The only thing better than having a good book open in one hand is a glass of complementary wine in the other. Luckily for our readers, Bright Cellars is a monthly wine club that delivers a personalized selection of wines right to your door. Below, you’ll find a list of must-read books, each matched to a wine that pairs perfectly with its theme—whether it be a dark and complex mystery or an airy outdoor adventure. Check out our recommendations, and then take Bright Cellars’ wine quiz and sign up to receive $50 off your first order. Cheers and happy reading!
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Dark and Mysterious
A full-bodied California wine, the 2016 Obscura Cabernet Sauvignon melds together the dark, complex flavors of raspberry, blackberry, and boysenberry with a hint of baking spice and earth. Dark, elegant, and mysterious, this is the perfect wine to pair with a noir hardboiled mystery. Consider enjoying it with Angel Eyes, a chilling read featuring Detroit private investigator Amos Walker. When a stripper employed at a seedy nightclub contacts Walker and tells him she fears someone will make her disappear, he’s not sure what to think. But when Walker goes to her apartment the next day and finds it empty save for a carton of cigarettes and the body of a dead man, he realizes there may be more to this case than meets the eye.
Stormy and Nautical
With its flavors of tart cherry, red plum, and pomegranate, and secondary notes of dried oregano and baking spice, the 2018 Burrasca Sangiovese evokes the rich, tumultuous history of the Italian coast. The House at the Edge of Night is the perfect book to read while you’re sipping on this wine. A haunting tale that spans four generations, this sweeping family saga follows the blessings and misfortunes of the Espositos, who live on a small fictional island off Italy’s mainland. Through two world wars, the threat of fascism, and domestic indiscretions, the Espositos’ connection to their heritage and their love for one another is tested, but ultimately cannot be broken.
Outdoorsy and Adventurous
Looking Through Water is a rich coming-of-age tale concerning three generations of men. When Kyle is troubled by the breakup of his parents’ marriage, his grandfather William McKay sits him down to share his own past and some key life lessons, often told through nature analogies and fishing tales. Pair this family saga with a 2016 Folk & Fable Red Blend, which has been partially aged in Bourbon barrels and tastes of toasty notes with hints of warm baking spices. Both the novel and the accompanying drink will be warmly comforting to anyone who has a passion for the outdoors.
Refreshing and Liberating
At 50, Huffington post blogger Kathryn E. Livingston wanted to feel more fulfilled than ever; instead, she was riddled with the anxiety that came with battling breast cancer, grieving her parents’ deaths, and sending her children off to college. Through practicing yoga and mindfulness, Kathryn learns how to find “an oasis of peace in the midst of crises large and small” and writes about it in Yin, Yang, Yogini (Publishers Weekly). We suggest enjoying this uplifting memoir alongside a 2017 Mojave Rain Red Blend. Favorably compared to “a welcoming oasis in the dry, desolate desert of California,” this California red blend is well-balanced and medium-bodied, with the smooth and lingering finish of juicy red plum, fresh blackberries, and warm baking spices.
Toliman wines are as dazzling as the bright constellation they were named after. The 2018 Toliman White Blend is no exception; the medium-bodied wine is creamy, with juicy tropical notes of pineapple and papaya. With a taste reminiscent of paradise and an out-of-this-world namesake, it’s no wonder that this wine reminds us of Andre Norton’s science fiction tale Key Out of Time. Two time travelers journey to the planet Hawaika, which is populated by descendants of Earth’s Polynesia. But what seems like a land of paradise quickly becomes dangerous when they encounter evidence that the people who landed there before them mysteriously disappeared.
Bold and Intriguing
Full-bodied with a velvety finish, the 2018 Lost City Malbec has bold notes of fresh berries, ripe plum, and vanilla tobacco. This Argentinian wine evokes the alluring tales of riches that enticed early explorers to South America. We can’t help but think of danger and ancient secrets, so we’re recommending you pair this wine with The Stepping Maze. Underneath the streets of Manhattan lies the mysterious Black Chamber, a room fortified by steel and concrete. Two physics professors are kidnapped by a professional hitman and locked in a sealed vault with a centuries-old manuscript that may contain clues to the Black Chamber. As the air in the vault starts running out, they race to decipher the manuscript’s code—before it’s too late.
Fresh and Colorful
Serafina’s Stories is an innovative novel that combines Spanish folklore and Native American legends in a reimagining of One Thousand and One Nights. In 17th-century Santa Fe, a group of Native Americans plan a revolt against the ruling Spanish colony. When their plan is unveiled, a young woman strikes a deal with the Spanish governor: each evening she will tell him a story. If he likes it, he will spare one prisoner from execution the following day. This novel would go well with the 2017 Ochavado Sauvignon Blanc. This wine was inspired by colorful Spanish ceramic tiles and fresh modern takes on old traditions. Juicy notes of peach, nectarine, and tangerine meld with a dreamy floral aroma, and classic citrus flavors give this wine a mouthwatering acidity.
Elegant and Traditional
NPR was onto something when they said, “Pass the bread, the olives, and the wine. Oh, and a copy of The Tuscan Child to savor with them.” This historical fiction novel begins during the midst of World War II, when wounded British pilot Hugo Langley made an emergency landing in German-occupied Tuscany. Nursed back to health by Sofia Bartoli, their fated encounter and passionate love affair ended abruptly after a betrayal. Nearly 30 years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter is planning his funeral when she comes across a mysterious letter addressed to her among his possessions. Enjoy The Tuscan Child with the 2018 Acopio Monastrell, an elegant, full-bodied wine that recalls old-world tradition with its firm tannins, dark fruit flavors, and notes of spice and smoke.
Fun and Celebratory
Toast to an accomplishment or celebrate the little things in life with a glass of 2017 Celé Rosé, a fruity and refreshing wine. Lighthearted and fun, this rosé is just begging to be paired with a delightful romantic comedy. The Unhoneymooners is a perfect match. Olive Torres considers herself the unlucky twin in life and love. She isn’t particularly looking forward to her sister’s wedding, where she’ll have to socialize with her nemesis Ethan Thomas. When the entire wedding party except for Olive and Ethan gets food poisoning, the two agree to a temporary truce so they can take full advantage of the free honeymoon that’s up for grabs. But the longer she pretends to be Mrs. Ethan Thomas, the more Olive realizes that her sworn enemy might not be that bad after all...
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