Today I have a special guest blogger, author Charmaine Pauls. She wrote the romance novel, The Winemaker. Since my sister loves wine and wineries I thought the book would make a perfect gift for her birthday. (See picture above) Charmaine lives a continent away so there was no way she could sign the book. Instead I asked her to recommend a bottle of wine which she was gracious enough to do. I also invited her to blog about wines and her book for today’s entry. Enjoy!
What do wine and romance have in common? In Etán Perez-Cruz’s opinion, everything. Well, of course he will think that. He is an award-winning winemaker to whom the pinnacle of expression is his creation. No wonder he compares the best cépage of his career, a Merlot, to the unrequited love of his life, Zenna.
To Etán, people are like wine. He is a genius when it comes to taste and smell. Blending is his exceptional gift. But when it comes to expressing himself, he sadly lacks communication skills. The ever-inventive Etán therefore finds a way of telling Zenna how he feels through his wine bouquets. When he first meets her, he is overwhelmed by the fragrance of the unique chemical make-up of her skin. She is an addiction, the seduction of his senses, and although he has locked his heart away in a very deep, cold cellar, the Chilean wine maestro is soon defenseless in the presence of the Englishwoman who considers herself utterly average.
After a tequila-infused kiss in a scene where Zenna tries to drown her sorrow when her fiancé dumps her, Etán brings Zenna a bottle of Sombra 1999 Red Blend. This is one of his earliest superstar wines, and he believes it describes her perfectly.
“Showcases sweet, dark, plummy fruit. Wrapped in a cedary cloak of earth, tobacco, and cassis. Smooth and supple, framed with soft tannins. There is no need to cellar it. It should last well.”
The way in which Etán looks at Zenna when he recites the label, and more specifically where his eyes linger, leaves no doubt in Zenna’s mind what the enigmatic vintner is referring to. The analogy between the wine and the woman is like the bouquet – intoxicating and alluring.
As their relationship develops, growing physically more intense, but emotionally more complicated, to Etán Zenna becomes a Tierra de Sol 2002, a classic Bordeaux style blend.
“Cassis, forest floor, chocolate, and cedar. Notes of lemon, sage, and olive. Palate intense and well-rounded. Balancing olive with cassis, plum with wood, leather with intense berry. Dusty, soft tannins. Impeccable structure. It will only get better over the next five years and drink beautifully over ten.”
Before the season is out, Etán’s feelings for Zenna deepen to the point of a Merlot 2010, his best creation ever. This is the ultimate compliment an oenologist can bestow on a woman.
“Color opaque. Nose is tight, meaty, and earthy. The mouth offers layers of bittersweet chocolate and powerful blackberries. A tad bit hedonistic and heavy, with all sorts of overflowing fruit, but isn’t it exactly what one wants in a modern red wine?”
For reasons that cannot be disclosed without giving away the plot, Etán can’t have what he desires most. At the height of his heart-rending turmoil, admitting that Zenna is beyond his reach, Etán compares her, for the first time ever, to a wine that is not from his cellar, to his rival’s cultivar, Uvas Organicas 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon.
“Nectarines. Floral notes. Like a Riesling. Drips rather than oozes with red cherry and plum. The finish is light, dusty, and elegant. Spearmint, light leafiness, forest fern. Elegant, unforced red fruit aromas.”
Throughout the story Zenna is taken on a metaphorical winetasting tour, discovering Etán’s world where senses are all-consuming, and learning the secret to reading the man of her dreams who can only reveal his sentiments through the wine he creates.
As Zenna masters Etán’s unique style of transporting meaning, she comprehends his personifications of wine. This is why, for example, Etán dedicated his Casa Sol 2004 Syrah, which won the first prize at the international Berlin Wine Tasting competition in 2004, to his hunky bad-boy brother, Luca.
“Perfectly open and huge, with deep plum and black fruit smothering both the bouquet and palate. Big berry flavors, and excellent balancing acids and tannins. A wine distinguished as a bruiser with charm. While it shows very little in common with Rhône-style Syrah, for a Chilean version it rocks.”
Join Zenna and Etán in Chilean wine country on a journey of sensory exploration that defines people like wine, wine like lovers, and the undeniable truth of love as a drop of wine on the tongue. After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, or in this case, in the drinking.
Brought to you with a toast from Chile,
The Winemaker, by Charmaine Pauls
Where to buy the book:
Buy from Amazon.com
Buy from Mélange Books
Buy from Lulu.com
About the author:
The South African born novelist is a gypsy at heart who loves to look at the world through the lens of her camera. Connect with Charmaine Pauls on:
Other books by Charmaine Pauls:
Between Yesterday & Tomorrow
How long will you wait for the man you love when he disappears from the face of the earth?
Between Fire & Ice
If you were the last fertile woman on earth, would you indulge a man forced to marry you to save the world?