Very tired today; a late night of bar testing got me home late last night, and so my sleep–always an issue–was not good last night. The end result is that I am very foggy and tired today, with a lot of spice to mine.
Heavy heaving sigh.
But I am very pleased to report that I finished reading Nadine Nettman’s Uncorking a Lie last night, and might I add that my Bouchercon homework is ever so much more fun than any homework I’ve ever had previously in my life?
CREMANT DE LOIRE–LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
A sparkling wine made primarily from the Chenin Blanc grape, ideal for beginnings.
When bottles of wine are sold for large amounts of money, they end up in the news. Sometimes it;s because the bottle was rare and other times the final price was noteworthy or even extreme. Yet the seller is never really emphasized in the articles. It’s always the buyer.
The buyer, who paid thousands and thousands of dollars for a bottle of wine, often with the notion to safely tuck it away in a cellar where it might not be moved again. I understand saving special bottles for long periods of time, but to know that a wine would never be released from the bottle, never get to live out its purpose of being enjoyed and savored, always gave me a tinge of sadness.
This time I knew the buyer well. Paul Rafferty was a longtime customer of Trentino and although he had an extensive collection of unique bottles kept safely in his wine cellar, he was also known for occasionally opening rare wines, sometimes at the restaurant where I had the honor of uncorking the bottle and releasing the story.
I never deny the fact that I am, for all intents and purposes, a peasant. There are a lot of things about manners and etiquette, for example, that I neither know nor understand. My family has very poor, rural Southern roots; it was in my parents’ generation that the cycle of poverty was broken and our family moved from blue-collar/working class to comfortably middle class. I am always worried I am committing some social faux pas because I simply don’t know any better; I simply stick to the basic manners of being polite when a guest but there’s always that niggling doubt in the back of my mind that I am going to do something that makes my host or hostess think to themselves oh yes, I always forget Greg is white trash. Smart, but still white trash.
Wine is one of the things I don’t understand or get; something I don’t know a lot about. I am always afraid to order wine with dinner or in a bar setting because I don’t know what I’m looking for; for many years I simply differentiated between wines as “red” or “white”; I still get thrown every once in a while by all the many different varieties that fall under each color–and then, of course, there’s rose. Sigh.
Uncorking a Lie is a terrific traditional mystery, in that the main character, through whose point-of-view we see the story, is not a professional investigator of any type but a sommelier at Trentino, a nice restaurant in San Francisco. Katie has recently passed her certification exam and is studying for her Master Sommelier certification. She is invited to a special dinner at Paul Rafferty’s mansion in Sonoma where he plans on opening and serving a bottle he bought at auction for nineteen thousand dollars; once the bottle is opened Katie realizes that the bottle is, actually, a counterfeit. She informs Paul’s assistant–and less than an hour later the assistant is dead. Paul asks her to get to the bottom of the counterfeit bottle of wine, and now we are off to the races.
This was a very fun read with a likable main character; and even though I don’t know much about wine, Nettman’s discussions about wine were not only not over my head, but made me even more interested in learning more about wine.
Look forward to reading more in this series!