In my last article, I went through the documentary SOMM. This post covers the follow-up movie about ten very compelling wine stories, SOMM: Into The Bottle. You don’t have to have seen SOMM to watch Into The Bottle, but it is helpful.
Somm: Into The Bottle – Ten Wine Stories
This documentary is really ten wine stories… Or chapters, all about wine. There are interviews with sommeliers, wine professionals and winemakers that are informative, humorous and engaging. The topics that are covered are as follows:
- The Winemaker
- The Vintage
- The History
- The Wars
- The New World
- The Cost
- The Barrels
- The Point Scores
- The Sommelier
- The Memory
Rather than go through every chapter in detail and spoil the movie for you, I will hit the fascinating highlights.
For starters, one of the winemakers opens the oldest bottle in recorded history – Chateau Lafite-Rothschild from 1870. There are three stores that carry magnum size bottles for an average price of $25,000. The regular bottle goes for about $12K. And there they were… drinking a bottle of wine that was over 145 years old!
Another interesting bit of history – the two World Wars put a major dent in the production of wine from France, Spain and Italy. First of all, the Nazis bombed many of the vineyards and wineries. There isn’t much left of the vintages from the forties since much of the wine was either drunk or destroyed. However, there were some cases that were hidden and are still around today.
Sommeliers are very opinionated about the point system. Many of them are not in favorite of it, but a few of them do find the value to help the consumer in guiding them in what the experts think. My feeling has always been that if you taste the wine and like it, it makes no difference what the wine critics think. And of course if you ask five wine critics what score they would put on a particular bottle of wine, you’ll end up with seven opinions.
The section on memory is fascinating. Having a particular glass of wine with a certain group of people at a specific location can often be recalled in your memory. It’s like remembering where you were and whom you were with when a song is played. Wine is much like that. It triggers a sensory recall and suddenly you are transported there for a moment.
If learning about the basics of wine is something that interests you, I recommend watching Into The Bottle. It doesn’t get overly heavy-handed or too technical. There is a lot of compelling and interesting info, and it can be fun at a party when you pop open a bottle, pour some wine in a glass and nonchalantly say that 2007 was a banner year for wine.
In case you’re missed it, here is a link to the last article: