Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I like Wine, I Like Movies - and I Really Like Wine Movies - Watch and Learn

Good movies are seldom about just one thing. The movie Caddyshack takes place largely at a Country Club and on a golf course, but it is about much more than golf (Cinderella story...) Slap Shot is a great hockey movie, but it's about more than just the hockey.  
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There are not a ton of movies made about wine, but there are some great ones that have wine as a theme, but there is much more going on in the way of characters and a solid plot line.   Besides being entertained, wine movies are a great way to learn about wine. Here are some worth looking into,

Somm
OK, I confess I have not seen this movie yet - but I just know I am going to like it... no, I know I am going to love it!  This movie has not been released in many theaters, and none in the Phoenix area (that I've seen). I will probably end up buying it on iTunes in the next couple of weeks - and will report back on how awesome it is!  Somm is a movie about four sommeliers studying for the Master Sommelier exam. This test has one of the lowest pass rates of any test in the world. The exam covers an unbelievable amount of information literally anything having to do with the entire world of wine, spirits, and cigars.  Questions on the exam could be about any wine region or sub region in the entire world, about what vintages were good and why, about tasting wine, serving wine... anything you could imagine.  It boggles my mind to think about the time I spend studying for my International Sommelier Guild Level 2 test, and that this test must be that times about a billion. Check out the trailer - if you have any interest in wine at all I think you'll like seeing the story of four guys who are absolutely obsessed with wine - and if they will be able to join the ranks of the elite to be one of only about 200 Master Sommeliers in the entire world.
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Sideways
If you have ready many of my posts you may have noticed quite a few mentions of Sideways. It is a fantastic movie that I can watch again and again.  It is about friendship, love, deception, insecurity, second chances - just about anything you can imagine set against the backdrop of the Central California wine country.  My wife and I have visited this area many times before and since we've seen this move. When you see the two main characters walking to dinner at the Hitching Post, we've done that quite a few times. Plus many of the wineries they visit are the actual winery tasting rooms. However "Frass Canyon" is not a real winery, but uses Fess Parkers tasting room. Sound like a cool name for a winery? Look up Frass to see if you still think so! If you haven't seen this movie please do check it out - and you may never think of Merlot in the same way again! 
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Bottle Shock
This movie is another that I can watch again and again. This movie is based upon the real events of the 1976 Judgement of Paris Wine Tasting where Napa Valley red and white wines were blind tasted (the judges did not know what they were drinking). I don't want to spoil the outcome, so I won't tell you who won - but this movie is a very interesting look at Napa valley winemaking before it became the tourist mecca that it is today.  See Chris Pine before he donned his Star Fleet uniform (plus Bill Pullman from Independence Day and Alan Rickman from Galaxy Quest and Rachel Taylor from Transformers - a definite Sci-Fi theme!). See this movie and try some Chateau Montelena Chardonnay to relive a key event in California wine history.
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Corked
A bit on the goofy side, but another chance to perhaps learn something about the world of wine as depicted in this mockumentary.  The satire of the different wineries and the impact of wine critics does make for an entertaining movie. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
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Silence of the Lambs
OK, not a wine movie at all - but this classic line alone earns a mention. How many times have you used this quote?  Also, the worst pronunciation of Chianti I think I've ever heard!
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