Sideways was a strange movie. I’ll admit to liking it, but am still amazed by the impact it had on wine consumption considering that both lead characters were big time losers. The shot it gave to pinot noir sales is already legendary in the trade. Yet, what probably stood out to most people was Miles’ tirade, “I’m not drinking any fucking merlot!” While I thought that a bit extreme, especially as beautiful women were involved, it highlighted the fact that merlot had come to represent the most vacuous aspects of drinking wine. My amazement never seemed to go away no matter how many times I heard someone walk up to a bar and order a glass of merlot without any thought to who made it or where it might be from. I guess it’s understandable as merlot and chardonnay had become the burgundy and chablis of the previous generation: generic house wines that did not demand (nor recommend) closer examination.
Apparently to counterattack this assault on merlot, there is now a movie: Merlove - A movie about Merlot Wine
This seems a bit unnecessary, both commercially and artistically. What Sideways did for pinot noir was to increase the production of lower quality industrial pinot noir. What Sideways did for merlot was to hurt the sales of lower quality industrial merlot. It seems to me like merlot came out ahead in the bargain.