Vintage Beacon 2/09: Shocking the Bottle

I’ve been an Alan Rickman fan from Sense and Sensibility (chick flick) to Galaxy Quest (guy flick).  I’ve been a wine fan even longer.  Both were definitely working for me before I even stepped into Vino 100 this last Friday night for a special screening of the movie Bottle Shock.

scvbeacon logo squareBottle Shock tells the story of the historic 1976 wine tasting known as the “Judgment of Paris,” where, for the first time, American vintners managed to defeat the French in a blind tasting to crown the ultimate Cabernet and Chardonnay. Director Randall Miller offers up a serio-comic take on the event starring Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman.

Lil Lepore, owner of Vino 100, aptly served California wines against French: 2007 Raymond Vineyards Chardonnay, 2006 Bouchard Pere & Fils Bourgogne Blanc, 2006 Chateau de Bel Bordeaux and 2006 Angeline Cabernet Sauvignon.

There were also plenty of appetizers, sweet treats and hot popcorn to pair with the movie. Seats were placed in neat rows; ours, just behind the iron railing bisecting the store from the tasting area, made us feel like we were in balcony seats.

“This is our second screening as last night we had one of the screenwriters on hand to sign DVD’s,” Began Lepore. “This movie tells of the unprecedented event there we beat the pants off the French as they had thought all other winemaking in the world was insignificant.”

“Some things to look for in the film are the real shots of Chateau Montelena, which is the actual winning Chardonnay winery in Napa, parts of Sonoma and a wine bottle with a bar code on it that didn’t exist in the 70’s.”

There were a few technical difficulties with the DVD player, that if were given at home we might have turned off the set.  But at Vino 100 it turned into buying wines by the bottle, catching Woman of the Year Judy Penman swirling red licorice in her glass, female and male Zontans sharing their gluten-free crackers and their second bottle of wine and…comparisons to audience participation in a Rocky Horror Picture show.

“What a fun time we’re all having,” Penman said.  “They’re so community minded at Vino 100; it makes a difference in selling wine and having a good group of people that support a business – especially a female owned business.”

It was a party, and, I thoroughly enjoyed the festive atmosphere pairing quite nicely with the entertaining film.  Rickman was perfect, as was Pullman, and the supporting cast of young wine makers and workers had all the embarrassing nuances of character that we did at their age.

But, as the guests were also enjoying McManus Cabs, Opolo Grand Rouge and I was emptying my own bottle of Kilakanoon Shiraz…I couldn’t get any quotes in the dark.

So I asked my new friends on Facebook (FB) for their thoughts:

“I thought the story was great because I love love love CA wines. In fact I enjoyed a Brian Benson Syrah while I was watching it.” Nicolette H.

“I saw Bottle Shock a couple days ago with my husband via Netflix. We really enjoyed it.” Patty P.

“I worked the premiere with Ian Blackburn (Learn About Wine educator). A fun little movie. Alan Rickman rocks, as always.” Denise L.

“I thought that even though the love story was bogus, the (female) love interest was SMOKIN’ H-O-T! (sorry, just bein’ a guy!)” Chad L.

“I saw the movie last night and really liked it. The broad story of the underdog going against the ‘pro’s’ and the trials and tribulations could be plugged into any industry or venture. However, if you’re just getting into wine there is a lot to learn from the film.” Katheen C.

Vino 100 is selling the DVD, including a2-pack with another funny wine film, Sideways. Call 294-6886 or visit the store, 28112 Newhall Ranch Road in Valencia. (2014 Editor’s note: Sadly, Vino 100 is now closed.)