In 2013, Christina had the brilliant idea of combining wine and books to create the Virginia Wine and Book Club. Amongst our college friends and sorority sisters, we began meeting once a month to discuss a book and made an effort to pair a wine with the book. Sometimes that meant visiting a winery, other months it was more about bringing over a bottle to the house we were meeting at. We would like to share what we read and drink in case you are looking for good pairings!
This month, we read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. A book about the nature of magic and parallel universes, it is set in different versions of London.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.
It follows Kell, one of the last of a kind of magician that can travel between the worlds and perilous magic that threatens the stability of the worlds.
We met at a member’s house where we traveled between the Londons ourselves and discussed the book in Red London. We had a candle that was scented after flowers and tea and with the glow of Red London’s river lighting the room. The book was generally enjoyed by all members and sparked a very healthy discussion. With the sequel, A Gathering of Shadows, released on February 23, many stated an interest in diving right into it.
Because each of the Londons in the book have different scents, we tried to match wines to each London. Admittedly, some Londons were easier to shop for than others. Some picks that were brought (along with ones that I now think would have been perfect) are:
|Gray London||Magic-less and smells like smoke||Smokey red wine or simple table white wine||Williamsburg Governors White
Tarara Cabernet Franc
|Red London||Rich magic and smells like flowers||Rich fruity/floral red wine||Chateau Morrisette Our Dog Blue
Rockbridge Lexington & Concord
|White London||Dead, starving and smells like blood||Dry white wine||Horton Vidal Blanc
James River Cellars Reserve Chardonnay
|Black London||A mystery with dark magic||Something red, dark and mysterious||Cooper Vineyards Noche Chocolate
Breaux Merlot Equation X
The easiest London to shop for was definitely Red London, with Black London being the hardest. Everything is up for interpretation—sometimes a decision is based off the taste, other times the name and look of the bottle.
Next month we are reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik and will be doing a blind taste test of Virginia Chardonnays and Cabernet Francs. I look forward to reporting on what we thought of each wine!
Do you have any suggestions for wines that would fit the different Londons?