Sunday, November 28, 2004

Dinner and a Movie

"Sideways", 2004 ($16 for two) -- We had a very nice dinner tonight at the "Quarter", which included several salads, a butternut squash soup, steamed mussels in a delightful broth and beef medalions. There was a fine wine list (with no vintages listed) and I sampled a Da Vinci Chianti (OK, but a little thin and not much finish); a Benton Lane Pinot Noir (nice nose, pleasant fruit taste, medium weight and a medium finish); and a Cinnabar Meritage (fruit nose, structure and longer finish) but I had to rush off to the movie next door. My only complaint is the typical restaurant pricing on wines. When I see a $10 bottle of Paringa Shiraz (a great wine for the price!) listed at $24 on the menu, I am disinclined to buy. If the pricing were $5 to $10 over retail (to cover the cost of glasses, etc) I would not only buy one or more bottles, but I would go there ALOT! If they are selling older, back vintages which are not available, I can understand the 2 to 3 times retail mark-up (where there is already a mandatory state 50% mark-up over wholesale), but I know the wines, for the most part, are sitting in the local distributor's warehouse ready for just-in-time delivery.

The Buzz is hot. I smell some Oscars here. More importantly, this one is a classic. I am going to go out on a limb here and proclaim that this movie will be the "Caddyshack" of wine movies for all the wine geeks in the world. There are many more golfers (gophers) out there than wine geeks, but we need our "classic" movie too. "Sideways" is that and a great movie too, not that I am saying that "Caddyshack" is not a great movie. It is one of my favorites which I play about 4 times a year, but it is not a serious "movie". "Sideways" is. "Sideways" is not only a must see for wine-geeks, but very good, and sad and poignint and real, and outrageously funny at times, but a great movie for all non wine-geeks too. This movie has it all, from side-splitting humor, to deeply troubling moments of self-discovery, to spot on wine geek moments. From the naked tow-truck driver husband chasing the two protagonists (who are on a one week tour of the Santa Ynez Valley wine country before one of the duo is married on Saturday) after one is caught with a waitress wife, to the picnics on a blanket in wine country in a setting sun with cheese and wine, to Virginia Madsen's character proclaiming the greatness of wine as a living thing and all the people who toil to make it, and the people who have died while some of the older vines still live on, this movie has it all. (The report that I actually teared up during that last scene is completely false. Something flew into my eye.) And from this day forward I will be frequently using one of the lines from the movie, "If they order f*#&ing Merlot, I'm leaving!" Must See! And a Very Good Meal.


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