It had to happen. Rex Pickett, author of the popular wine-themed novel Sideways, which inspired the Oscar winning movie of the same name featuring dynamic duo Miles and Jack – the former in love with Pinot and the latter looking to get his pinot serviced on one final road trip before he ties the knot, has released his first Pinot Noir onto the market.
Christened Ne Plus Ultra, meaning “the highest point of excellence” in Latin, the 2011 Pinot Noir hails from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. For Pickett, it could only ever have been Pinot – his protagonist Miles in Sideways is obsessed with the temperamental grape variety, waxing lyrical about its ethereal beauty throughout the book to the ever-patient object of his affection, Maya.
"When I decided to produce my own wine, I knew immediately it would be a Pinot Noir, the grape variety so rhapsodically celebrated in Sideways. I looked to the Willamette, home to some of the worlds finest Pinot, and the stage on which the misadventures of Miles and Jack continue my second book Vertical,” Pickett told Wine and the City.
The Pinot, a collaboration with Oregon winemakers Drew Voit and Darcy Pendergrass, is made from grapes grown at high altitude on Laurelwood soils at Twelve Oaks Estate Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Previously winemaker at Shea Wine Cellars, Voit now consults for a number of wineries in the Willamette Valley and is launching a custom winemaking operation for boutique wine brands. Pendergrass meanwhile, is the head winemaker for Amity Vineyards
Just 195 cases of the 2011 vintage were produced and are being sold through Quigley Fine Wines at $45 a bottle. Pickett is currently working on a third novel in the Sideways series, to be set in Chile. “Events will conspire to take Miles and Jack to Chile. It will be a journey and wine will play a part, but I don’t know what that journey is yet,” Pickett admitted. In addition, he's also pushing director of the Sideways film Alexander Payne for a sequel based on his second novel Vertical.