Tonight is the advanced screening of “Bottle Shock,” a film about the 1976 wine tasting endearingly called “The Judgement of Paris.”

The tasting was the brainchild of Steven Spurrier, who became one of the world’s more famous wine critics, and his belief at the time was that California was producing great wine – worthy of far more respect than it was being granted, partially due to the fact that most of what California was producing (and to some extent still produces) was crap. Spurrier understood that California’s cream of the crop could compete with France’s greatest wines.

France for the most part, patriotic and indignant as always, scoffed at this suggestion. Spurrier then suggested that France’s great wines should compete in a blind tasting (meaning none of the judges knew which wines were in which glass) against some of California’s great wines, with the judging panel being comprised of France’s more authoritarian personalities. Surely the French could at the very least pick out their own wines, what with the terroir, history and tradition.

Shockingly, each of the French judges rated California wines ahead of the French entries, and in one conspicuous circumstance, a French judge publicly scolded a wine as “definitely being from California,” because it lacked this and that, when it turned out to be not only French, but one of his own wines.

Anyway, on to the movie. I’m interested to see if I enjoy “Bottle Shock,” because it very clearly rides in the wake of “Sideways” and hopes to succeed in similar fashion. It stars Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, and a few other unknowns. The storyline is not exactly hollywood material, and I will wait to see if it is entertaining whatsoever, because, let’s face it, a blind tasting of wines is really quite boring.

I just saw the trailer for “W,” a movie about George W Bush, by Oliver Stone, which promises to be interesting, if not good. The release date is purportedly October 28, which puts it a couple of weeks before the election…

Off to the left coast tomorrow.

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