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The Chardonnay Mom, vol. 7 | Carol Kaufmann | August 5, 2020
Hello Wine Fans,
Though it may appear that I think a bottle of wine is the answer to any given dilemma, it’s actually not my choice for self-soothing. True, wine can be a conversation instigator when sipped with friends, a reprieve from the chaos of the day, a boon to great meals, and a perfect excuse to linger at the table. But it can’t help explain.
I’ve always been a big reader, but The Time of Covid has driven me further into pages. At the beginning of lockdown, I could only read fiction. But over the months, my book appetite has expanded into biography, and most recently, World War II history, which make my tiny woes pale, and now I’m devouring two to three books a week, in addition to news articles. Perhaps it is because of the news articles that we need bigger-picture stories.
In fact, right about the time we were ordered into quarantine, my friend Cathy and I created a socially-distant book club full of fellow neighborhood moms. Sometimes we Zoom and include far-flung former neighbors from Texas and California; but more recently, we’ve been sitting on my patio, six feet apart, with BYO snacks, candles, and—shocking—wine. If there was ever a time for community wine and discussion – this is it. (Note: Rosés and Bubbles seem to go well with book discussions).
And why keep a good book to yourself? A few of the following have evokes great discussions; others I’ve found through friends or through authors I follow. All are worth reading, or I wouldn’t mention😉
Untamed by Glennon Doyle. The neighborhood book club started with this one. The author of Love Warrior, Carry on, Warrior, and the blog Momastery, Doyle packs a searing punch (mostly) in her short essays about friendship, body image, white women understanding racism, honesty with her three children, and notably, divorcing her husband and marrying a female soccer star.
Wine suggestion: Grab a cocktail for this one! You think that Doyle is just talking about her life, when POW!, you realize she’s talking about you. Because you might need more than one, make it with the Wilderness Road, a refreshing, clean-crafted mixable replaced in for clean liquors, with less alcohol (and about half the calories). $38
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid.A 26-year-old Black woman is accused of kidnapping the seriously precocious child she babysits, and her wealthy White employer, a social media maven, tries to befriend her. Reid weaves race, class, wealth, and career choices deftly into what feels like a beach read. No wonder her debut novel was just nominated for the Booker prize.
Wine suggestion: NV Ticklebumps Brut Break out a bubbly in honor of Ms. Reid (How do you get nominated for a Booker with your FIRST novel?) and for creating the most memorable three-year-old in fiction history. $45
The Huntress by Kate Quinn. Did you like The Alice Network? This time, the same author continues to mine WWII in this historical novel about a battle-hardened Russian aviatrix, a former war correspondent, a former Nazi, and one plucky young woman. Completely absorbing and un-putdown able.
Wine suggestion: My friend Cathy, mentioned above, told me about this book. She also loves the Middle Jane Pinot Noir, just like I do (see why we’re friends?) so I’ll go ahead and recommend it. Though, honestly, I’d recommend this layered, complex Pinot for most any occasion. $42
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson. Geez, this is a nearly perfect novel. The story of two unwanted kids who burst into flames (yes, as in fire) when agitated is a tale of highly flawed individuals and improbable, redeeming love. You’ll laugh out loud and cry on the same page. Just read it.
Wine Suggestion: Oso Pardo Tempranillo 2019. Just out, this spicy Spanish red is great with fire…as in grilling or BBQ. $25
Kindred by Octavia Butler. This novel, chosen by my work book club, will stay with me for a long, long time. Published in 1979, science fiction writer Butler takes a 20-something black women living in 1970s Los Angeles and transports her to the antebellum South and into the lives of her slave-holding ancestors. Harrowing and unforgettable.
Wine suggestion: You need a big, hearty Zin to sustain you through this. I’d go for a Middle Jane Zinfandel, berries on the front and smooth spice on the back. $29
My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley.What’s a gay San Franciscan to do when he loses his apartment and lover? Fly across the country and move in with his ex-wife and her kid and help rebuild their lives in a small New England town. What could go wrong?
Wine suggestion: Try Che Fico’s Pinot Grigio. It’s easy breezy with lots of character and a refreshing finish. $22.
Mysteries. A huge fan of Agatha Christie since I was old enough to read (well, practically), I’m always up for a good murder mystery and have to credit the loyal followers of Louise Penny for suggesting Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope series set in London before and during World War II. Thanks to them, also, for recommending the 20-book Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters about an ahead-of-her-time dame and her archaeologist husband set mainly in Egypt during the Victorian era.
Wine suggestion: The Birthday Set. Get ready to tuck in with both a great white and red, thanks to Scout & Cellar’s celebration of birthday #3. Fieldhouse Chardonnay (smooth, lemony, not oaky) and Fieldhouse Red (full of berries, herbs). Both for $49/ships for free. (Retails separately at $70! Get it while it lasts).
Where to buy these books? Why not support a local bookstore?! I suggest my friend Tiffany’s ridiculously special place in Indiana, Wild Geese Bookshop. She’ll ship to you.
Other Bits and Pieces
Need a side gig? Or maybe a job?
Love wine and want to try new kinds?
Want to support an organization during COVID? And maybe write a newsletter😊?
Consultants have many reasons for joining the Scout & Cellar team. If YOU are interested, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Big Fat Hug
Thank you, my wine fans! Because of your support, I’ve donated $875 to José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that feeds fresh meals to hungry people around the country and keeps restaurants open doing so. As long as this global pandemic continues and y’all buy wine, I’ll support José! #chefsforamerica
If you like wine, and drink it on a regular basis, the easiest (and most cost-effective) thing you can do is sign up for Scout Circle. Seriously. Figure out how much wine you drink a month (or every other month or every quarter) and let our wine experts pick out a selection for you. I, for example, get six bottles of white/red/rose bottles a month for $139. That’s big discount from your basic a la carte purchase! No shipping. No fees.
And if you don’t like a wine, we’ll give you a wine credit to try a different bottle.
Thank you for reading. If you know someone who’d like to subscribe to The Chardonnay Mom, send ‘em this link! Or you can subscribe for them😊
©2020 Carol Kaufmann
My name is Carol Kaufmann.
My teenage son presented me with a burst of inspiration when he sarcastically called me “a Chardonnay mom” one night at dinner. Why should that be an insult? I thought. Why disparage that seriously versatile, glorious grape? Right then, I decided I would proudly take on that title and promote Chardonnay one glass at a time.
Plus, other delicious wine.
I’m now an executive consultant for Scout & Cellar, a wine company based in Texas that sources and creates Clean-Crafted™ wines from small farms and family-owned vineyards. I joined the team because these wines are delicious, made responsibly without all the chemicals, pesticides, additives, and sweeteners used frequently in other mass-produced wines, and can be consumed by many who have health issues. (Please check with your doctor). Oh, and they’re keto- and paleo-friendly and have 40% fewer calories than most other wines.
I’m also a full-time author/writer/editor; wife and mom of two teenagers, three rescue cats, and a very opinionated bulldog (see above); and native Kentuckian. I love books, travel, my friends and neighbors, wine (of course), and current hometown of Alexandria, Virginia.