February 6, 2009
"Bottle Shock" on DVD


(Note: corrected the winemaker behind the Chateau Montelena 1973 Chardonnay)

Back in August there was a lot of buzz in the wine world about the movie "Bottle Shock." In case you missed it the first time around, "Bottle Shock" is now on DVD. This film centers around one of the all-time transformative blind tastings, the so-called "Judgement of Paris." Two California wines - Chateau Montelena 1973 Chardonnay and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon - took top honors in their respective categories for red and white wines, beating the best from Bordeaux and Burgundy. Snooty French judges were shocked, and worldwide respect for California wines was born.

And a movie was inspired as well. "Bottle Shock" focuses on Jim and Bo Barrett, the father-son team behind Chateau Montelena, in a film that's something like the "Rocky" of wine. The movie also plays loose with the facts: Mike Grgich, the winemaker behind that winning chardonnay, is left out of the storyline. In the meantime, lots of cars break down in the film and a romantic subplot develops between Chateau Montelena's assistant winemaker (played by Freddy Rodriguez) and Sam the intern (Rachael Taylor).

Let's just say that "Bottle Shock" is no "Sideways," but it's pretty much required viewing for fellow wine geeks. Alan Rickman's performance as Steven Spurrier, the British wine merchant who organizes "The Judgement of Paris," is pretty much worth the price of admission. The DVD version of "Bottle Shock," which was released Tuesday, also comes with some bonus goodies. Extra features include a documentary about Chateau Montelena, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes footage. So go make it a Blockbuster night, with a little "Bottle Shock" and a glass of Napa chardonnay.

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