Sideways2_2Want to experience a wine epiphany, like the scene with Virginia Madsen in Sideways? We can’t guarantee you’ll feel as passionate, but if you want to wax poetic with a glass in your hand like Miles, there’s always the Essex County Wine Society. On Feb. 3, quaff a selection of 2001 vintage Chateauneuf-de-Papes red wines in a blind tasting (bottle labels are hidden until end of tasting) conducted by the group’s Southern Rhone expert, Tom Bonito. Domaine de Marcoux Vieilles Vignes, a $250 bottle of wine described as having a “dark plum/purple color as well as a sumptuous bouquet of Provencal herbs, roasted meats, cr√ɬ®me de cassis, blackberries, and violets,” is one of the wines to be served. Sounds like something to rival Miles’ beloved pinot noir. Space is limited for the $69 tasting; call Dick Appert at 973-746-7449.

If you identify more with Jack, there’s a wine tasting dinner at Chengdu46 in Clifton, this Wednesday, at 7 p.m. While noshing on starters like beef crescents and sesame crab rolls, you can try wines paired to match each course, with selections from the Lorie Valley, Tuscany, New Zealand and Chile as well as a Syrah from Australia. For reservations, call 973-777-8855.

Or, grab a buddy and recreate the wine tour experience, without jetting off to Santa Barbara. New Jersey’s wineries are hosting a Wine & Chocolate Wine Trail Weekend to coincide with Valentine’s Day. Participating wineries will offer wine cellar tours, chocolate and wine pairings, live music and wine education (like not drinking from the spit pail). For more info, click here and then on Wine Trails.

Liz George is the publisher of Montclair Local.

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