SAYEJ: It’s called “fruity with a long finish,” but how do you describe it in wine jargon terms?
PARKER: I define it as nimble and recognizably a sauvignon blanc, but gone rogue. I think it behaves, but it’s a little bigger than some sauvignon blancs, which tend to be a little more thin, and a little bit more pointy. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, they’re just kind of a higher finish. This is more balanced, and it’s simply a little bigger. It’s not a chardonnay at all. No confusion there!
SAYEJ: For the people who have tried it, what are they saying so far?
PARKER: It’s definitely fragrant, so last night at the launch, people were saying that they smell even apricot in it, which is kind of nice. It’s a little fatter. It’s just I feel like it’s this super—I don’t know—it’s just beautiful, its got such a nice balance, but still can hold its head up as a sauvignon blanc.
SAYEJ: Next up, you’re creating a rosé, right?
PARKER: We’re working on that next! It’s launching in March.
SAYEJ: Does your husband [Matthew Broderick] like the wine?
PARKER: He loves it! One of the things that happened recently was that we had one bottle left from the early bottles, two nights ago. And he pulled it out and said “Aww, there’s not much left, can I have it?” And I said, “Absolutely, Matthew, it’s all yours, my friend.” I mean, what better testimony?
SAYEJ: I can’t wait to see you two together on Broadway next year for “Plaza Suite.” My last question: Are you ever worried that you’re pronouncing “sauvignon blanc” correctly?
PARKER: Is it possible that I’m not pronouncing it right?
SAYEJ: I studied French in France—
PARKER: Tell me!
SAYEJ: Don’t pronounce the “c” at the end of sauvignon blanc.
PARKER: Sauvignon blan
SAYEJ: Oui! That’s it!
PARKER: Sauvignon blan
SAYEJ: Un sauvignon blan
c s’il vous plait. [One sauvignon blanc, please].
PARKER: Avez vous un sauvignon blan
c? [Do you have sauvignon blanc?]
PARKER: OMG, why didn’t you tell me this weeks ago?!
SAYEJ: I know, you need a French assistant.
PARKER: Good lord, Nadja! Thanks for nothing!
SAYEJ: I know, I’m sorry.
PARKER: Better late than never. I’ve still got a lot of talking to do, so I’m going to try and do right by you, thank you. Merci beaucoup!