“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one” – so said George R. R. Martin. We have to agree. In fact, the only thing better than curling up with a good book, is making sure you can easily reach a fabulous glass of wine as you turn the pages.
Wine and books have many common traits, yet the cross over of these fine audiences has generally been overlooked. Each boast loyal followings extolling the virtues of their latest finds, savouring their experiences and revering the authors and vineyards that brought them to life. Both are bought for enjoyment and escape, though let’s not forget their potential to be collected and shared. It’s about time the ageless cheese and wine combo had competition and the latest experiential offering is wine with books.
Author and Sunday Times drinks critic Damian Barr has partnered with one of the oldest wine merchants in the UK – double royal warrant holder, Corney & Barrow, to bring the delights of the grape and the page together. Since summer 2016, their monthly deliberations have been available to listen to via podcast at www.abookandabottle.co.uk and follow across social media, using the hashtag #NovelPairings.
Would Bridget Jones drink Chardonnay now? How tipsy was Ulysses? Is Jay Gatsby a Champagne man? Accompanying bibulous-o-graphies ensure you’ll always know the thinking behind the recommendations of what to drink with your latest tome.
Critic and merchant ponderings are regularly thrown open to public debate – most recently at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, where Lionel Shriver’s ‘The Mandibles’ was matched with Terre de Lumiere Viognier though it was a close call with two other libations, the Wiston Estate Brut and a Chateauneuf du Pape both proving serious contenders.
With the festive season upon us, Decembers’ classic to peruse in front of an open fire (or during your packed commute), is A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Damian and the team have paired it with Corney & Barrow’s own label Sloe Gin – a sweet and fruity liqueur, which would make the ghost of Christmas past proud. Christmas future may not be so merry due to a poor sloe berry harvest this year (in case any of us need an excuse to put this on our gift list now). And may we suggest a sloegasm as an alternative aperitif to a Christmas present…
Sloegasm receipe – serves 4
100ml (4fl oz) sloe gin
300ml (10fl oz) chilled Champagne, Prosecco or Sparkling wine
Previous months have seen Ian Fleming’s epic ‘From Russia with Love’ paired with Corney & Barrow’s Reserve Claret and Jessie Burton’s ‘The Muse’ matched to Valpolicella Cecilia Beretta So, what’s the perfect beverage for discerning Gentleman’s Journal readers? Psi to reflect the pithy articles, Sauternes to complement the curated ‘must haves’ or Champagne in honour of the new finds brought to you in each edition? Whatever you decide, enjoy – cheers!
This article was written in association with Corney & Barrow.