You scoured the best seller list for weeks and skimmed reviews to narrow the shelves of options. You emailed friends for recommendations, consulted Oprah and even dusted off a few classics before making your selection. Finally, you made the pick for the entire group. Congratulations! Your book club can now dive into the pages of what they will be reading and discussing this fall. But wait, a crucial decision remains—the wine!
It’s a fact, or so we believe, that often the true enjoyment of a book club comes not from the words read by the group, but by the wine that is consumed when they gather. The bottle you uncork tells its own story. The best wine pairings can make even the finest prose that much better. And even if the book chatter fails to delight, hopefully there is always more wine to be poured.
We asked ABC Wine & Spirits Manager Bill Stobbs, who’s also quite the literary buff, for some suggestions. “Wine in literature goes back to the beginning of the written word and further,” he said before quoting Shakespeare and Hemingway. Told you, Bill knows his stuff. As for his wine picks, he wisely suggests pairing them based on genres. In fact, two other ABC experts, sommelier Paul Quaglini and wine ambassador Nathan Dale recommended the same. So let’s start there.
It should come as no surprise that for thrillers, they each said, “Go with something spicy,” like a red Zinfandel or blend, maybe even a big Spanish Garnacha. “These get the blood flowing and can be exciting on the palate,” according to Nathan.
Romance novels call for bubbles, always, end of story. Well, not quite the end. Bill and Paul prefer pink bubbles for this genre, like the Moutard Rosé de Cuvaison Champagne ($36.99) which received 92 points from Wine Advocate in 2012 (nonvintage). Prosecco and Cava are both good options as well. Sparkling is key for romance.
Classic reads call for wines from classic regions. Look for a red and white Burgundy or Bordeaux. Paul Quaglini has an acclaimed certification from the Vinitaly International Academy and he recommends classic Italian wines like a Chianti Classico or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Maybe your group is all-in on the fantasy genre after a summer of getting caught up on the Game of Thrones series or The Hobbit movie. If you plan on reading any of those, Bill wisely suggests finding a wine that is somewhat out of the ordinary. Try a light and refreshing white from Sardinia made from Vermentino grapes, like this one from Santa Maria la Palma for just $12.99. Of course, if it’s George R.R. Martin you are reading, it might be tough to avoid going with a red blend.
When in doubt, especially during a warm afternoon or evening book discussion among friends, it is hard to go wrong with rosé.
And remember the words the words of Robert Louis Stevenson as you take your first sip, “Wine is bottled poetry.” Cheers!