Derek and I watched “Bottle Shock” last night. It was okay… Not spectacular. It is such a great story- the blind tasting of 1976 in France in which two American wineries beat out French wineries for first place- that it could have made for a wonderful film. Something was lost in the making of it, maybe they didn’t want it to be too technical, maybe they wanted to show the personal lives of the people involved a little too much. So the film fell a bit flat. The wine world has so many fascinating characters and stories that there should be a lot of great films about wine, but alas there are not. At least we have Sideways.

Sideways takes place in the Santa Barbara area and focuses mostly on the life of kooky Miles and his buddy Jack. Wine is more of a backdrop in the film, or a metaphor. We know that Miles is crazy when he screams, “I’m not drinking any fucking merlot!” Maya discusses the intricacies of Pinot Noir as a form of seduction. Miles drinks his coveted bottle of Cheval Blanc out of a Styrofoam cup while eating a burger to signify his letting go of the past, and moving on in life. It’s a great use of wine. Wine, is after all more than mere alcohol; It is art, it is history, it is life and love and beauty.

White Hawk Vineyards is located in the Santa Barbara region (See? I tied it in... I always do.) They are well-known as a vineyard that sells their sought after grapes to more established wineries, like Clos Mimi and Vie. But, the thing is they grow great grapes, so they’re gonna make some good wine. This 2002 White Hawk Cat Canyon Cuvee was as surprising of a bottle as I’ve opened in a while. An odd blend of Syrah, Sangiovese and Viognier from several years ago, the wine is still going strong. The bouquet is rich with cedar, vanilla and red berry fruit. The palate has more dark, full fruit with notes of pepper and eucalyptus. This is a delicious wine to help bring on the cool, dreamy days of Autumn.