Mother’s Day is coming up and you may be thinking about getting Mom a special wine. But why not pair that bottle with a great book?
Here with her tips is Natalie MacLean, who offers North America’s most popular online wine classes at nataliemaclean.com.
What’s the first book and bottle you recommend?
I have Loving Large: A Mother’s Rare Disease Memoir by Ontario author Patti M. Hall, who discovers her teenaged son is diagnosed with gigantism, a condition that could make him grow uncontrollably, and shorten his life without aggressive treatment. She makes it her mission to help him survive, putting aside her career, relationships and the rest of her life. If you’ve ever felt fiercely protective about anyone, a child, a parent, a friend, willing to make huge sacrifices, this memoir will resonate with you.
Queenston Mile Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017
St. David’s Bench, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
I’d pair this book with Queenston Mile Pinot Noir from Niagara, with aromas of ripe cherries and spice. This wine is layered and nuanced, like the memoir, and also has a satisfying finish. I’d also pair this wine with veal or roast chicken.
What’s your next pairing?
I have the novel The Son of the House by Halifax author Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, which was a finalist for the coveted Giller Prize. It’s the story of a young woman in Nigeria who’s been a housemaid since she was ten years old but she dreams of a different career. She and her employer are kidnapped and share stories of their lives as they wonder what their captors will do to them. It’s gripping and tense, yet also a deeply touching exploration of female friendship.
Conundrum Red 2020
California, United States
I’d pair this novel with this Californian red wine blend, Conundrum, not just because of the situation the women are in, but also because it’s full-bodied and muscular like the author’s prose and storytelling. This wine would also be great with a grilled steak. Again, meaty, like the book.
Where are we going next?
We have Whisky in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits by Reese Witherspoon. I so admire Reese, not just for her Academy Award–winning roles, but also as an entrepreneur who created her own multi-million media company that makes movies and also has a fabulous book club, called Hello Sunshine.
Reese’s grandmother, Dorothea, said beauty and strength make southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” Another version of steel magnolias. I love how Reese explores that contrast in her personal and professional life in this memoir.
Fontanafredda Pradalupo Roero Arneis 2019
Piedmont D.O.C.G., Italy
I’d pair this book with a vibrant, racy spring white wine like this Fontanafredda Roero Arneis from Italy. It’s juicy and mouth-watering so it would also make a great pairing with Reese’s grandmother’s fried chicken and biscuits.
What are we reading and sipping next?
Inheritance by Dani Shapiro, A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love. This was an instant international bestseller that starts with Dani discovering, through one of those mail-in DNA tests, that her deceased father was not actually her biological father. This sparks an emotional rollercoaster journey into family secrets, medical ethics and her own identity.
Dom Pérignon Brut Vintage Champagne
Champagne A.C., France
I’d pair this book with the top-notch champagne, Dom Perignon, a toast to mothers everywhere and their stories. This sparkling wine is the creme de la creme, with aromas of freshly baked bread and green apples, exactly what Mom deserves. It would pair beautifully with bagels and cream cheese with smoked salmon, but don’t even think about putting it in mimosas.
Thank you Natalie! You can find all the wines and books Natalie recommended on her website at www.nataliemaclean.com
Printed with permission from CHCH