Every writer I know has a day job to support the habit, and I’m lucky enough to write about wine. Not bad for a girl from a dry Kentucky town, right? I moved to Northern California in 1998, answered an ad in the paper, and ended up working for the legendary Robert Mondavi. Back labels, websites, tasting guides, wine pairings—if it has to do with wine, I write it. Along the way I fell in love with the stuff.
Some of my favorites:
I’m a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc, a white wine with aromas and flavors that run the gamut from clean and flinty to ripe tropical fruit. Great all year round, but especially refreshing in the summer. If you’re reading Lay It on My Heart for your book club, I can recommend Sauvignon Blanc from Turnbull Vineyards, Provenance Vineyards or, for a bargain, Joel Gott—all guaranteed to taste delicious with cheese plates, mini-quiches, potato chips, etc.
As a dinner guest I usually bring a lighter red wine, like Pinot Noir. It’s a crowd pleaser—yummy red and black fruit with a hint of spice. I like to bring a copy of a well-loved book, too, like Tobias Wolff’s Old School, or Julie Otsuka’s Buddha in the Attic. Pinot Noir tastes best when it comes from cooler climates, like Carneros or Russian River Valley in California, or Willamette Valley in Oregon.
When I’m grilling out (or reading something gritty, like anything by Cormac McCarthy) I usually go to Zinfandel (the red kind) from Sonoma County in California. It’s hearty and rustic, and it tastes great with anything you can make in the great outdoors: burgers, hotdogs, even pizza.
And when I’m at home, curled up with a book and my two cats? I’m a recent convert to dry rosé. It comes in a million different shades of pink, and has enchanting hints of fruit with a backbone of cool steel. Sometimes it’s made to sparkle, like the ones from Domaine Chandon. My favorite rosés come from wine varieties like Pinot Noir or a combination of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. I enjoy them while reading everything from Lorrie Moore to Ross MacDonald.