November 2017 Reading & Tasting



Let's get into Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, a book about to be made into a motion picture by Reese Witherspoon. The story centers around Eleanor, a socially awkward, offbeat, out of the ordinary heroine with a deadpan and downright weird sense of humor-- a character maybe we can all relate to on some level. The novel has excellent reviews, so I'm excited to dive in! 


We'll pair that with a bit of a broad wine category: full-bodied whites, which is a selection I always try to incorporate into my Thanksgiving dinner wine list. They often have a smooth creaminess and rich flavor notes, think: burnt caramel, hazelnuts, or pie crust. Look for Chardonnay, Viognier, French Burgundy, or anything that's been aged in oak. I love Red Hook Winery's Clone 95 2012 Chardonnay. 

October 2017 Reading & Tasting



Alex Pope, commonly known as The Blonde Bookworm, fell in love with reading thanks to Roald Dahl's The BFG, now you can find her reviewing (and expertly photographing) new releases on Instagram and her blog. In honor of the season, Alex selected  the thriller The Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

"It is a creepy thriller that left me totally shocked. I loved it because it was totally different than other thrillers I've read recently!" she said.Here's the synopsis. 


Our October 2017 wine selection comes from Tracy Kennard of  the impeccably-designed Brunette wine bar in Kingston, New York, which serves an array of natural wines. Tracy's knack for pairing wine with music felt like the perfect fit for selecting a wine for our group this month. Tracy selected Chillable Reds; read about her pick below. 

"Things we do around here, regardless of season, occasion, or weather:

Drink rosé year-round
Drink bubbles, even when it’s not a special occasion (and especially with a bucket of fried chicken on an unassuming Tuesday night)
Drink red wine with a slight chill

Not all red wines, but often lighter, brighter, easy-going grapes such as Cabernet Franc and Gamay and even Pinot Noir can benefit from a light chill. We keep ours in the wine fridge at about 52-55 degrees, but 15 minutes in an ice bath before serving, or 30 minutes in a fridge can also do the trick.

One of our favorites right now is Julian Merle's Champ Blanc. 100% Gamay from Beaujolais. Not a quick turnaround Nouveau, but one with a little more age on it. 

It tastes like a walk in the woods after the rain; Shielding your eyes from the bright splashes of sun flooding through the trees, mossy, rainy morning soil below your feet, and the promise of the unexpected that lies ahead," she said. 

September 2017 Reading & Tasting



Let's dive into Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang, her first story collection detailing the experience of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City. Each story is narrated by a child of a Chinese immigrant, exploring what it means to find identity within your family, your home, and your previous home. While I haven't read it yet, the title seems to be fitting for a dark yet humorous collection of stories. 


If I didn't live in Brooklyn, I would live in the Pacific Northwest. Or Provence, but that's for another month. Last year, I fell in love with Oregon's wine region: "It's like Sonoma, but so much less scene-y!" I told my husband when I returned. The expansive hills of grapes, small town feel, and the overflow of top-notch Pinot Noir won me over. So this month, let's drink to the Pacific Northwest-- Oregon or Washington Wines will do. 

July 2017 Reading & Tasting



It's really summer now, and I think we need a gossipy beach read. That's why I picked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, the dramatic tale of an actress of Old Hollywood, and of course, all of her husbands. 


To pair, we need a wine that's a little cheap to go with our gossip novel (price-wise, of course, not quality-- you know me). The low cost, crisp and refreshing Vinho Verde is a good fit (and my beach wine of choice). 

May 2017 Reading & Tasting


Somehow it became May 1st, so I have another book and wine for you. The Leavers by Lisa Ko comes out in hardcover tomorrow, and I've already heard good things. The story is about a mother and a son separated by powerful forces-- the boy grows up in the Bronx and his mother is an undocumented Chinese immigrant who disappears one day, without explanation. I haven't started reading yet, but I hear that once you start it's hard to put down. 


To pair with it, let's drink any wine from Croatia. Why Croatia? Wellllllll... our very own book club member is getting married this month, and honeymooning in Croatia, so we'll be celebrating in her honor! 

April 2017 Reading & Tasting



I've been hearing about this book everywhere: The Idiot by Elif Batuman. It takes place in the '90s, following the daughter of Turkish immigrants through her time at Harvard, discovering and inventing herself into adulthood. 


And the wine of the month is... Semillon, a full-bodied white, much like a chardonnay, but with flavor notes like a Sauvignon Blanc-- lemon, green apple, and pear. It's most often found in France and Australia. Hello, SPRING! 

March 2017 Reading & Tasting


March's book is here! 

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller-- a book that's getting lots of buzz for being a serious page-turner, and just came out a couple weeks ago. Prepare for a scandalous marriage tied with a bit of mystery, and a strange disappearance. 


Let's pair that with some wine (obviously). Because March marks the kick-off of spring, I think it's only right to drink rose, of the Provence variety

December 2016 Reading & Tasting


For December's pick, I'd like to get back to our roots and select a read that has two of the characteristics that I strive to maintain since our club's beginning: New York City + women writers. So let's try The Clancy's of Queens by Tara ClancyThe memoir describes the author's life as a New Yorker, with her three different perspectives: Queens, Brooklyn, and the Hamptons. 


For wine, I think we should stick to red for the winter, but let's all bring and taste a red wine blend. That could mean wine created from two or more different types of grapes. It's common to see blends like Cabernet + Merlot, Grenache + Syrah, Tempranillo + Malbec, but there are a ton of options. 

November 2016 Reading & Tasting


This month's pick: Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, a Pulitzer prize finalist and a collection of short stories in which a writer with a crazy imagination explores inner lies and odd corners of reality. I think this will be a fun way to mix it up (and I'll certainly need some fantasy in my life with the holidays coming up).

Wine (or Cider!)

Let's mix it up in the wine selection, too. Instead of bringing wine this month, bring your favorite hard cider. There's been a huge surge of new and funky ciders, especially in New York State. To avoid that sickly sweet stuff, select something that's on the dry side. Wolffer Estate makes a fantastic one in adorable little bottles. I also love Bad Seed and Farnum Hill has well. 

October 2016 Reading & Tasting



I want to read one of book club's favorite authors: Marla Semple who wrote Where'd You Go Bernadette? Her new read is called Today Will Be Different, about one woman's reinvention of herself.  


Since we're getting into the thick of fall, I'd like to switch to red. Let's drink Malbec, a wine that's typically found in Argentina or France, and which each region produces a very different flavor. Most likely, you've had Argentinian Malbec, which tends to be fruit forward with flavors of blackberry, plum, and black cherry. The French Malbec is more leathery and tart, and a little more tannic. Lucky for us, this wine goes great with cheese. 

September 2016 Reading & Tasting



I can't believe it's been three years since we started reading and drinking wine together. 

Let's read Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss. It follows our NYC connection/ female writer theme, so I think it will be a great choice for our celebratory meeting. 


As for wine, three years in a row, we're sticking with one of my all-time favorites, Gruner Veltliner, a medium-bodied, dry white wine that's peppery with notes of stone fruit and citrus.

July 2016 Reading & Tasting



This July, let's read My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. It's a story about two friends growing up in Naples, Italy. The book is actually book one in a series, in case you like it so much and want to continue on. 


We'll pair that with a loose wine recommendation: natural/organic/sustainable/biodynamic wines. I drink natural wines a ton, not because they are made without chemicals (although that sounds good), but because they are often super earthy/unfiltered/funky, which I love. I also realize they aren't for everyone, so bringing an organic/sustainable/biodynmic wine, too. 

You're probably like, what's the difference? Wine Spectator is here to help