Simple Sideways question - spoilers likely

I had heard there was some big indictment in the film Sideways against Merlot. That it was hip to hate now. So I finally saw the movie on a plane last week. The only bit about Merlot was when Paul Giamatti’s character was standing outside the restaurant before they had their first dinner with the two women, where he got really drunk and dialed. Something like “If they’re drinking Merlot, I’m out of there.”

Was that really it? Or did they cut out a big chunk like I suspect?

No, that’s it, though Miles is a bit more emphatic–“No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!”

In a recent interview of Alexander Payne that I read, he says that there are plenty of excellent merlots–but there are also plenty of bad ones, and that seems to be the type people order when they don’t know much about wine.

That, and most (but by no means all) merlots are very…unchallenging.

And Miles added several more “fucks” to his rant, which the airplane protected you from. :smiley:

And just what the hell does that mean?

What sort of “challenge” should I look for in my wines?

Strictly personal tastes, but I prefer a wine with some backbone to it. I love zinfandels, for example. Most cheap and badly produced merlots are flabby and soft. Unremarkable in any way. I think merlot works better as a blending wine, myself. It mellows a tannic cabernet very well, for example.

They didn’t cut a chunk out of the film, but like silenus points out they might have cut out a few extra words for the airplane crowd.

In their weekly wine column in the Wall Street Journal a few months back John Bresler and Dorthy Gaiter took on the Merlot slam from “Sideways.” They pointed out how times change…Merlot used to be very popular.
Anyhoo, their conclusions: There is plenty of good Merlot if you’re ready to peel out more than $50 a bottle.

Strictly personal tastes, but I prefer a wine with some backbone to it. I love zinfandels, for example. QUOTE]
Zinfandel is not to be confused with White Zinfandel. One is a legit wine while the other is something Bridge & Tunnel chicks with big hair and gaudy jewelry drink to try and appear sophistamicated.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t drink wines for the Challenge. I play video games for challenge. I drink wine for the taste and to relax.

And Merlot works well for both of those.


What people don’t get is that wine is a METAPHOR in this movie. When they talk about wine they are talking about themselves or about life. When he goes on his rant about Merlot, what he is saying is that he is an uptight asshole who is looking for any excuse not to meet a beautiful woman and enjoy himself.

I am enjoying a wonderful 2000 zinfandel as I type this. Ambrosia, and it costs the equivalent of 8 of your American dollars a bottle…I still have 11 bottles. Ha! Envy me!

Living in the Cape winelands rocks!

(emphasis mine)
A very evocative name - is that a synonymn for Jersy Girls or summat?

The only metaphor this movie needed was someone taking a piss in a broken toilet. But I can see where you are coming from, his constant criticism of the various wines was a metaphorical statement since his unattainable ex-wife was the Pinot Noir supreme and if he couldn’t have that, he wouldn’t appreciate anything else.

You’ve never heard the expression? Sorry, being from South Africa is no excuse, or defence againt New Yorkers calling you provincial :smiley: .

Manhattan is an island. Therefore anyone coming in on weekends from New Jersey or Long Guyland or one of those other boroughs has to come by way of bridge or tunnel.

Actually, no, when he’s describing the pinot noir, he’s talking about himself (though he may not fully realize it).

Actually, even here in the U.S., I’ve found that if you keep an open mind and are willing to experiment a little, you can find perfectly good wines of almost any type in the $6 to $10 dollar a bottle range (although my favorite inexpensive port – and the only inexpensive one I’ll drink – is $16 to $22 dollars a bottle).

It’s nice to be able to indulge in a fine pricey wine from time to time, but that doesn’t mean that a good wine has to be expensive.

An open mind can find any number of wonderful wines that are inexpensive. Luckily, the buyer for Trader Joe’s has a palate that agrees with mine most of the time. I often take a flyer on something I’ve never heard of that they stock.

The real deals are for wine club members. Find a winery you like, join their club, and enjoy. We just got a case of Mandolina Toccata 2001 that the winery put on special. Sheer bliss. :smiley:

Some people say Jersey. Others say anyone not from Manhattan.

Oh no, I fully agree - but please do realise, this is a pricy wine for poor self-employed me. My usual inexpensive wines are in the $2-3 range, and very good at that. Mostly cab-savs, and there’s a glut of red at the moment. It helps that I can get to the good wine farms in 30mins or so. Stuff’s always cheaper there.

But the port price sounds about right for a nice 21 year old. Not that we’re allowed to call our “late vintage” wines “port” anymore, although they are just as tasty.

Merlot was considered the hot wine among wine snobs about 10-15 years ago. A lot of wineries cashed in by producing any Merlot they could and selling it at $5 more a bottle. A lot of people who had no idea what good wine was bought it and used the name as a way to seem like they did. This is what gave Merlot its bad name. In a couple years, there will be similar comments about Pinots, thank in large part to the movie.

Do you also like to eat at McDonald’s and Olive Garden?