Some like to lounge by the pool with a good book. Others like to leisurely sip wine as they take in the rays. We thought we’d set you up to do a little of both this month. And, like the perfect wine sets the mood to better appreciate your entrée at mealtime, a glass of wine can transport you when you take in that next mouthful while reading. It gives you that “sense of place” that you’re looking for when you open a bottle and open a book. Think of it as a “viniculture/literature getaway”. The right book paired with the right wine can take you on an international journey with your palate and your mind!
The Sun Also Rises (AKA Fiesta)
by Ernest Hemingway
Take in Nobel prize winner’s tale of a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris, France to Pamplona, Spain to watch the running of the bulls and bullfights. Begin the novel with a toast to the French and our 2005 Abbotts, Flavius, Côteaux du Languedoc, France (FRA282) $14.99. Crafted in the likeness of a Rhone-style blend, this wine combines 60% Syrah with 30% old vines of Grenache, 5% old vines of Carignan and 5% Cinsault for a wine that will take you straight to the south of France, if only in your mind.
by Mario Puzo
Red wine is required for immersing yourself in this book. You may have seen the movie, but taking in the book is an entirely different experience. First, we suggest the 2005 Sacco, Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy (ITA628) $17.99 to create the back drop for this masterpiece chronicling the Italian-American Corleone family. The 2003 Messapicus, Salice Salentino Riserva, Puglia, Italy (ITA665) $19.99 is a great choice from southern Italy when you’re munching on a simple pizza or delectable hard cheeses like Parmigiano or Pecorino. Puglia, the heel of the boot, comes right behind Sicily in terms of its output of red wine. Two native varietals Negro Amaro (80%) and Malvasia Nera (20%) make this one of our quintessential Italian picks.
The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck
You may have covered this classic novel in your high school English class, but this winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize for Literature is worth a second look now that you’re over 21. Although California farmers were displeased with the depiction of migrant worker camps, the book provides a glimpse at grape growing right here in our own backyard during the Depression. Nothing but a California Cab will do while reading this book. Try the 2007 Bentgate, Cabernet Sauvignon, California (CAL915) $19.99. If whites are your thing, reach for the 2006 Tria Chardonnay, California (CAL890) $39.99. At 1.5 liters, this magnum is a great selection when you’re sipping and sharing with others. Twice the volume. Twice the fun! Besides the book is over 600 pages long. You’ll need more wine to carry you through it!
Food and Wine Pairing Required Reading
For those who prefer the educational route, some of our favorite must-read magazines include The Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Decanter, and Food and Wine. Non-fiction buffs, especially “foodies”, will find reads like A Year of Wine by Tyler Colman, Wine & Food by Joshua Wesson and Wine Style by Mary Ewing-Mulligan and Ed McCarthy very interesting.