Max Koch Uncorked

Wine-soaked adventures through a twisted life…

Max Koch Goes to CASA CASSARA (New Video)

It was a whirlwind couple of days for me this past weekend. Went up to Los Olivos on Friday to check out the 10th anniversary celebration of “Sideways” at Kalyra winery (where we first meet sexy Sandra Oh’s character, Stephanie, in the film).

We sat outside under the stars and watched the film as we ate gourmet pizza and sipped slowly on a bottle of their NV Mattie’s Select Rose, named after one of the ranch’s late canines. The atmosphere was divine, and the company could not have been more desired. With the exception of a very rude woman nearby us who shouted, “Horrible ending!!” right before the end credits rolled.


(The ending of “Sideways” is not horrible. The end of “Sideways” is perfect. Just like the rest of the film is PERFECT.)

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Saturday night was awesome because, after a FULL day of lavender fields and tasting rooms – skipping the Harvest Festival altogether – we had dinner at Los OIivos Wine Merchant & Cafe. This, of course, was the joint where Miles has the meltdown during dinner with Maya, Jack, and Stephanie. Then he makes the wrenching drink-and dial to his ex-wife. I was hoping the pay phone would actually be there but it was nowhere to be found. No matter. Snapping a pic near the wall of wine by which the “Sideways” foursome sat was giddy-enough fun for me. 

Los Olivos at night is breathtaking. Country dark and quiet all around!

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Sunday, we made our way over to the Lompoc Wine Ghetto and took in “Cellar Shenanigans”, the annual open house for Fiddlehead (we’re club members). They are pouring some seriously stunning stuff over there, especially their Pinots. And their Happy Canyon Sauv Blanc. It was just so cool to chill in the warehouse with wily winemaker Kathy Joseph and her dudes, Mike and Ron. I even took a 20-question “Sideways” quiz and only missed ONE answer, damn it (how…HOW could I forget that Thomas Haden Church was actually nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar???).

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I have to say, however, the highlight of my weekend was bonding with winemaker Dan Cassara at the Casa Cassara tasting room in Solvang. It’s all too clear this badass/biker/Santa impersonator has a sincere zest and zeal for life.

Click the pic of Dan and me for the video!  You don’t wanna miss THIS one…

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WINE PAIRING: A couple slugs of Casa Cassara’s “Sam’s Dago Red” and a jar of Dan’s gourmet FROG BALLS should about do ya!