Wino Field Trip: Sideways Roundtable at Weston Wine Company

Soon after I completed my last Wino Field Trip post the opportunity for another one came up. A friend, and fellow professional wino mentioned an event at the winery she pours at: Weston Wine Company. I’m always game for 1) trying new wines and 2) checking out interesting events that will let me try new wines so I headed over to check it out once I finished pouring for the day.

Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Sideways. In my line of work people are constantly asking if they can drink the dump bucket and giggling and saying things like “Just like in Sideways— heh heh heh…” For an entire year I heard this, having never seen the movie. Unable to find the movie, I read the book. Finally, one day a customer actually mailed me his copy of the DVD. Perhaps I need to revisit the movie, but I just don’t get what all the hype is about… but I digress…

This event is the first in a series of quarterly “book club” events. When we arrived we each received a packet with book notes, a listing of the Sideways inspired foods being served, and tasting notes on the five Sideways connected wines we would be tasting as well as an order sheet (should we want to take home any of the wines) and a coupon for a free glass of wine.Then we were pointed in the direction of a table of Sideways inspired grub: Tri-Tip, Pinto Beans, Garlic Bread, and Strawberries (with angel food cake!) Once we filled our plates, it was onto the wines!

Alta Maria Sauvignon Blanc 2011

This was the first stop on our Sideways tour. Alta Maria’s tasting room is located right next door to the Los Olivos Cafe where the quartet dine in the movie. This vineyard also has a personal connection for Weston Wine Company owner Colleen Gerke, a California girl, as she attended high school with the viticulturist. The only white wine of the night, this was a soft, tropical, Sauvignon Blanc with notes of honeydew melon at the start with subtle citrus rind behind and ending with slight mineral tones. It was especially tasty with the strawberries.

Byron Pinot Noir 2012


Next, was the first of two (of course) Pinot Noirs. In Sideways, Jack is drinking a Byron in the car on the way to wine country. The movie Byron is a bubbly that is no longer produced, but since this is Sideways, a Pinot Noir is an acceptable substitute. It was a fairly typical Pinot Noir, with red fruit notes, some slight spice, and smokiness. Pleasant between bites of tri-tip.

Vinum Cellars Pinot Noir 2011

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Here’s my actual tweet about this wine. I actually wrote the words “wear like cologne” in my tasting notes. Juicy, ripe cherry, on a backdrop of earthy vanilla. Layered and complicated. Just like me. 🙂 Funny Sideways tie-in too: apparently these grapes are grown near where Miles throws a fit and gets out of the car in the film.

Fess Parker Frontier Red


So Fess Parker (AKA Fass Canyon) is where the infamous dump-bucket-drinking scene (AKA the bane of my existence) takes place. Fess Parker was the actor who played Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone in the 50’s and 60’s and this is his winery. We sampled the Frontier Red which is a blend including Syrah, Mouvedre and others. In the film, Miles is not a fan of this wine, which had a nice flavor of caramelized fruit, but heavy-handed oak.

Zaca Mesa Z Cuvée 2009


Zaca Mesa is up the street from Fess Parker (of wine-bucket-drinking fame) and the Z Cuvée is a Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre blend and an old favorite of WWC owners Jason & Colleen Gerke. Inspired by the wines of Côtes du Rhône, this wine had aromas of plum, unique spice notes reminiscent of gingerbread, and a toasty oak finish.

Despite the fact that there was “no effing Merlot“– (I don’t care what Miles says, I like Merlot) I’m glad that I checked out this event, and double-glad that no one thought it would be funny to drink the dump bucket. I’ve got What to Drink With What You Eat all loaded in my Nook (it was already on my Goodreads list) to prep for the next “Book Club” night on 10/25.


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