Sex And The Vineyards: My Review Of The Film "Bottle Shock"
Although there was great potential for this film to recount the story about the infamous Paris tasting of 1976, I felt Bottle Shock struggled with its plot and character development. Alan Rickman who played Steven Spurrier was fantastic in his role as the “snobby wine brit”. Dennis Farina who played the American ex-pat “Maurice”, and Steven’s only friend in Paris, provided the comic relief in the film. However, I would have like to have seen a bit more of Bill Pullman, who portrayed Chateau Montelena owner Jim Barrett. Equally as shallow was Bo Barrett’s character played by Chris Pine. Freddy Rodrigues, who I absolutely love in HBO’s Six Feet Under, played Gustavo Brambila, whose character could blind taste any wine perfectly and, of course, was the first of the boys to have a liaison with young, attractive wine apprentice named Sam, played by Rachael Taylor. Sam’s character, of course, provided the requisite love triangle between the two boys at Chateau Montelena. I guess hot women were few and far between in 1970s wine country.
I certainly enjoyed the more technical aspects of the movie, which shows Bo & Sam driving out to UC Davis to get an explanation of the scientific reasons why their perfect-tasting Chardonnay turned brown in the bottle, which was then due to turn clear after a few days. I thought the actual Paris tasting was fascinating to watch and seeing the “who’s who” of the wine world of the 1970s. Portrayed at the tasting were Pierre Brejoux, from the French AOC and Aubert de Villaine representing DRC (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti), and there was even one women on the panel, which, considering this event took place in the 1970s speaks volumes. I have to say watching Steven Spurrier driving a Gremlin and eating KFC straight out of the bucket in his car was quite entertaining.
Although this film struggles between drama and comedy from scene to scene and, whether you are a wine lover or not, I think anyone can find this film enjoyable and certainly gain an appreciation of wine and how this simple tasting not only put California wines in the forefront and changed the wine world as whole forever.
Pair this movie with your favorite oaky, buttery chardonnay and a bag of popcorn, and you have a match only made in California.