I watched Sideways again on Thursday night and was reminded of a great conversation in it between Miles, the constantly gloomy main character, and Maya, the waitress who is also passionate about wines. I found the converation transcript on the Net … I love Pinot Noir as well, but have never really tasted Merlot to give my comments.
The Wine Dialogue
from the film, Sideways
by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor
based on the novel by Rex Picketty
Why are you so into Pinot? It’s like a thing with you.
Miles laughs at first, then smiles wistfully at the question. He searches for the answer in his glass and begins slowly.
I don’t know. It’s a hard grape to grow. As you know. It’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s not a survivor like Cabernet that can grow anywhere and thrive even when neglected. Pinot needs constant care and attention and in fact can only grow in specific little tucked-away corners of the world. And only the most patient and nurturing growers can do it really, can tap into Pinot’s most fragile, delicate qualities. Only when someone has taken the time to truly understand its potential can Pinot be coaxed into its fullest expression. And when that happens, its flavors are the most haunting and brilliant and subtle and thrilling and ancient on the planet.
Maya has found this answer revealing and moving.
I mean, Cabernets can be powerful and exalting, but they seem prosaic to me for some reason. By comparison. How about you?
What about me?
I don’t know. Why are you into wine?
I suppose I got really into wine originally through my ex-husband. He had a big, kind of show-off cellar. But then I found out that I have a really sharp palate, and the more I drank, the more I liked what it made me think about.
Yeah? Like what?
Like what a fraud he was.
No, but I do like to think about the life of wine, how it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing, how the sun was shining that summer or if it rained – what the weather was like. I think about all those people who tended and picked the grapes, and if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I love how wine continues to evolve, how every time I open a bottle it’s going to taste different than if I had opened it on any other day. Because a bottle of wine is actually alive – it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks like your – ’61 – and begins its steady, inevitable decline. And it tastes so f*****g good.
Now it is Miles’s turn to be swept away. Maya’s face tells us the moment is right, but Miles remains frozen. He needs another sign, and Maya is bold enough to offer it: reaches out and places one hand atop his.