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

photo copy

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.


Watch That/ Drink This

What could be more relaxing at the end of a long week than relaxing on the sofa with a good movie and a bottle glass of wine? But what are we watching? And more importantly, what are we drinking? It’s time for…

Wine and a Movie!

When I was envisioning these pairings I attempted to match the wine with the characters, setting, and feel of the film. This proved more difficult than I had originally anticipated.

1. Chick Flicks like Bridget Jones’ Diary: Our slightly-neurotic-but-lovable heroine is handling her dramatic life by filling her diary and puffing on cigarettes. What’s she sipping? An oaked Chardonnay, natch. Hopefully it will also pair well with that horrid blue twine soup!


2. Gritty Dramas like Fight ClubThis is an easy one. There’s nothing I can envision more here than a dirty, old-world, Cabernet Franc. Wine so earthy, so smoky, so dirty you’ll definitely need a bar of soap from The Paper Street Soap Company when you’re done.


3. Family-Friendly Movies like FrozenThankfully, now that my kids are getting older (In a little over a month I will have TWO teenagers! Eek!) I’m no longer obligated to view the latest cartoon sensation, but I understand totally that maybe when you’re hearing “Let it Go” for the umteen-millionth time you’re wishing you had a drink. Of course, what is better with Frozen than Ice Wine? “Do you want to build a wine-man?”


4. Dude Flicks like Scarface: First of all, what do you call a chick-flick for dudes? And what constitutes a dude flick? Car chases? Stuff blowing up? I decided to go classic gangster on this one. What dude doesn’t like Scarface? The pairing on this one is a little labored, but I think good. The pairing here totally had to be a red wine. Tony is Cuban. What wine would pair well with the salty pork and spicy mustard in a Cuban sandwich? I’d go with the bright, berry notes in a Tempranillo. La Granja, from Spain is one of my favorites. I got it at Trader Joe’s.

pig wine

5. Classic Movies like Dirty DancingThis movie, suggested by my Bestie, was a stumper. My first inclination was to pair it with a wine that might be served at Kellerman’s; certainly there are plenty to choose from in the Hudson Valley. Next, I thought perhaps something 1960’s inspired? That brought to mind more cocktails than wine. Finally, I settled upon a wine that pairs with watermelon. Watermelon tastes like summer; and after all, it was Baby carrying the watermelon that started it all. So, sip on a nice cool, summery, Rosé while you watch those unforgettable dance moves. Heck, have some watermelon too!


6. Romances like When Harry Met SallyI guess this is sort of a Rom-Com, but it’s my favorite. Don’t judge. It takes a long, long time for Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal to get together, but when they do you want to celebrate! And it’s New Year’s Eve! Naturally, you’ll want to sip on some Champagne. Want a snack? How about some popcorn with truffle butter? But put the truffle butter on the side.