Sideways is now a play. Sideways, the book which became an Alexander Payne movie, which transformed wine tourism, at least in California, is now hitting the West End. A great article with author Rex Pickett can be found here.
My biggest regret about Sideways is that while the volume of Pinot drunk in America skyrocketed, the price of Merlot stayed more or less static. That, to me, is a con; even gold and silver fluctuate on demand…
There has been no reprieve on the price of Merlot at Burrowing Owl. If you buy it online from the winery, at $30 before shipping, it’s not too hard on the pocketbook. But locally (and the Merlot is the only BO easily found in private shops), it tops out at $40 once you factor tax.
It is good. Toxically good. We definitely finished the bottle (over oven baked broccoli, cauliflower and turkey meatballs). If The Who was BO wine, Roger Daltry would be their Chardonnay, Pete Townshend the Athene, and Keith Moon (RIP) their 2010 Merlot. I am not kidding: This wine is that manic, it swings the gambit from soft and lush and typical to aspirations of nearly Cab Sauv profundity (which, no, it doesn’t reach). There are some serious peaks and valleys as you drink it. If you need qualifiers, OK: violets and hints of chocolate, tannins, unripe tart blackberries mixed with overripe loganberries, it’s a teeter totter). All of that, and more, in a whirlwind potpourri that is both intoxicating and confusing.
Price: In a restaurant at $70 I think it’s a joke. At $40 I give it a pass. At $30 it’s half a case.
Market Liquidity: David Sedaris in culottes. If you get the reference.