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A Mixed Case Sampler:  The Wines from Rex Pickett’s Vertical

After earnest (albeit sporadic) reading since early December, I finished Vertical, Rex Pickett’s book sequel to Sideways, this past week. To say it’s a wine-soaked Bacchanalian romp is an understatement akin to saying Screaming Eagle wine is “kind of” expensive. 

While I won’t review the book formally because I don’t possess the bona fides to critique fiction, suffice to say that “ambivalence” is how I would describe my feelings about it.  However, in that ambivalence I should note that I’m going to read it again – I’m just persnickety enough that I can’t invest time in something without walking away with a definitive opinion.  A re-read on my part should give the impression that my initial take is leaning towards, “Glass half full.”

Vertical leaves a couple of doors open for a third book to round out a trilogy, and like other sequels that try to capture lightening in a bottle (no pun intended) a second time, the story does amp up Miles and Jack’s hijinks AND the wine references.


There are A LOT of wine references…

As Pickett says on his Author’s Note page, “No winery or winemaker or anyone in the wine trade (in) any capacity influenced the wines or wineries that appear in Vertical.  As part of my research for Vertical I held several large tastings with non-wine professionals and solicited their opinions.  The wines that appear are a result of those and other efforts, and were picked as appropriate for the characters and the story.  Please celebrate the hard work and achievements of all vignerons in the spirit of the Vertical journey.”

Given the impact Sideways has had on the wine world I thought it would be fun to point out the wines that Miles, Jack and others drink in the book.  This is not a comprehensive list; many other wines were mentioned, but only glancingly.  The wines I’ve listed below all figure into Vertical as name-checked plot detail from Miles.  The links for each wine go to either the winery or retail where the wines can be purchased and I’ve added the retail price for those scanning.

A nearly complete list of wines from the book Vertical

2009 David Family Pinot Noir | $70

2007 Bonaccorsi Pinot Noir | $50

2008 St. Innocent Freedom Hill Pinot Blanc | $20

2008 Witness Tree Vintage Select Pinot Noir | $40

2007 Witness Tree Claim 51 Pinot Noir | $48

2007 Sokol Blosser Goosepen Block Pinot Noir | $70

2008 Bergström Vineyard Pinot Noir | $78

Alma Rosa Chardonnay (No vintage mentioned) | $19 - $28

2008 Foxen Tinaquaic Vineyard Chardonnay | $32

2008 Foxen Bien Nacido Chardonnay | $32

Justin Vineyards and Winery Isoceles (No vintage mentioned) | $62

2002 Domaine Mugneret-Gibourg, Grand Cru, Echézeauz | $256

2008 Hilliard Bruce Pinot Noir | $80

1999 Domaine Carneros Vintage Brut | $24.99

Steele Chardonnay Dupratt Vineyard (No vintage mentioned) | $26

2008 Ayoub Pinot Noir | $52

2009 Harper Voit Strandline Pinot Noir | Price N/A

2008 Van Duzer Estate Pinot Noir | $30

Soter Sparkling Brut Rosé (No vintage mentioned) | $48

Amity Vineyards Late Harvest Gewurztraminer (No vintage mentioned) | $15

WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Gris (No vintage mentioned) | $19.99

Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir (No vintage mentioned) | $35

Anne Amie Pinot Noir (No vintage mentioned) | $35

1996 Gevrey-Chambertin Grand Cru Clos de Bèze | $155 avg. / auction

2004 Arnoux Romanée St. Vivant | $296

2008 St. Innocent White Rose Vineyard Pinot Noir | $60


Posted in, Free Run: Field Notes From a Wine Life. Permalink | Comments (5) |


On 02/01, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

What? No freaking merlot?

On 02/01, Mike Veseth wrote:

I think there was a Boedecker Willamette Valley Pinot Noir somewhere in the book, too.

I share you feelings about Vertical. Here’s my take on it from The Wine Economist

P.S. Yes, Stephen, there is Merlot—the Two Buck Chuck label.

On 02/01, Katie wrote:

I did go ahead and review the book (in a not-so-glowing manner) despite not “possessing the bona fides” you mention because I think being an avid reader is enough to criticize/praise fiction…we are, after all, the audience that will or won’t buy the book. I was underwhelmed and glad I only got it as an ebook thus spending less than I would have on a physical copy.

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On 10/20, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

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