As fans of the movie will recall, the character played by Paul Giamatti, Miles, waxed poetic about Pinot Noir. But, to put it mildly, he was not a fan of Merlot, at one point declaring, “If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any (expletive) Merlot!”
Well, since the movie was shot in and around the Solvang area in Santa Barbara County’s Santz Ynez Valley, the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau has decided to give locally produced Merlot its moment in the sun — and it’s using the 10th anniversary of the release of “Sideways” for an “excuse.”
For three hours on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 13, a “Merlot Taste-Off” will be held in the garden courtyard of the Solvang Festival Theater. Guests will have an opportunity to sample a number of Merlots and nosh on gourmet appetizers prepared by local restaurants. The cost is $65 per person, and proceeds will benefit the not-for-profit Solvang Festival Theater, now in its fifth decade as the local mecca for the performing arts.
Participating wineries confirmed thus far include:
Tickets for the “Merlot Taste-Off” may be available at the door, and if they are, they’ll cost $10 more. But I believe in better safe than sorry, so I suggest obtaining tickets in advance here.
If you can’t make it, you can celebrate at home with this collection of easy-drinking Merlot curated from the Alexander Valley and the Bordeaux region of France.
To paraphrase Miles, you’ll have a bleepin’ good time.