A Glass of Chianti

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"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans, and a nice Chianti."
Dr. Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs

Many Big Bads, being more high-class than most heroes, like to sip some wine, usually red, while lounging on their throne. This makes them seem refined and worldly, even when relaxing. Heroes and more petty villains go for the more boorish beer, usually because they either can't afford wine or they have no taste for the stuff.

Note that red is seen as a lot more sinister than white wine, due to its Color Coding and general connotations with blood. When a vampire (usually richer and more refined, not one of the biker vamps) drinks red blood from a wine-glass, it invokes much the same imagery, and one can argue that villains drink red wine specifically to invoke the vampiric example.

Villainesses and neutral Femmes Fatales also have the option of sipping white wine and champagne ("girly" wines), and seductively drinking from a tall flute glass and peering through the bubbles at the hero.

Another common variant is the Snifter of Brandy, preferably poured from a snazzy, cut-glass decanter.

If these type of villains suffer a Villainous Breakdown, it's likely that there will be a Dramatic Shattering of that glass of wine as a metaphor for the breakdown.

Subtrope of Wine Is Classy. Wine, especially rare and expensive wine (and the ability to identify vintages of it by sight, smell, and taste), has become a cliche commonly associated with the Grey Poupon set. This can be used to indicate someone is a snob, or simply as a part of the background culture of the story. Further, red wine is more often an acquired taste, possibly hinting that one had the funds to develop it.

It might be worthy of note that Chianti is not actually a high class wine, and Fava beans aren't gourmet food, either. However, both are very rich in iron, as is the liver - and blood. Also, iron interacts with certain types of psychiatric medication, implying that Lecter was off his meds. The hint is rarely ever taken, though.

Examples of A Glass of Chianti include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Creed from the Black Cat manga had this once, complete with a rose inside of it, while he was lounging around in his evil castle.
  • Captain Harlock's trademarks are scars, eyepatches, and wine, in roughly that order. While he's more of an Anti-Hero, many of his actions could certainly be seen as unlawful and he's actually portrayed as the villain in Cosmo Warrior Zero.
  • Mazinger Z : Dr. Hell and his lackeys are sometimes seen drinking glasses of wine.
  • Piedmon from Digimon Adventure. He even got to keep it in the dub, with none of the dub's infamous Frothy Mugs of Water lines.
  • Subverted in Eureka Seven, Anemone achieves the same imagery of drinking blood by eating marmalade.
  • Alucard from Hellsing, the trope image, is seen enjoying red wine on his throne more than once in there series. It is hinted it may be mixed with blood, or be blood entirely.
    • The Major is another fine example, except with a glass of champagne.
  • When Kanako of Maria Holic returns to her dorm room for the first time, she finds Mariya sitting there. It's Bordeaux.

Mariya: It's tomato juice.
Kanako: That's definitely a lie!

  • Gakuto from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.
  • Evangeline of Negima does the "ungirly" version by often drinking red wine (usually in the most refined way possible). She is partial to several varieties of rare alcohols though (also drunk in refined ways).
  • Altena in Noir not only drinks wine but also owns a private vineyard. She also picks up the grapes herself, and is implied to at least participate in the making of the wine, as well. All and all, she's one hard-working Big Bad.
    • Although to some extent this is a subversion, since the vineyard isn't used to demonstrate Altena's decadence or refinement, but rather meant to emphasize her preternatural humility and role as a Madonna figure. It takes a special kind of Big Bad to willingly do hard manual labour day in and day out, after all.
  • Pokémon's Giovanni sometimes is seen drinking some sort of alcohol, though it's never certain what sort it is.
  • Captain Napolipolita in Project A-ko is invariably seen with a glass of wine. When she can't get any, she goes into instant withdrawal and shoots up her own bridge. (It's a parody of Captain Harlock.)
  • Prince Diamond of Sailor Moon goes so far as to hold his wine glass up to an image of Neo Queen Serenity, with whom he is infatuated, so it looks like she's sitting in the glass.
  • The Computer Society President from The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya gets to try this out while he's villaining it up in the episode "Day of Sagittarius III". It's okay that he's underaged, it's all just part of the Deep-Immersion Gaming shtick.
  • Fei Wong of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle spends most of his time drinking wine, looking bored, and letting loose a needlessly cryptic comment vaguely foreshadowing the next step of his plan to whoever happens to be listening.
  • Dr. Muraki in Yami no Matsuei (the anime) only got one scene where he drank red wine, but he milked it for all it was worth.
  • Pegasus of Yu-Gi-Oh! loved to drink wine and read comic books, but the censors turned his wine into "fruit juice".
    • Which actually works with his character because he acts childish for most of his on-screen time.
    • And led to a great joke in one fanfic: his assistant Croquet tells him that he was willing to look the other way regarding the drinking back when he was calling it wine, but calling it juice is introducing unstable behavior that requires an intervention.
    • Also, Mai Valentine on a couple occasions.
  • Father does this in Fullmetal Alchemist. It's not wine, though, nor even blood, but souls - from Greed's Philosopher's Stone.
  • Dilandau from Vision of Escaflowne has a taste for red wine.
  • In Dragon Ball, Freeza is seen sipping red wine (or whatever he drinks that looks the same) in a similar fashion in early scenes and flashbacks during the Freeza Saga.
  • In One Piece, the character Inazuma takes this to the extreme, as he(or she) carries a goblet of red wine at all times, even while fighting.
  • In Saint Seiya, the great Pope have a glass too, but broke it in his fist when he start to be upset.
  • Lupin III finds out about the tasting of a bottle of wine made for Napoleon, so he decides to swap it for a bottle of plonk. The guests are fooled by the cheap wine, but the real wine spoiled long ago.
  • The head of the committee after the protagonists in Choujin Gakuen. At this point in the story, the heroes haven't met her face to face and she watching the fight from a button on the minions she sent after them. But Adam manages to guess correctly that she holding one just based on her condescending tone.
  • Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure often has a glass of wine while reading in part III; by then, he's pretty much just flaunting his level of sophistry.
  • Yuuko Ichihara of xxxHolic enjoys nothing more than tossing back beers, sakes and anything with liquor in it in the most booze-hound manner imaginable. That she's still creepy, imposing and pretty much omniscient at times, is a rather interesting contrast. Not to mention smoking an opium pipe. It could just be tobacco in there, but still...
  • In Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and it's American G-Force translation, Berg Katse was often seen with a glass of wine.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Vatman in the Bloody Mary comics is something of an alcoholic... even after losing the bottom half of his face.
  • Flash villain the Top is an elitist who never fit in well with the other Flash villains. Part of this comes from the fact that he can taste the difference in red wines...
  • Emma Frost did this quite often when she was an X-Men villain. As stated about villainesses, she preferred champagne. For some strange reason, her tastes changed after joining the team, where her spirit of choice became whiskey out of a flask.
    • Dealing with the X-Men could drive anyone to hard liquor.
    • This fluctuates, sometimes it's whiskey in a flask, out of action it is still a glass of chianti. Usually she drinks whiskey in tense situations.
  • Doctor Doom has been shown lounging about on thrones or in throne halls with glasses of what one can only assume is a wine variant of one or other.
  • In Captain Britain, one of Mad Jim Jaspers' first scenes in the 616 universe involved him transforming white wine into red wine:

He wants to laugh, but he feels too sad because the wine is wrong. It's white wine. He doesn't like white wine. He likes red wine.

  • Immortal caveman conqueror Vandal Savage can tell the year and region of a wine by the sound of it being poured, and refuses to drink anything newer than 1,000 year old vintage.
    • which raises the question; if he doesn't drink the vast majority of wines, how does he know what they sound like when being poured?
    • And he prefers to drink spoiled vinegar? As far as I know vintages over a few centuries are pretty much nonexistant, and have all turned to vinegar centuries ago.
  • Used as a sick joke, of course, but in one Spider-Man story, Venom pretty much paraphrases Hannibal Lecter's famous quote while anticipating eating Spider-Man's liver. (He had previously goaded the hero by saying he was trying to decide between the lungs, spleen, or pancreas; the guy is nuts.)

Film[edit | hide]

  • In The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter famously announces, "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti," before making a hideous slurping sound.
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, the Merovingian sips wine while holding court in the restaurant.
  • In Modesty Blaise The Movie, Gabriel (played by Dirk Bogarde) lounges with a glass of blue wine while dispensing his evil orders.
  • In The Island, Corrupt Corporate Executive Dr. Merrick is seen watching the Lottery in his private abode, drinking from a wine glass.
  • James Bond does this a number of instances.
    • In From Russia with Love, senses something isn't quite right with Red Grant when he orders red wine, specifically A Glass of Chianti... with fish.
    • At the end of Diamonds Are Forever, 007 defeats the bad guys using his knowledge of fine wines.
    • Earlier in the same film, he identifies the vintage of a sherry by taste. When sarcastically told sherry doesn't have vintages, he states that he meant the wine the sherry was made from. Possibly setting up Bond's superior knowledge of wine for later.
  • The Big Bad in Race for the Yankee Zephyr spends half the time with a martini glass in his hand, whether traveling downstream in a rubber dinghy or watching his mooks beat up one of the protagonists.
  • In Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Dracula says, "I never drink...wine. Ah, what the hell. <sip> It's good!"
  • In Inglourious Basterds, Landa pours himself a glass of chianti from a fiasco while questioning Aldo. It's somewhat ironic that he's drinking Italian wine while interrogating a fake Italian.
  • In Aladdin there's a wineglass in the vicinity of Jafar, but before he can drink it Jasmine throws it in his face.
  • In Daybreakers, this is done with actual blood by the high-level vampire Bromley by draining a human victim's blood into a wine glass.
    • And don't forget Lestat. Anybody wanna taste some rat blood?


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Funny enough, in the original novel of The Silence of the Lambs it was a "big Amarone" and not Chianti. Still a red wine from Italy, though. The change in the film was probably a case of Small Reference Pools.
  • The titular Count in Dracula, does not eat or drink. He does however know enough about fine wines to provide Johnathan Harker with "a bottle of excellent Old Tokay" to have with supper.
  • Double Subverted in Carpe Jugulum, where the human subculture of vampires are considered freaks because they file down their teeth, wear bright colors, stay up past noon, and drink... wine.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Lex Luthor from Smallville. In fact, most of the time you can clearly see the crystal decanter in his living room.
  • Adelei Niska sips on an unidentified drink in the Firefly episode "War Stories" while watching Mal being tortured.
  • The Master in Doctor Who has always been fond of quality drinks (and cigars, of course). He's shown sipping whisky in The Time Monster, wine from fine goblets in various Ainley!Master stories and glugging wine or whisky in "The Sound of Drums".
  • Farscape promotional images occasionally feature Scorpius holding a wine glass of an unnamed alien vintage (in the images where he's not holding some kind of bladed instrument, of course).
  • Vesper Abbadon and Silas Benjamin in Kings. Silas tests Abbadon's clarity of thought by having him identify a rare wine. "Chocolate, cassis . . . vines grown in clay."
  • In one episode of Red Dwarf, the imperial descendant of Rimmer's clone decreed the execution and immolation of the Red Dwarf crew, and ordered their ashes brought to him on a silver plate with a glass of chilled sancerre. The Cat is horrified.

Cat: This guy's an animal. Doesn't he know it's red wine with cold ashes?


Music[edit | hide]

My real name is Beelzebub, but you can call me Beelz
I love to watch Fox News and then go club some baby seals
Then I'll take a bubble bath and drink a Zinfandel
Try to wash off that baby seal smell
And then I'll make a toast to me--hey, here's to my hell...th!

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Matt Engarde from Ace Attorney, who materialized a brandy balloon from Hammerspace whilst in prison for the sole purpose of swirling it evilly in front of Phoenix.
    • It's actually just an unidentified brown liquid, which has led to some fans joking it's chocolate milk.
      • Given the games' tendency to have grape juice in wine bottles, it would not surprise people if it was canon.
  • If you steal from Dracula in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, you will find that he drinks tomato juice. Now that's blackmail material.
  • In the final boss battle in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow's Julius Mode, Soma Cruz lounges on Dracula's throne while sipping a glass of wine as you enter. He dramatically tosses it to the ground before rising to fight you.
    • Soma is seen in a similar position in his bad ending of Aria of Sorrow.
    • This is a shout-out to a similar scene in Symphony of the Night where Dracula dramatically tosses aside a wine glass while expressing his distaste for humanity before Throwing Down the Gauntlet and fighting Richter.
      • The scene is also borrowed for a boss fight in I Wanna Be the Guy. The wine glass will hit the hero and kill them if they don't dodge-- but what doesn't in this game?
      • And again in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. Dracula really likes doing this.
      • Dracula must have picked up the habit during Symphony of the Night, because he does it again in Order of Ecclesia.
      • And the first game where Dracula does it is Castlevania X68000, later ported to PlayStation as Castlevania Chronicles.
      • Magicka has yet another shout out to this (among its 9001 shout outs) when Vlad tosses a glass of wine away just before the boss fight starts.
  • Fatman, the bizarrely hedonistic mad bomber boss in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, carries around a glass of red wine and drinks it as you fight him. Needless to say, it makes a mess of his blast suit in the end.
    • Not quite: he breaks the glass in anger after being insulted by Raiden in the pre-fight cutscene.
    • Isn't that supposed to be his blood?
    • But he drinks it through a straw! How uncouth is that?
      • Well, considering that the blast suit covers his face up to the eye line, he kinda HAS to...
        • That's no excuse...
          • He's insane. Does it really matter how you drink your wine when you're a mad bomber on rollerskates?
  • This Yoshitaka Amano concept art for Final Fantasy V depicts the main villain, Exdeath, lounging with a goblet of... something. He's probably only doing it for looks since for one thing, he still has his helmet on, and for another he's an evil tree.
  • Jonathan Jones and Valentina from Super Mario RPG Are both seen holding wine glasses with red liquid in them.
    • I find it somewhat suprising this actually got past the censors, really.
      • Johnny will comment on his drink if you inspect it after the boss fight. It's apparently 100% currant juice. Really.
  • Mr X does this in the bad ending of Streets of Rage 3.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The Nostalgia Chick had a glass of dark-looking eggnog held in her hand during her second part of "Dreamworks Vs. Disney". While she's not technically a villain, but she kicked Nella rather badly during that episode.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Megatron of Transformers Animated once convinced the Constructicons to switch sides by sharing some of his private blend of oil, and was of course holding a goblet full of it in the standard fashion. The 'goblet' was a barrel twisted into the shape of fine glassware. Classy!
    • Earlier, in Beast Wars, Rampage said the second half of the page quote verbatim, substituting "spark" for "liver".
  • Ratigan from Disney's The Great Mouse Detective drinks a glass of champagne while, indeed, lounging on his throne.
  • An episode of South Park parodies this. Cartman fakes having Tourette's, and is going to be on TV, and plans to say things on live television, and get away with it. When explaining this to Kyle, Cartman is sipping what appears to be wine, Kyle takes a sip from a glass and claims "This is apple juice!"
  • In The Black Cauldron, Horned King broke his glass just like in Saint Seiya.
  • Discord from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic does this with a glass of chocolate milk while sitting on his throne, now the Evil Overlord of Equestria. While not wine, his mannerisms give it the same effect. Strangely, he drinks the glass instead of the milk, however—then again, what fun is there in making sense?
  • In The Simpsons episode Monty Can't Buy Me Love , Kent Brockman reads: "This new breed of fun-loving billionaire is a welcome change from the classic joyless miser, brooding in his cavernous mansion, grasping a glass of brandy with his thin, clawlike fingers and a superior smirk on his greedy, soulless face" . Cut to Montgomery Burns sitting in his mansion, in that exact pose, glass in hand and uttering a reverbering "bah"