DIE SZENERIE: Eine Woche vor seiner Hochzeit begibt sich der gescheiterte TV-Darsteller Jack (Thomas Haden Church) gemeinsam mit seinem College-Freund und Connaisseur Miles (Paul Giamatti) auf eine Weintour durch Kalifornien. Während Miles sich den Vorzügen der Rebsorten hingeben will, sehnt sich Jack nach einem letzten One Night Stand vor dem Hafen der Ehe. Bei einem ersten Zwischenstopp in einer Winzerei erhält Jack von seinem Trauzeugen eine Wein-Lehrstunde. À propos, wer ein Mal „Sideways“ gesehen hat, wird sich anschließend nie mehr trauen, vor einem Weinregal “any fucking Merlot“ einzupacken.
INT. SANFORD TASTING ROOM - DAY
Miles and Jack are at a bar, holding two glasses with Pinot Noir against the sun-filled window.
MILES: First thing - hold the glass up and examine the wine against the light. You’re looking for color and clarity. Just get a sense of it. Okay?
Again, both are holding their glasses against the light.
MILES: Thick? Thin? Watery? Syrupy? Okay?
MILES: Now tip it.
Miles is tipping the glass over the counter.
MILES: (cont.) What you're doing here is checking for color density as it thins out toward the rim. That’s gonna tell you how old it is, among other things. It’s usually more important with reds. Okay?
MILES: Now stick your nose in it.
Jack waves the glass under his nose like a perfume bottle.
Jack looks to Chris, the wine pourer, for confirmation.
MILES: Don't be shy. Really get your nose right in there. Really -
Miles buries his nose in the glass while Jack follows his lead.
MILES: (sniffs) Mmm. A little citrus. Maybe some strawberry. Mmm. Passion fruit. Mmm. And - Ah, there’s just, like, the faintest (sniffs) soupçon of like, uh, asparagus and - There’s a - just a flutter of, like, a - like, a nutty Edam cheese.
Both start sniffing again.
JACK: Strawberries. Yeah.
JACK: Strawberries. Not the cheese.
MILES: Yeah. Put your glass down. Get some - Get some air into it.
Miles expertly swirls the wine on the counter. Jack follows suit.
MILES: Oxygenating it opens it up. It unlocks the aromas, the flavors. Very important. Smell again.
Both inhale into their glasses.
MILES: Ah. That's what you do with every one of ‘em.
JACK: Wow. (unpatiently) When do we drink it?
Jack gulps his wine down in one shot. Miles chews his before swallowing.
JACK: Mmm! Ahh.
JACK: How would you rate this one, Miles?
MILES: Well, usually they start you on wines with learning disabilities… but this one’s pretty damn good. (to Chris) This is the new one, right, Chris?
CHRIS: Just released about two months ago.
MILES: Nice job.
CHRIS: We like it.
JACK: (to Miles) You could work in a wine store, Miles.
MILES: Mmm. Yeah, that’d be a good move.
Miles looks at Jack and notices something.
MILES: Are you chewing gum?