Monday, February 09, 2009

No Grapes Were Harmed: Bottle Shock!

Almost a year after I interviewed actor Hal B. Klein, who played Bottle Shock's scruffy cellar rat "Shenky," I finally had an opportunity to see the movie. It pleases me to say if I am asked, "Which Hollywood wine movie did you prefer, Bottle Shock or Sideways?" My answer will be Bottle Shock. And let me explain why.

It's not that I didn't enjoy the movie, Sideways because I did. But the most important reason why I preferred Bottle Shock over Sideways was:

No grapes were harmed during the making of this movie.

Unlike the movie Sideways, Bottle Shock will not alter much of the buying habits of wine consumers, especially the buying habits of the wine newbie. This time the wine consumers will not be overlooking well made fine Merlots and turning towards cheap high volumed produced Pinot Noirs - not understanding that all Merlots and all Pinot Noirs are not created equal. Hopefully, the movie Bottle Shock will dance upon the tiny heads that are tattoed with "ABC" (Anything But Chardonnay) and those who hiss from their lips, "We only drink redsss" will open their minds to giving great American made Chardonnays a second chance.

For the most part, we are seeing American winemakers leaving behind the trends of diacetyl enriched butter bombs and forest-filled oak monsters in their Chardonnays. At least from my experience, I am tasting more crisp, fruit-forward and food friendly Chardonnays from the state of Washington, especially from the Walla Walla Valley, than ever before. And frankly, in spite of the French losing out in the 1976 Judgement of Paris with their Batard Montrachet and Meursault-Charmes, it is my opinion that the well balanced and harmonious Chardonnays coming out of Washington State are very much influenced by our own "French Touch - the growing number of French-born and trained winemakers who have made the state of Washington their home. And just as important, the quality of fruit they are selecting to be used in their craft.

Bottle Shock is a charming fictionalized version that chronicles the real events leading up to the famous Judgment of Paris, unlike the 100% fiction Sideways. The focus is on the non-fictional characters, Jim and Bo Barrett, the real father and son team who owned the winning bottle of wine from Chateau Montelena in California. If you're a bona-fide swirling, sniffing wine geek and haven't seen the movie, don't miss it.

Oh - - and the soundtrack wasn't bad either.


amyrootvik said...

As always, thanks for the informative post. I have been anxiously awaiting my chance to see this film... and now I'm even more wound up. I'm glad to know Chardonnay gets some good press out of the deal too. Can't wait to see it!

wild walla walla wine woman said...

Hi Amy! Thanks for the comment. From one wine geek to another, I am sure you will enjoy this movie. What I didn't post about Bottle Shock was that it was a solid story about wine, unlike Sideways with its detours of naked red necks running down the street and cheating bride grooms. Heh. Cheers, C~

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