In 1976, Steven Spurrier, a sommelier in Paris, comes to the Napa Valley to take the best he can find to Paris for a blind taste test against French wine. He meets Jim Barrett, whose Chateau Montelena is mortgaged to the hilt as Jim perfects his chardonnay. There's strain in Jim's relations with his hippie son Bo and his foreman Gustavo, a Mexican farmworker's son secretly making his own wine. Plus, there's Sam, a UC Davis graduate student and free spirit, mutually attracted to both Gustavo and Bo. As Spurrier organizes the "Judgment of Paris," Jim doesn't want to participate while Bo knows it's their only chance. Barrett's chardonnay has buttery notes and a Smithsonian finish. Written by
The real Jim Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena, appears in the film as a vineyard owner who pours a wine sample for Alan Rickman. Mike Grgich, the real-life winemaker at Chateau Montelena (and the man who was most responsible for the award-winning 1973 Montelena Chardonnay), appears in several scenes at the chateau, standing next to Bill Pullman as he takes a wine sample from a barrel. See more »
As Spurrier (Alan Rickman) is tasting wines in the bar in California, we see half of a Benziger Cabernet label - a yellow label on a bottle with a red foil wrapping on the neck. You can clearly see the last three letters of "Benziger", a vineyard that wasn't founded until 1980. See more »
[voice-over during a vineyard pan]
It wasn't always like this. Before Paris, people didn't drink our wine. I mean, my friends did. But you could hardly consider their palates discerning...
Hell, we were farmers... sort of...
[pan to empty bottles of Montelena label and several early twenties/late teens smoking hookah]
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In 1976, in the Napa Valley, the perfectionist vigneron Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) is the owner of the Château Montelena that is full of debts and near bankruptcy. Jim is unsuccessfully racking his wine trying to reach perfection. He has a problematic relationship with his hippie son Bo (Chris Pine) and his Mexican foreman and connoisseur Gustavo Brambila (Freddy Rodriguez) is secretly producing wine with his father Mr. Garcia (Miguel Sandoval). Jim hires the free spirit intern Sam Fulton (Rachael Taylor) from UC Davis to help him in the production of wine.
Meanwhile in Paris, the wine expert Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) that owns a specialized store has few clients. His friend Maurice Cantavale (Dennis Farina) advises him to promote his store and he decides to organize a blind tasting competition between the French and the American wines. He travels to Napa Valley to find the best American wines to bring to the dispute. He has a troubled meeting with Jim that refuses to participate in the competition. However Bo foresees the chance of survival of his father's business and gives two bottles to Spurrier. But soon he finds that the color of all the 500 bottles of chardonnay have turned into brown. Is Jim Barrett's business doomed?
"Bottle Shock" is a delightful movie based on a true story. This little but charming movie is not available on DVD in Brazil but only on cable ("O Julgamento de Paris", meaning "The Paris Judgement"), but I bought the American DVD following the advice of a friend of mine from California. The story has a pleasant screenplay with entertaining subplots that might or might not really happen, such as the triangle of love among Sam, Gustavo and Bo, that keeps the plot never boring. The cast has good names associated to the beautiful locations that make this little movie worthwhile watching. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): Not Available
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