Porno for Winos

If the movies Big Night, Chocolat and Eat Pray Love are pornography to foodies (who can forget Julia Roberts with that plate of spaghetti?), then Sideways, Bottle Shock and Mondovino are porno for winos.

I have to confess: I’ve done the Sideways (2004) “tour” through Buellton, Solvang and Los Olivos, Calif., three times. There’s just something so universal about the pithy buddy film that follows Miles’ and Jack’s wild week in wine country. I cherish my bottles of Kalyra shiraz, a winery featured prominently in the film, and enjoy them while watching it. You could also do so with Sanford—the guys’ first stop for pinot noir, where Miles whifs “just a flutter of nutty Edam cheese” in his glass—or perhaps the Highliner pinot, which Maya tucks into after her shift at the Hitching Post.

Sideways led me to Bottle Shock (2008), which loosely intertwines the real David and the Goliath story of Napa’s Chateau Montelena versus eons of French winemaking, with just enough of a cheesy love triangle to con the non-winos into watching. The rapturous wine tasting scenes will absolutely get your juices flowing. I suggest your watching with a bottle of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, the very wine that landed Napa, Calif., on the wine map when it beat four white Burgundies at the famed Paris Tasting.

More recently, I enjoyed Mondovino (2004). If Sideways is pure entertainment and Bottle Shock education in an entertaining wrapper, then Mondovino is the distillation, way more educational. The 135-minute documentary, an Official Selection at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, illuminates the politics of the global wine industry and explores whether we might be forcing certain characteristics onto wines that are not natural to the terroir. Heady stuff, best appreciated with a bottle of Ornellaia and an Italian-to-English dictionary.

Suggested Next Read

Bread Basket, STK

Dishing With Grace

Bread Basket, STK

By Grace Bascos

Some say it’s a sin to fill up on bread before a meal, but this starter at STK is worth paying that penance later. The soft, doughy bread arrives warm to the table, ready to be pulled apart. Soft blue-cheese butter is slathered all over the top, making for a rich and funky spread that is punched up when you dip a piece into the accompanying chive oil. The combination of the flavors infused through both oil and butter is explosive and decadent. Complimentary, in the Cosmopolitan, 698-7990.

DTLV

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