With summer quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time to dig into this summer’s new releases to select the tastiest Wine and Book Pairings for 2019’s Best Summer Reads for all those fellow wine lovers out there.
This summer, there’s a great blend of beach reads, thoughtful stories, suspenseful thrillers and serious fiction. All you need is the right glass of vino to go with it.
Hope you enjoy this list! As a quick note, I tend to be partial to Sonoma wines, since I live near there, and cheaper wines, since I’m not that fancy, haha. And as always, be sure to read and drink responsibly!
The Unhoneymooners and Champagne
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is a romantic comedy about two sworn enemies who end up in Hawaii together when the rest of the wedding party gets food poisoning. It’s a fun and romantic book with some wedding and (sort of) honeymoon hi-jinks thrown in.
I didn’t used to be a much of a champagne drinker (except on New Years), until I joined the Gloria Ferrar wine club a few years back. They have a beautiful winery about 45 minutes away from me, and I started bringing friends there since wine club members get free tastings at the winery, and I realized how fun it can be to add a little bubbly into the wine mix from time to time.
Champagne adds a little upbeat, festive kick to things, and would be perfect for reading The Unhoneymooners. See The Unhoneymooners on Amazon.
The Nickel Boys and Malbec
Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys is set to be a major summer release. Coming July 19, it’s about two boys attending a reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida. Powerful and brutal, the book’s early reviews are fantastic. See The Nickel Boys on Amazon.
For something like this, the smokey and bold flavor of the Malbec is a great wine to go head to head with Colson’s gripping story. Malbecs tend to be darker in coloring and sometimes a little spicy and velvety. It’s definitely a wine for people who love full-bodied red wines.
What to Drink: Try the Domaine Bousquet Reserve Malbec, for a dependable sub-$20 Malbec.
City of Girls and Sangria
Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls is a fun and sexy story spanning the lifetime of one woman as she discovers the excitement and indulgences of New York City. See it on Amazon.
City of Girls would go great with some lively and joyful sangria. I suppose sangria is technically a cocktail (fruit and wine, basically), but since it’s a wine-based cocktail, I’m including it on this list. The classic sangria uses oranges and apples usually, but feel free to mix it up by adding other fruits.
What to Drink: Sangria should always be made fresh, not store bought. I’ve never had a store-bought sangria that wasn’t totally disgusting. Luckily, it’s easy to make. For a red sangria, use a medium-bodied red wine (a merlot or tempranillo work great) and cut up some fruit and add a dash of lime or lemon juice. Plop it all into a pitcher with plentiful ice, and you’re good to go.
For the fruit, oranges or apples are typical, but feel free to try other fruits like blueberries, peaches, strawberries and grapefruit, too. If you like your sangria sweeter, you can add in a spoonful of sugar or two. Or if the flavor is too bold for you, you can water it down with some soda water.
Recursion and Oaked Viognier
Recursion by Blake Crouch is out as of today (June 10). It’s a plot-driven “thriller about time, identity, and memory.” Something called “False Identity Syndrome” has started afflicting the memories of its victims, and a New York cop must battle to discover the truth and defeat it.
To pair with this book, I’d suggest something that’ll keep you on your toes but also has a little more body to go keep up with this book’s ambitious and innovative plot. An oaked viognier (pronounced “vee-ohn-yeay”) will usually have a good amount of substance and body, along with an aromatic lightness so you don’t feel weighed down.
Searching for Sylvie Lee and Chardonnay
In Jean Kwok’s Searching for Sylvie Lee, Sylvie Lee disappears after going to the Netherlands to visit her grandmother. Her sisters and mother must work to in unravel the mystery of her disappearance. It’s a twisting but thoughtful story about family secrets, an immigrant family, love and loss. See it on Amazon.
To complement this book, a nice smooth and buttery Chardonnay will pair nicely, taking the edge off the twists and enhancing the book’s thoughtful tone. For something a little more tart, try an Old World (European) Chardonnay, such as one from Chablis, France. For a richer and more fruity flavor, pick a California Chardonnay instead.
What to Drink: The Woodbridge Chardonnay can generally be found for around $10 and has a bit of a cinnamon flavor. For an Old World option, try the highly rated 2017 Louis Jadot Chamblis (10% cash back via ebates), priced at around $25.
Mrs. Everything and Beaujolais
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner is a multi-generational novel about two sisters, Jo and Bethie, each navigating and carving out their place in a changing world. Resonant and funny, it’s tackles a range of social issues with humor and heart, making it a great summer read. See Mrs. Everything on Amazon.
Meanwhile, Beaujolais is considered by many to be a fun, lighthearted red wine (it’s actually a wine region and the wine is made from the Gamay grape), due to it’s lighter body and the berry flavors that generally accompany it. It’s sure to pair nicely with both the substance and the style of Mrs. Everything.
Any plans to read these books or any thoughts on other good wine pairings? Cheers!