I’m no stranger to wine, and as far as I know, wine seems to be pretty keen on me as well. As a writer constantly on the look out for sources of inspiration, there is so much one can pull from the sensory experience of enjoying a glass of wine. The world of wine is vast, much like the world of books. And those two often go hand in hand. (Click here for a brief book-lover’s guide to wine). Few things sound as lovely as hunkering down with a good book and a nice glass of wine. But would a glass of oaky California Chardonnay go just as well with “Moby Dick” as an earthy Walla Walla red blend? Just like food pairings, the reading material on hand and what you have in your glass can influence each other. With this in mind, I decided the book-and-wine-pairing question was too big to take on myself, so I took it to the professionals.
On a trip to Washington’s Walla Walla wine country, I visited a number of wineries and tasting rooms. I asked some of the local winemakers and wine experts to tell me about their favorite wines and the books that compliment them.
My first stop in this Walla Walla tour was Foundry Vineyards. Pulling into the parking lot of the Foundry’s Tasting Room, you can’t help but notice the sparse concrete surroundings. The building itself looks very bare and modern. But once you walk in, you see where all their attention was focused, on the art. The tasting room doubles as an art gallery.
I personally love the Foundry’s mission of making not just their wine, but art, the center of the table. Their purpose is to have their wine and the art on the bottle stir up conversation. The folks at the Foundry believe that conversation is at the heart of the wine experience.
I met with Squire Broel, artist, founder and visionary of Foundry Vineyards. Like his taste in wine, Squire favors simplicity and power in his reading and art.
If you could sit down right now with a glass of your choice and a book, what would they be?
For a mid-afternoon treat on a lazy summer or autumn day I’d pour a
glass of White on White (current vintage 2011) and sift through some
poetry by William Carlos Williams. This well-balanced wine boasts
bright citrus notes and supple honey characteristics which compliment
the perceptive and witty nature of Williams’ words; especially in
poems like “The Red Wheelbarrow”, “This Is Just To Say”, and “At the Faucet
Any favorite novels?
Wendell Berry’s “Jayber Crow” is definitely a favorite of mine. I’ve read it numerous times and am usually delighted each time I make my way through the book by some perspective that I’d seemingly missed in previous readings. It’s a heartfelt novel that talks about the fullness of life as experienced through both heartache and redemption.
I’d definitely read this book with a big glass (or two) of the 2007 Artisan Blend because it’s at once well structured and supple. It’s a well-rounded wine that will last and give comfort through a longer sitting.
Ah…”Anam Cara” by John O’Donohue (A Book of Celtic Wisdom) would pair perfectly with our 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon. Fortunately for me… I have some in my cellar. Unfortunately for most everyone else is the fact that they’ll never have the opportunity to experience this perfect pairing. Earthy, honest, and rich are the crossover qualities of both the book and the wine. Lovely stuff all the way around!