In my last Sunday Salon I mentioned that I was hosting the wine tasting group I’m a part of, WASTED. The theme for the night was “Wine and Literature,” so everyone brought a wine that went with a particular book passage. There were a lot of good wines, and it was fun to listen to everyone read their particular book passages.
We started out with a Guenoc Victorian Claret, a red wine that I picked out because the wine shop employee told me it was the kind of wine that characters in a Jane Austen novel would drink. It tasted a bit like tobacco and cherry, pretty good.
The first drink we had was a sherry, which went with The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, part of a series of “trashy adventure novels” featuring FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast. I’ve actually never had sherry before, but it was pretty good — sort of nutty and honey tasting.
After that we got into the white wines, starting with a really delicious champagne. The couple who brought it said it was inspired by two quotes they came up with independently:
“Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.” — Dorothy Parker
“My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne” — John Maynard Keynes
The next wine was another champagne from Clive Cussler’s book Trojan Odyssey, one of his Dirk Pitt novels. I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was a very sinister dinner party with a particularly suave villain.
Next up was mine, a California Symphony called “Obsession,” that went with Margaret Atwood’s, The Robber Bride. When the three main female characters meet for lunch, they always order a white wine and a bottle of sparkling water. It was only an $8 bottle of wine, but it was surprisingly delicious.
My friend Lindsay brought a Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais Nouveau — basically a good French red wine — to pair with Molly Wizenber’s A Homemade Life. It was a lovely passage about coming of age in France, eating delicious French food and drinking lots of wine our of glass yogurt jars. This book definitely was added to my wish list.
Another favorite reading was from the most recent David Sedaris book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, from a chapter about how the drinking culture in France is very different from in the United States. I don’t remember the wine, but it was good.
My friend Kristin read from Roald Dahl’s short story, “Taste,” from The Best of Roald Dahl. which is a story about a wine contest where a sleazy old man is trying to win a competitors daughter by identifying different vineyards in France. She brought another deep red wine that was quite strong.
One of my favorite moments was when one of the girls introduced her book saying, “My passage is from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince… maybe you’ve heard of it!” It was funny because she seemed a little embarrassed to have brought the book, but just about everyone in the group was really excited about it. The passage was about the Death Eaters drinking elf-made wine, so she brought a Malbec.
This is getting long, so I’ll just list the rest:
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, with another deep red wine.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez — this was a great passage, a single sentence about an angry woman that lasted three pages — with a Rioja Crianza (red Spanish wine).
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky with a Shiraz called “Raw Power.”
- Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman with a South African Port.
So that was WASTED and Literature. I think it went well, overall. People were a little nervous about reading, but the whole group was really supportive, lots of clapping and cheering after people finished their readings.