The eye-drenching vistas of gorgeousness in this movie
about California’s wines is perfectly captured by cinematographer Mike
Ozier. The lush, rich colours and sprawling, almost carefree landscapes
fill the anamorphic (2.35:1) screen, but never pompously.
is based on a blind tasting in Paris in 1976, in which an American wine
outscored French ones. Naturally this caused a massive stir in the media
and wine world. Alan Rickman plays Steven Spurrier, an impossibly snobby
English francophile who actually suffers from Parisian snobbery. His
struggling wineshop looks like folding because he remains an outsider of
the ‘scene’. To remedy this, he and a friend devise a grand tasting
between Old World and New World wines.
It is needless for me to hide the outcome of this
American under-dog story. I don’t think even the filmmakers bother.
Rather, what we have here is a heart-warming story about the trials of
putting together a vintage. At its core, the father-son relationship is
very endearing. I was also happy to see Freddy Rodríguez (of Six Feet
Under fame) back on the screen, albeit playing another Hispanic
Looking at the long list of producers and writers may
help explain the slight feeling of unrestraint and looseness in director
Randall Miller’s feature, which just wouldn’t happen in an auteur movie.
You notice some rambling in certain scenes and the overall thread loses
focus by the end. However, if you love wine (which I do), Bottle
Shock is great fun.
The transfer to DVD is very clean, with vibrant colours.
Sound options are Dolby 2.0 or Dolby 5.1, which I think is very
considerate! Extras include Deleted scenes and the 12 minute Chateau
Montelena Winery Featurette. Buy it if you like wine and or you plan on
visiting the much-vaunted Napa Valley, USA.