By D. Marshall Craig
What are two of life’s simple pleasures? If I had to list my choices, first would be reading a really good book, the kind you just can’t put down. And second, enjoying a truly amazing glass of wine. Put those together and you have an unbeatable combination.
As a winemaker and also the author I am very particular about both books and wine. I’ve put together a list of a few interesting books I have recently read with some unique wine pairings that should help you turn the pages faster. While everyone’s taste in books and wine are different, I’m sure that at least one of these books or bottles of wine will tickle your fancy. Salute!
Very Sincerely Yours by Kerry Winfrey (Berkley Books, 2021, 353 pages)
This free flowing romcom shows the insecurities of a relationship as it keeps your interest from one chapter to the next. Interesting, but not an over-weighted plot.
A wine to match with this flowing story needs to be a smooth wine, full of flavor, but not overpowering. A great fit would be Matanzas Creek Winery Sonoma County Chardonnay 2018 ($25). It has a faint straw color, slight buttery with a hint of oak, but not too strong. A lingering, full finish makes you want to continue reading with another glass of this gem.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Penguin Books, 2016, 462 pages)
This quirky story tells about an unrepentant aristocrat starting in the 1920’s confined as punishment to a grand hotel in Moscow. Filled with unique characters, this novel shows what it’s like to be a man of purpose while history unfolds in the outside world.
With a light, cheery story you should have a light fruity wine to go with it. Try the Ar Pe Pe Rosso di Valtellina DOC 2018 ($34) from the Lombardy region in the northern region of Italy near the Swiss border. Made from Nebbiolo grapes, this light-bodied wine attains the finesse of a Pinot Noir with a fruity red berry taste and a slight tannic ending. A great reading companion.
Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945 by Carlo D’Este (Harper, 2008, 864 pages)
A biographical epic story about one of the most famous leaders in world history showing his strengths and weaknesses as a wartime leader. A must for World War II history buffs.
A full-bodied historical saga calls for a full-bodied wine. And that kind of wine would be the Monte Bernardi “Italia Ti Adoro” Sangiovese Blend 2018 ($22). A deep wine made from multiple Italian red grape varietals filled with dark spices and fresh berry flavor. This red jewel is a perfect match to sip while you read. It comes in a one-liter bottle, so share it with those you love!
The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton Company, 2021, 304 pages)
A true story of the behind-the-scenes people that predicted and dealt with the oncoming COVID-19 pandemic. The real life characters in this tale are more unique than if they came straight out of a science fiction fantasy. A brilliant nonfiction thriller told as a twisting tale of truth.
A fresh, twisting literary plot should be paired with a fresh grape taste. Step outside your comfort zone and try the Recas Castle Pinot Grigio, Romania 2020 ($7). That’s right, way over there in Eastern Europe Romania. This crisp wine has bright apple and pear notes with a clean, fresh palate. A real value for the price while you turn the pages.
D. Marshall Craig is a winemaker at Banner Elk Winery & Villa in North Carolina and author of Hidden Agendas (February 2022, White Bird Publications), the second book in the Dr. Kyle Chandler Thriller series.