A wine movie: bottle shock
Picked up a copy of Bottle Shock in Blockbusters the other day, and watched it over the space of two nights.
It's so good to see another film about wine. It's just a shame it wasn't better.
The film is (loosely) based on the celebrated 1976 tasting, organized by Stephen Spurrier, which pitted the best of France against the best of California, blind. Guess who won?
I enjoyed bits of it. I really liked the visual appeal of Napa as a wine region. Almost worth watching for this alone. The film makers really captured the essence of Napa wine country - it was less Highway 29, and more Silverado Trail. It can't have been easy filming and making it look like 1976, but they managed this bit well.
But the characterization was really poor. This was a mass-appeal Hollywood feel-good film, and I suspect they took a lot of liberties with the truth. There was a high corny quotient, and cheese to spare.
Despite all the problems, though, it's still quite an enjoyable watch by Hollywood standards. After a slow start, there's enough here to hold the attention, and while it could have been so much better, it's not a total disaster of a film. It's quite fun. If I was Stephen Spurrier, I'd be quite flattered that (a) someone had made a film about my tasting, and (b) Alan Rickman was playing me. [Even if I was involved in a competing film project on the same subject.]
Reference: There's a really good Wikipedia page on the Judgement of Paris. It gives all the judges' individual scores. I didn't realize that Aubert de Villaine was one of the judges, and it was interesting to see how they ranked the wines.