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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 02/ 6/2006

Movies and Merlot

By Fritz Hahn

It's safe to assume that most people settling down in front of the Super Bowl yesterday did so with a frosty beer in hand. A nice glass of Chardonnay or Meritage was probably the last thing most viewers would think of sipping during the big game.

Even after Two Buck Chuck, "fun" new labels and expanded selections at some grocery stores, wine continues to suffer from an image problem. Some of this stems from the complicated vocabulary -- grape blends, tannins, aging, the concept of terroir -- but it's also because beer is seen as more user-friendly than wine.

Trying to take some of the mystery and formality out of wine education isn't easy, but the Washington Wine Academy came up with a novel solution: a monthly "Wine Night at the Movies" event at the Arlington Cinema N Draft House, which combines a feature film with a relaxed, tangentially related wine tasting. This week's pairing is a true no-brainer: the Oscar-nominated "Sideways," about two guys taking a trip through California wine country, preceded by a sampling of California wines.

In the most famous line from the film, pinot noir-loving oenophile Miles (Paul Giamatti) dismissed California's most popular grape varietal: "If anyone orders merlot, I'm leaving. I am not drinking any [expletive] merlot." It got a big laugh from audiences, and it even caused sales of merlot to drop.

In an attempt to prove the Mileses of the world wrong, the Washington Wine Academy's Robert Cavanaugh leads a guided tasting of California merlots and Miles's beloved pinot noirs before the film. After all, there are good merlots out there -- you just have to know where to look.

Admission is $20, and includes wine and the movie. Tickets can be purchased from the Arlington Cinema N Draft Web site.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | February 6, 2006; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Movies  
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How fun - thanks for the heads up!
I watched the big game last night with a glass of Cab Sav in hand...Strange combo but hey, you'd be surprised what can go with a spicy chili!

Posted by: Nicole | February 6, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Your premise goes against all recent stats in the beverage industry. Beer is losing ground substantially to wine and cocktails --particularly vodka. Of course we think of beer during sports, ther beer industry buys all the other ads. That's far from saying that wine suffers an image problem.

Posted by: Really? | February 6, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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