Sommelier Richard Betts is holding court at a gathering of friends inside a Modernist glass-and-wood cube, a house perched atop a hill in Sonoma. He has a glass of wine in each hand, both robust reds: Old World in the left, New World in the right. "It's like the difference between going to the cinema and going to the movies," Betts tells the three Silicon Valley couples gathered around the table, ready to taste and compare the two wines along with him.
"Hollywood movies are, like, 'Boom!' " Betts says, nodding at the New World Cab. "But you never know what you're going to get at the cinema. Cinema has twists and turns; it goes somewhere totally different than you expected."
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First everyone tries the Old World bottle, a 2010 Saint Glinglin Saint-Émilion that Betts makes in Bordeaux. It's a quintessential red from that region, with a blackberry aroma and an intense, tannic backbone. But while Saint-Émilion reds routinely go for hundreds of dollars, his Saint Glinglin is just $35. The name—Glinglin—roughly translates as "when pigs fly." "Taste the minerality," Betts instructs. "This wine twists and turns a little bit: That's the cinema."