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
In-joke: Maurice (Dennis Farina) adds a wry reference to labor issues with film production during Scene 24 (minute 91:54) as guests and judges arrive. He claps his hands and in bad French urges a chauffeur to get moving and park the cars, followed by "Let's go! You're not a Teamster, ya know!" See more »
(at around 1 min) One of the characters mentions that if the French lose, they might bring back the Guillotine. In actual fact, it was still in use in 1976, as it was the standard method of Execution in France. (The last Execution was in 1977, and the Death Penalty itself was abolished in 1981.) 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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Fun movie, and funnier than I thought it would be. Rickman was fantastic. I've never been a huge fan of his, but I really saw his talent and sense of humor come thru in this movie. I think even he might laugh during the movie.
I must say, when heard about this movie at Sundance, I thought it was going to give a documentary treatment to the wine competition in Paris. I thought it would something I'd sip red wine to, with a fellow wine geek. Instead this movie was VERY entertaining. It put me more in the mood to drink a good bottle of white with my wife, and...well, you get the idea.
The movie is not without some quirks, but I think a non-critic will "like it a lot," as Freddy Rodriguez says about his wine. It is a feast for the eyes. I can't wait to see it on Blu-Ray!
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