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
Alma Rosa Chardonnay (No vintage mentioned) | $19 – $28
Justin Vineyards and Winery Isoceles (No vintage mentioned) | $62
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
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