For those of you who haven’t experienced the pleasure of wine and books, wine is the perfect accessory to your reading time. Not only do you look classy, you get a good buzz going while the worlds you read come to life before your eyes. If you don’t believe me, just try it the next time you get ready to unwind with a good book.
Now the question is: which wine goes with which book? Or vice versa? To give you an idea of merging flavors with genre/tone/style, here is a list of some excellent books and the wines that would pair beautifully with them. Commençons!
The Count of Monte Cristo: Cabernet Sauvignon
The book is a classic tale about vengeance, but also about endearing hope and compassion. When a man is wrongly imprisoned, he vows to do whatever’s in his power to seek justice on those who have wronged him. There’s also romance and poison and betrayal and—it’s just really cool, okay? There’s a lot to the story, and it’s told with rich detail and sensuous layers.
The perfect compliment to this book would be a cab sauvignon. Full-bodied, strong, and elegant all at once.
The Song of Achilles: Pinot Grigio
If you haven’t read this book, get thee to a library. It takes the classic story of The Iliad and gives it a different angle: the point of view of Patroclus, Achilles’ friend and lover during the Trojan War. The familiar story is told in a fresh, clean, lyrical way that can leave you spellbound and ugly crying by the end. The fantastical elements and the vivid voice give this book a bright finish.
The best wine to go with this? Pinot grigio. Airy and crisp, but with a zing that reminds you of the bitterness of war and old, raging kings whose wives get stolen (it happens).
The Winner’s Curse: Syrah
This young adult fantasy book is opulent in both language and content. Told in the alternating viewpoints of a rich general’s daughter and the slave she buys at auction, The Winner’s Curse brings us into a world of dueling nations and forbidden romance. It deals with the sticky gray area of morals and motives, and the theme of biting off more than you can chew. The poetic prose and intriguing characters help make this book sweetly complex.
For this book, I would try syrah. Syrah is a graceful wine with a powerful flavor, perfect for the punch in the feels this book will give you.
Neil Gaiman’s books are always beautifully different, and Stardust is no exception. Unlike his other books, however, this one is written in a traditionally English style of fantasy that verges on the pastoral. The fantasy tropes are presented in a fun, almost satirical way, and the language is crisp and simple. The story takes you all over the place, from the village of Wall to a pirate ship in the sky. The romance is fluid yet deep. A quick and satisfying read.
Riesling would be great for this book. Sweet and floral with fruity flavors that really open up the palette. Best enjoyed on a pirate airship.
Pride and Prejudice: Pinot Noir
Come on, all together now:
All of that aside, this is another classic book that withstands the test of time. Elizabeth Bennet meets Mr. Darcy, a churlish individual who slights her when they first meet. But over the course the of story, they realize that their first impressions of each other were wrong and fall in love despite themselves. The book focuses on the consequences of misunderstanding and judging a person before you get to know them. Stylish and whimsical with dry, almost snarky wit, Pride and Prejudice just screams to be read while fondling a glass of red wine.
And that glass should be full of pinot noir. Somewhat dry, lush, and strong in flavor. The more you drink, the more you can swoon over Mr. Darcy with a winsome flush on your face.
Okay, one more:
I’ll Give You the Sun: Rosé
Seriously, this book. If you haven’t read it, you are missing out big time. The book is split between two voices: Noah and Jude, twins who experience the heartbreak and freedom of growing up and growing apart. The story centers around jealousy and first love, and how the things you create can also destroy you. It’s so full of art and love and hope that it will make you want to remake the world.
Rosé is the right wine for this one. It can be dry or it can be sweet, or a somewhat tart, somewhat sugary blend of both. Perfect when you blend the twins’ voices, which are both acidic and poetic.
The Fault in Our Stars: Not wine, but champagne. Come on, it couldn’t be anything else. “We have bottled the stars this evening.” *weeps forever*
Outlander: No wine. Whiskey. Lots of it.
So there you have it: wines to pair with the books you love, or are hopefully going to get from the library this weekend. Happy reading, and happy drinking! (Please read and drink responsibly. Too much wine consumption may lead to excessive fangirling, ugly crying, or trying to make out with your book boyfriend).