Featured Food & Drink

A Winter Warming WINE And Book Pairing

“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” ― John Keats

There is a lot of conversation on wine and its numerous pairings. You have the food and wine lovers who relish the idea of a glass of wine with food. Then you have the wine enthusiasts who swirl, sniff and spit, and then you have the free spirits: they own wine, heart and soul. They have wine begging them to be sipped. Where my position is in that conundrum, I’ll reserve my thoughts. But this month, as the low temperatures remind us that it’s winter, I’m siding with a different kind of wine pairing, the kind that allows you to warm up, sip and turn pages: a wine and book pairing.

Fireplace reading and wine are the loves of my life. Now don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean my affections don’t extend to a whole other list of lovables. Reading and wine give me an all-consuming sort of love with a deep satisfaction. Romance, drama, courtroom, crime, fiction, you name it; I’m always up for the surprise. As I say that, I actually realize that reading and wine have so much in common and one of the best ways of experiencing those similarities is getting your wine glass and a book out and get ready to be whisked away into the world of new experiences, a world where a deep love for life exists. Whether it’s at home alone, or on holiday somewhere or with your book club, take your pick, wine and book lovers, and have the time of your life.

Genre: Historical fiction
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon
Recommended: De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon

Genres that include a lot of historical writing interest me. One writer who utterly consumes me is Ken Follett. His novels include, but are not limited to, Pillars of the Earth and Winter’s End. My collection of novels from this author is in clear competition with my collection of wines to pair with. Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape variety, the most widely grown red grape the world over well known for its dark colour and serious flavour attributes that often boldly penetrate your inner being leaving a halo of warmth. Just as a Cabernet Sauvignon’s harsh tannins soften as it ages, so will your thoughts, book lovers, as you unravel the thickening plot. Turn the pages, book and wine lovers, with fictional historical books that often send you on dark and serious paths and enjoy winter fireplace warmth, unravelling the histories behind it with a red, bold and delicious sip.

Genre: Romance, including fiction, romance suspense, and contemporary romance
Wine: Viognier
Recommended: Idiom Viognier

Romance, in any form weaves its way in and out of our lives everyday. Whether it’s the butterfly kind of romance that leaves a flutter in your stomach or the kind of romance that leaves you with bittersweet memories, or the close-knit blanket type in front of a fireplace, we have all experienced it in one way or another. Several authors cater for this wide genre of reading: Jane Austen, Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele, to pick out a few. An esteemed wine befits this wonderful romance feeling, a Viognier. This is a white grape variety that is very floral and can easily cater for a reader’s lighter and happy moments, as well as the more serious romantic moments with even an element of heavy heartedness. This fat, fabulous and fanciful wine will match your daydreaming antics as you turn the pages of love.

Genre: Thriller
Wine: Riesling
Recommended Wine: Paul Cluver Dry Encounter
Paul Cluver Close Encounter

If you love reading and setting your emotions on a possible roller coaster ride, then buckle up. Get yourself ready to be sensitized in a mixed bag of emotions ranging from disillusion to high hopes being sent to a feeling of creepiness to apprehension. When I think of this genre of novels, John Grisham immediately comes to mind with his legal thrillers. He formed my early twenties reading. It’s these mixed emotions that make a Riesling the perfect wine pairing because of its versatile nature and ability to cater for each of the emotions you’re going through. Riesling is a white grape variety that is a surprise in waiting. It is produced as low alcohol wines to sweet wines, off dry, dry and bone dry. Whatever emotion you’re experiencing as you turn the page, book and wine lovers, take a sweet sip when you’re in for a surprise and bone dry sip when a cold sweat breaks out. And, of course, keep that winter fire burning. You will need some warmth.

Genre: Drama
Wine: Merlot
Recommended Wine: Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Merlot

What would drama be without Shakespeare? Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, you name it, and several years on, we still speak of drama from Shakespeare with my children; one of our favourite places is in front of our winter-warming fireplace. This genre, and this author in particular, formed a huge part of my school years in the classroom and out of it. The last book club I was a part of read a book by Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train. It’s a book I had to read twice before it would allow me in. Merlot, with its delicate yet esteemed and expansive flavour attributes, is a red wine variety filled with friendly traits but when required, besots the required seriousness. It tastes like drama in a glass. From seriousness to lively fun and charisma, a glass of Merlot will take you through the twists and turns.

Book and wine lovers, turn the pages of your favourite book this winter while sipping on your favourite wine. Pick a genre and let it to take you on an ultimate experience and allow a wine to accompany you. It’s that easy. You choose the order. Life is easy, with a warm fireplace, book and a glass of wine, of course. Until next time, wine and book lovers, here’s to a fun-filled winter of books and wine.

About the writer:
Lebbie is a qualified passion-filled Wine Consultant who spends quality time with wine through travel, study, wine chat and of course sipping on wines. Contact her at lhanyire@gmail.com

Please note: This article first appeared in The Standard Style, a magazine in The Standard, a weekly publication.

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