TMG Scale 8.0
Starring Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Alan Rickman and Rachael Taylor (the beauty queen from Tasmania)
This is a must see film for all wine snobs. TMG never has quite understood the seeming over importance of wine to society. It is a product much like golf. Have you ever noticed that wine snobs and golf snobs are a bit alike? Even great golf clubs and wine chateaus are built to look a lot of like. At least wine is mentioned often in the bible and associated with romance and fine dining. Golf is a whole other thing.
This movie is loosely based upon the facts and history of the emerging Napa and Sonoma wine valleys in the ealry 1970’s. This was back in the day when the local liquor store pretty much only carried Gallo and Mogen David that your grandparents brought over for Thanksgiving dinner. These guys made it change. And thank the Lord they did.
Pullman plays Jim Barret, a lawyer turned vinter who tries to build a small winery into a meaningful enterprise. It is as much about building a winery as it is about a father and son (Chris Pine) running a small business together. Chateau Montelena is a real winery is Calistoga, California that won a French wine tasting competition in 1976. TMG actually called the winery and they verified the story is “essentially true.” Apparently some Hollywood was thrown in about Dad Jim and son Bo, but we can expect that.
The film is a bit slow to develop and it helps to put your mindset back to 1976 rather than 2010. There is a funny airport scene at the TWA gate that could never occur in light of security and the TSA in 2010. Bo has to ask passengers to each carry a bottle of win for him to France because passengers are limited to one carry on bottle each. it saves the day and they win the 1976 French wine competition. All along Jim and Bo are prodded by a local British lover named Steven Spurrier played by Rickman. Rickman own a wine store named “The Academy of Wine.” No one ever buys wine there but a few visiting friends who come by to taste and engage in wine snobbery. Wine stores were as quiet before 1970 as cigar shops back then.
Any film that praises the triumph of Amricans over the French is a good thing. A movie where the business David’s take on the business Goliath’s is always heartwarming. Pick out a vintage bottle of Chateau Montelena at your local wine store. Light a candle. Turn on Netflix and savor the body and bouquet Bottle Shock. You will be glad you did