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Wine sends everything 'Sideways'

June 17, 2004|Valli Herman | Times Staff Writer

It's a book signing, excerpt reading, film teasing and wine tasting.

Tonight's special edition of the Echo's Extreme Wine Tasting celebrates the release of local author Rex Pickett's "Sideways" (St. Martin's Griffin, New York), a wine-centric road-trip story based on his adventures with pals Julian Davies and Roy Gittens.

You can find Davies at the event, pouring, educating and delighting with his British wit, and Gittens spinning his eccentric collection of booze music -- in all, a bunch of great reasons to sip selections from Santa Barbara's Sanford Winery.

While you're savoring a Pinot, flip to the book's acknowledgments, where Pickett thanks Davies "for educating me on wine free of charge," and Gittens "for unwittingly providing the inspiration for one of the characters."

The book chronicles a week in the life of Jack and Miles, friends who are variously facing marriage, dealing with divorce and drinking their way through bars and tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez Valley, a copy of "The Oxford Companion to Wine" in the luggage.

"Sideways," the booze odyssey movie, is to be released in November as a Fox Searchlight film directed by Alexander Payne. Seats are still available at the tasting, where books will be available for signing and staining and where there will be the reading of lines like this:

"I sipped the overly oaked Cab, puckering at its harshness and total absence of forward fruit."


Extreme Wine Tasting

Where: The Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles

When: 7:30 tonight

Price: $18

Info: (213) 413-8200 or RSVP to

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