Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bottleshock. It's not "Sideways" but then again, it's not supposed to be.

Sideways was a great movie but it did something to my life that I will never be able to forgive. Wine enthusiasts will read this, grin, and nod their heads. Pre-Sideways, I found a great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producer in Santa Barbara. Now, this winery was not small by any means but it wasn't a household name either. Back then, I could walk into Safeway and purchase a bottle of Sanford Pinot for just over $15. Wine enthusiasts, you may now grin and nod your heads. Fortunately for Sanford and unfortunately for its long time customers, Sanford was featured in Sideways. Anyone want to speak up and comment the price of a bottle of Sanford Pinot today?

Whoa, usually I digress in the middle of my posts but this time I did it in the lead. Sorry bout that one. Anyway, on to Bottleshock. While wine has been mass produced in California for well over a century, it wasn't until just over 30 years ago that Napa and Sonoma wines truly gained world wide notoriety. Though a love story was added to the story, Bottleshock is based on actual people and actual events that took place in 1976. Centered on Bo and Jim Barrett, the owners of Chateau Montelena, Bottleshock tells the story of how a California chardonnay took first prize in a blind tasting that has now come to be known as the, "Judgment of Paris." Until the 76 tasting, France was undisputedly known as the greatest wine growing region in the world. France's soil (terroir), growing conditions, and expertise were unrivaled until Steven Spurrier decided to feature California wines in a blind tasting that he had organized. But he did not do this out of his desire to see California wines win at his tasting. He came to California in efforts to prove to himself that France was the only region in the world capable of growing gold medal wines. He would soon discover that he was wrong and that he had been missing out on a host of world class wines from.

The opening shot of Bottleshock made me grin. The movie opens on a wide angle helicopter shot of the Napa Valley. We sail over its lush rolling hills flying through a countless number of micro-climates that have now become known as some of the world's best Appellations (Stag's Leap, Rutherford, Oakville, etc). Watching Bottleshock made me further appreciate being a Northern California native. Something that we Bay Area natives seldom think about is how lucky we are to live here. Northern California is one of the best places to live in the world. We are no more than a car ride from any climate that we desire. If we want to ski or hit the craps tables, we simply drive three hours east. If we want to surf or bask in warm sunlight on some of the best beaches in North America, we drive five hours south. If we want to drink some of the world's finest wines, we drive forty minutes north east to Napa or Sonoma.

Bottleshock is a movie that wine enthusiasts will be able to watch over and over. So if you find yourself wanting to stay in and watch a movie for the night, rent Bottleshock, open a nice bottle of wine, and curl up on the couch. It'll make you appreciate the world famous valley that's practically in your backyard and it'll make every sip of your wine that much better.



Blogger JBW said...

I'll check it out on your recommendation amigo, but I'm still not drinking fucking Merlot (grinning and nodding).

7:03 PM  
Blogger eric said...

JBW good to hear from you! Hope everything is well!

12:57 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home