We often chat about pairing wine and food, but what about pairing bottles with books? You can also watch part two of our book and bottle pairings from CTV yesterday.
What’s the first pairing you recommend?
We’re starting with one of my favorite wine books, The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil. It’s sold more than a half a million copies worldwide and is a go-to reference book that’s also engagingly well-written.
Karen lives in Napa Valley, so I’d pair this book with this full-bodied, complex Cabernet Sauvignon from Charles Krug, Napa Valley’s oldest winery established in 1861. This wine would also pair beautifully with a rare steak or meat lovers’ pizza.
Charles Krug Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Napa Valley, California, United States
What do you have next for us?
I have How to Love Wine by Eric Asimov, who is also the much-respected chief wine critic for The New York Times. This is a moving memoir and manifesto about Eric’s rise to the industry’s most coveted job, and what he learns along the way about the culture and pleasures of wine.
I’d pair this book with this seductive Pinot Noir from Quails’ Gate in B.C. Pinot is the heartbreak grape, but it finishes with great sensuality. This wine would also pair well with veal and roast chicken.
Quails’ Gate Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2019
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia V.Q.A., Canada
Let’s move on to your next book and bottle.
I have Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker. She’s a professional journalist and amateur drinker who didn’t know much about wine—until she discovered the world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of flavor. She sets out to uncover what drives their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a “cork dork.”
I’d pair this bestseller with the Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc, which is zesty and refreshing, much like Bianca’s take on the wine world. It would also pair well with vegetarian dishes and pasta in a cream sauce.
Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc
California, United States
Sounds great! What do you have next?
I have Wine Girl: The Trials and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier by Victoria James. It’s an absorbing memoir from a young woman who works her way up through the glamorous but toxic restaurant world of Manhattan. Beautifully written.
I’d pair her bestselling book with this red from The Hare Wine Co. in Niagara. This wine would also go well with grilled chicken and Victoria’s terrific book on Rosé called Drink Pink.
Trius Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
Delicious! What’s next?
I have You Had Me at Pet-Nat by Rachel Signer, who takes you head-first into the natural wine world to discover why these wines will deepen your pleasure as you meet the witty oddballs who make them. This is also the story of how one woman found healing and love when she finally let go of who she thought she should be and started living fully, wildly alive, as much as the wine in her glass.
I’d pair it with this Trius Brut Rosé sparkling wine from Niagara, made using the traditional method. It would also be terrific with potato chips or roast chicken.
The Hare Wine Co. Crown Land Red 2016
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
What’s your final pairing?
Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol by Mallory O’Meara, an engrossing feminist history of women’s relationship to drinking through the ages, as well as the surprising history of so-called girly drinks: strawberry daiquiris, skinny martinis, vodka sodas with lime.
I’d pair this book with the 1865 Cabernet Sauvignon from San Pedro winery in Chile, which also has a robust sense of history–1865 being the year the winery was founded. It would also pair well with a leg of lamb.
San Pedro 1865 Selected Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Maipo Valley D.O., Chile
Sounds great! Would you also pair any of these wines with your own books, Natalie?
Sure, both of my books would pair well–and read better– if you’re drinking while reading them, including Unquenchable: A Tipsy Search for the World’s Best Bargain Bottles, and Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
These books have day-in-the-life stories about becoming a sommelier for night at a five-diamond restaurant, working the harvest in California and trying to sell wine at a busy liquor store so that readers can learn how to taste, pair and buy wine without falling asleep.
You can find all of Natalie’s book and bottle pairings on her website at nataliemaclean.com.
Printed with permission of CTV.