Slate’s wine columnist Mike Steinberger weighs in on Sideways, perhaps my favourite film of 2004. Though he generally likes it, he can’t help but display some typical wine geek insecurity. He worries that Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of Miles Raymond, a character who is, in his words, “a bit of a wine asshole” will reflect badly on all wine lovers. He implicitly worries that people might think the character’s arrogance and selfishness somehow flow out of his being a wine connoisseur. Mike, relax! Miles is a character in a movie. He’s not representing everyone who loves wine. He’s not representing all middle-aged men. And no, Mike, he’s not representing you.
Although I do consider myself a wine lover, I’m not obsessive, and the thing I liked most about the film is that it’s not particularly about wine at all. It’s about life, with all its disappointments and its pleasures. And it’s about the crazy broken people who live it.
UPDATE: About an equal number of people get it and don’t get it on the eGullet Forums. When someone says the movie isn’t believable because a “true wine geek wouldn’t…”, I just had to roll my eyes.