I only recently enjoyed my first single-varietal bottling of Mourvèdre, so was excited to hear when Larry, owner and winemaker of Tercero Wines, released his 2016 Mourvèdre Rosé. It’s certainly not something I’ve seen before, but Larry’s been playing with this style of rosé since 2012. It’s an interesting texture and flavor profile — versatile enough to stand on its own or pair with food (see Larry’s recommendations below) — and Tercero Wines Mourvèdre Rosé is certainly unlike any other “pink” wine I’ve had before.
“I love to talk – a lot! I also love to make wine – a lot! This label pays homage to the fact that every wine tells a story.” So reads Larry’s 2011 Verbiage Label. He’s a lover of words who’s eager to share the story of each vineyard, grape, bottle, and vintage. So it’s a heart-warming sentiment when, instead of describing Verbiage on the back of the bottle, he pauses, takes a step back, and acknowledges us as lovers of wine ourselves. “Share your story,” he says.
There’s been a lot of back and forth about Rex Pickett’s Vertical in the online world. The dispute between two versions, “which is ‘real?’” seems to have garnered a lot of controversy in both the literary and wine industries. The truth is there are two copies: an unedited “director’s cut,” if you will, written in total by the author Rex Pickett; and the publisher’s edited, re-written and re-published version, which is, reportedly, unapproved by the author. As a writer and an editor, I can fully understand both sides of the story. As a student of literature, I can only ask the question, “Which is the most complete story?” As an avid reader, I can only ask “Which is more enjoyable?” I’ve read both versions — Vertical and the sub-titled Passion and Pinot. At the end of the day, there was only one that struck me, one that I would go back to.
I’m not here to do a compare and contrast essay. Nor am I here to discuss what went on between author and publisher — I have no intention of starting or adding to any of the behind-the-scenes industry politics. What follows below is my honest review of one book, a book I really love, a book that, like a good wine, I want to share with friends. Vertical by Rex Picket, is a book that both teaches and entertains, challenges the reader mentally and emotionally, and provides insight into a world we may not otherwise understand.
Rex Pickett has kindly participated in this review, taking time to answer a few questions about his novel. Cheers, mates, and I hope you enjoy.
Vermentino — a grape predominantly celebrated in Italy, is a rare find in the New World of wine. Although a few West Coast producers (Bailiwick, Tablas Creek, and Uvaggio to name a few) are beginning to see the benefits of working with this sturdy grape variety. A vigorous grower, Vermentino does well in warmer climates: it’s resistant to drought, thrives on less fertile soils, and usually ripens at the peak of the harvest cycle. Vermentino vines are often planted along slopes facing a major body of water so they’re exposed to additional light and warmth due to the reflected light. In fact, if you look at those three major producers previously mentioned, you’ll notice that they source their grapes from similarly situated terroir, despite the fact that one sources from Lake County, while the others source from Sonoma Coast.
Troon Vineyard, located in the Applegate Valley of Southern Oregon also benefits from ideal Vermentino conditions. Situated amongst the Siskiyou Mountains, the lowest of Troon Vineyard’s vines sits at 1400 feet. Here, where the soil is predominantly granitic in nature, the vines will receive even more warmth, as granite is heat-absorbent. All this elevation and warmth is balanced by Troon’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean in relation to their position near the Rogue River Valley: the cool marine air funnels through the valley, decreasing the temperature of the vineyard up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the nights. Thus, the grapes are allowed to ripen while still maintaining a naturally high level of acidity.