Yes, Iām about to inundate you with wine-and-reading selections. But Iām not very traditional; you should know that by now, dear reader. So what does that mean when it comes to a reading and wine-ing list presented by yours truly? Allow me to explain.
Iām dragging out the hasnāt-been-published-in-ages books; ones you need to hunt down in your local used book store treasure trove or thrift store. And Iām choosing some newer releases ā those published in the last ten years. Maybe there will be something in here that youāve never heard of.
Good reads should challenge us and our expectations ā kind of like good wine does.Ā Both are sensory and seductive, and both can take you a world away.
Read: Robertson Davies, Leaven of Malice. This guy shoves us into a world of academics, tenure and compound sentences. His characters drink wine. I like that. This is one dude who doesnāt lead you around by the nose: heās got witty, layered characters that keep surprising you, and he has an expectation youāve a decent head on your shoulders.Ā
Drink: This says bubble all over it. Try Blue Mountain, Sumac Ridgeās Stellarās Jay (after sleeping for a couple of years, itās one mighty good bottle) or Gray Monk Odyssey White Brut. Not a bubble fan? Shame. But you can play along ā with a bottle of Twisted TreeĀ Syrah, or a Pinot Noir from Meyer Family Vineyards.
Read: Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman. Ahead of her time in so many ways. This is foodie Can-lit for foodies before there were foodies. Of course, thereās a glass or two of wine in here. I read this only recently, having put it off in a covet kind of way. Iām glad I did.
Drink: Margaret says unusual yet beautiful structure, and so must the wine. Think Mount BoucherieĀ Ehrenfelser,Ā InniskillinĀ Dark Horse Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake BreezeĀ Pinot Blanc or Road 13 VineyardsĀ Jackpot Pinot Noir.
Read: Douglas Coupland, J Pod. I love him; heās magnificent at loading a sentence with so much stuff. Plus, I want to meet Ethanās mom. Think easy street meets the wrong side of the tracks, in a very Rice-Krispie-square kind of way.
Drink: More than meets the eye, this one. Makes me want Rollingdaleās Cabernet Sauvignon āLa Gaucheā, Township 7ās Chardonnay (not the reserve, but not the un-oaked for this one), Cedar Creekās Platinum Reserve Chardonnay or Tinhorn Creekās Oldfield Series Merlot ā because thereās more going on than you would expect.
Read: Mordecai Richler, Barneyās Version. The guy writes a good story, hands down. These are characters that I not only want to drink with, but also want to go to Europe with. Thatās good character development.
Drink: I recall the protagonist as a scotch drinker, but also one who enjoyed aĀ bottle of wine. That being said ā try something from Osoyoos Larose, or maybe Laughing Stockās Portfolio. Perhaps followed by a nice fortified, like Sumac Ridge Pipe or Granite Creek Merlot.
Read: Zoe Whittall, Bottle Rocket Hearts. Maybe itās because I met her brother in the parking lot of an Okanagan winery (true story), or maybe itās because I had a summer of unemployed drunken fun in Montreal in the early 90ās (slightly hazy true story). It could be both, but also because this is one brilliant author. Storytelling stream-of-consciousness. I miss Eve.
Drink: Memories of misspent youth, character-building events that at the time are rip-your-heart-out experiences you donāt think youāll ever recover from and the unmistakable sweetness of firsts. Try La FrenzĀ Cabernet Sauvignon, OrofinoĀ Pinot Noir,Ā Cassini Cellars Reserve Chardonnay or Desert Hills Gamay.Ā
The point is this: wine, like literature, is highly dependent on situation. I truly believe that. Reading the same book at different points in your life will bring out different qualities of that book – just like drinking wine with different people, or in different situations, will show you something new.
Mix it up. Experiment. Un*wine*d a little. Now excuse me while I go back to Timothy Findley’s SpadeworkĀ and my glass of…well, I’m not going to tell you all my secrets – read it and tell me what you’d drink with it.