The movie "Sideways"...

The producers of this popcorn fare didn't know much about wine.  Throughout this wine-guy-as-dork/snob stereotype film, the main character "Miles" repeatedly insults both Merlot and Cab Franc.   He calls Cab Franc "hollow, flabby" and "pointless" and he devotes and entire 5 minute tirade railing against Merlot.

So, what is the denouement wine he's drinking at the end of the film?  CHATEAU CHEVAL BLANC!!!  It's over 90% Merlot/Cab Franc, and obviously the producers were not aware of that.  I'm only pointing out one item, but there are a number of inconsistencies and fallacies relevant to wine throughout the movie.  What gets me is that it has become so much of a reference point for wine knowledge among the general population; why?  It just doesn't make any sense.

Here is a story about Cheval Blanc you may not have heard:

The manager of Château Cheval Blanc, Jacques Hebrard, was outraged at the evaluation of his 1981 vintage barrel samples made by influential wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. and asked him to re-taste. Upon arriving, Parker was attacked by Hebrard's dog as the manager stood idly by and watched. When Parker asked for a bandage to stop the bleeding from his leg, Parker says Hebrard instead gave him a copy of the offending newsletter. Hebrard denies that Parker was bleeding. However, Parker did retaste the wine and found it significantly changed from his previous evaluation, and therefore gave the wine an updated evaluation in a later issue of his publication The Wine Advocate.

  • I always figured that the writer of the film knew the make up of Cheval Blanc and that was used as yet another device to show Miles for what he truly was.  

    Jaws is still my favorite wine movie. Followed closely by The Jerk.  

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Eric Crane:

    Eric, I would definately have to agree.  The story line and character development of Miles as the main character, is absolutely tied to the irony of his passionate disgust for merlot, along with many things in life, and his 'favorite' bottle of wine in the world!  I've always attributed this classic and iconic twist in the movie to the brilliance of the writers.  And they knew that us wine geeks would get this extra little kicker as an added bonus to the humor and irony of the film.  

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Anonymous:

    You guys are giving the producers way too much credit!  I appreciate that you like the film, but please, I hope to God it's for reasons other than any realistic representations of wine knowledge.  BTW how irreconcilable is it that someone who is (allegedly) into Pinot Noir would consider Cheval Blanc their Masterpiece Theater?  If I was a Pinot Nut, and I'm not, but if I was and met someone with a Richebourg, I would offer to trade my Cheval Blanc for it immediately; and let the chips fall where they may.

    BTW style point for naming The Jerk as a wine movie: he complains "these wines are old, can we get some fresh ones?"  That's quality!

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Again, I think it is part of the brilliance of the movie- in the regard of character development. How many people think they love one wine but truly love another? I think the writers knew exactly what they were doing.

    The Jerk makes the list of best wine moviews ever for the cooler scene- the restaurant scene is great, but the water coolers at the tennis courts are amazing.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Eric Crane:

    Then you have to count Easy Money with Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker.  They are in a restaurant and the sommelier suggests a Dom Perignon, 1985, to which Chris Tucker replies: "how 'bout a Colt...45!?"

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    The Blues Brothers

  • In reply to Eric Crane:

    I have to agree that it was part of the brilliance of the movie, to much of a coincidence that the producers didn't know the cepagment and the constant railing against Merlot and Cab Franc by Miles. It was the perfect antagonist "jokes on you" moment . He was such an icky wannabe and this was the punctuation that he was just a fool. There were to many correct wine reference throughout. I am sure the producers knew, they all drink the best stuff out in Hollywood.

    As a movie I thought it sucked.

    The was absolutely no character development at all. Jack should have gone from an *** to seeing the error of his ways, when instead he got married without a thought to how he f***ed up. Miles never stopped being an negative jerk sucking the life out of everything around him. It wasn't until the veroend that he had a change of heart but character development has to be sly and gradual.

    Sorry for my rant on the script.!

    Thanks for the bday wishes Eric and good luck in Anaheim!

  • In reply to Toni Johnson:

    For anyone that's read the original novel, they'll find that Miles is a big fan of Petrus, and that his prejudice against Merlot is only as a standalone varietal, except in the case of Petrus, and that it does shine as a blending grape. The novel gets more wine-geeky than the movie did...and had better character development and different twists throughout the story. Very worth reading for anyone with some time to do such...

  • In reply to Bill Kelley:

    Zombieland has a pretty great wine scene...

  • In reply to Eric Crane:

    "Withnail and I" is my favorite wine movie.   53 Margaux from the bottle in the rain, "Sherry.", "Tea and cake.  And fine wine.  We want the the finest wines known to humanity.  We want them here.  And we want them NOW."

    As regards Sideways, I spent an epic 17 hour day with Tom Rinaldi  (Duckhorn 76-99 and Provenence/Hewiit 00-present) many things were consumed and many subjects chewed and spit while wine was swallowed, but when Sideways was brought up he told me that the writer was a friend of his and obviously Tom has something to say about the negative press vis-a-vis Merlot, but the whole thing was as Eric suggested a device to highlight the more ridiculous aspects of a blowhard insecure dilettante who tried to seduce a woman far out of his league with that Pinot monologue.  I had a guest come into the restaurant after the movie came out went on for five minutes about how much she loved it and asked me if I saw it.  

    Me:"Yes."

    Guest:"Do you have any Pinot Noirs on your list?"

    Me:"We have many Pinot Noirs on our list."  I pointed out the American Pinot Noir section and then showed her Burgundy and also mentioned that we had some from Australia and NZ as well.

    Guest:"Wow that's great.  So that's a type of Cabernet?"

    Me: (long pause)  

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Tom Gannon:

    Hysterical!  What'd she end up ordering? White Zin?!

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I heard an interview once with Rex Pickett, the writer of Sideways, who said that it (choosing Cheval Blanc) was done deliberately on the part of the film writers for two reasons:  firstly, they couldn't get the approval from Latour (their first choice) to use that wine in the film, and secondly, as was suggested in this thread, to capitalize on Miles' ironic character.  But it was not something that Mr. Pickett was totally happy with - strictly a Hollywood decision.  I think the interview was on the podcast "People in Wine" from a few years back...

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    No she settled on Saintsbury Pinot 2004 after I quickly recovered and steered her in a CA Pinot direction.  Always about the guest...

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    In reply to Tom Gannon:

    I had always heard that orginally Sideways was supposed to take place in Oregon instead of Santa Yzez, but the Oregonian wino's said no because they didn't want to 'sell out'. Does anyone have any thoughts on that subject?

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I believe a sequel is headed into Oregon, this may or may not happen...

    www.newsregister.com/.../39144-039sideways039+sidles+oregon