Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wine Books to Read: A Year in Provence

Speaking of "Provence in Berkeley" yesterday brought the idea of Provence to my attention.  Plus, with one of the first rainy days in Napa for the up-and-coming Fall season, it's a perfect day to grab a book.  Another wonderful wine book to enjoy, A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, is a story about a husband and wife that move from the U.S. to Provence.  Peter writes about their entire first year in Provence, capturing the reader with the harsh winter season, renovating a house in Provence, truffle hunting, eating, and learning what tourists mean to a beautiful area in France.  Peter learns that time slips away in Provence; no longer is a watch important.  An elegant story about how to enjoy life, I highly recommend A Year in Provence for a simple, entertaining read. 

Of course, a budget-friendly buy: about $10 on  

How is Provence related to wine?  Provence is a region in Southern France known for it's lavender and expensive blush wines.  The main variety of Provence is Grenache, but other varieties include Carignan, Cinsaut, Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Mourvedre, Tibouren, Calitor (Pecoui Touar), Barbaroux (Barbarossa), Rolle (Vermentino), and Semillon.  The blush/rose wine style appear to go fairly well the garlic- and oil-base cuisine of Provence.  This is especially true of Provencal aioli, a very garlic and oil-based mayonnaise.  Other famous dishes include bouillabaisse (saffron-infused fish stew), bourride (fish soup), brandade (cod puree), fougasse (herbed flat bread), glace de lavande (lavender vanilla ice cream), pistou (vegetable and basil soup), ratatouille (vegetable stew), rouille (aioli with Spanish peppers), and their truffles (mushrooms).

For those who don't know how beautiful Provence is, I captured this image off of Google Images:

If I haven't convinced you of Provencal beauty yet, perhaps it's time to plan a romantic trip away... (not during the winter months!).  And on the plane ride there, you can enjoy A Year in Provence!

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