Sideways is premier general audience wine movie of all time.
The movie’s success mauled merlot and put pinot noir on a pinnacle.
Now Miles Raymond and Jack are back in another on-the-road wine and sex novel, Vertical by Rex Pickett (Loose Gravel Press, 395 pages, $15). Book begs for Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church to reprise their roles.
In this incarnation, Oregon’s Willamette Valley pinot noirs are wine stars and over-oaked chardonnays are wine villains, but over-the-top, outrageous situations remain the yarn’s core.
Miles is now rich and, surprise, worshipped by pinot noir winemakers. Jack has fallen upon hard times: drunk, divorced, desperate for television work.
Miles is awash with all the delicious pinot he could ever drink and all the delicious women he could ever bed. Jack not so much, as snippet from a woman meeting him illustrates:
“Oh, so you’re the cad women see as the paradigm of noncommittal, immoral degeneracy?”
Hilarious, improbable scenes cascade scene after hilarious improbable scene. The dog of Miles’ stroke-addled mother is hit by a car, which leads to a veterinarian, which leads to vet being recruited to extract mom’s tooth because risk-averse dentists will not perform the procedure until mom is weaned off Coumadin, but they can’t wait that long because Miles and Jack and mom—and a pot-smoking Filipina caretaker—must get to Oregon in time for Miles to be dropped into a vat of Two Buck Chuck merlot for charity, where he is attacked by breasts-bared female fans. Well, you get the idea.
• Anne Amie Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Black cherry, raspberry nose; nimble cherry, red berry, char meat flavor; no edges, long finish; excellent; winery mentioned in the book. $33
• Elk Cove Vineyards Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. Wonderful rose petal nose; cherry, raspberry; medium body, velvet tannins; very tight: decant; winery mentioned in the book. $29
• Domaine Coteau Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir. Medium-light; plum, blackberry, raspberry; light tannin & body; earthy nose: decant. $29
• Firesteed Pinot Noir Oregon. Nice jammy nose; very light, airy in mouth; red berry; delicate, no length; sorta OK for price; Miles Raymond might rant. $15