I thought recently I'd expand my feel for the wine game by having a look at a few novels, to see what sort of wine-related fiction is out there for oenophile reader. So to kick off, I picked up this little page-turner that promised to give the reader a bit of mystery in "la France profonde."
The plot revolves around the goings-on in a tiny rural village in the Dordogne, where it seems an outbreak of Eco-terrorism may be about to consume the locals and their sleepy valley. Into this marches local Police Chief, Bruno Courrèges, who, as well as hunting, cooking, and coaching the kiddies' rugby team, keeps a firm finger on his community's pulse.
A huge multinational wine company is looking longingly at the valley's untapped winemaking heritage and (so far) cheap land values for their next shiny mega-winery, and there is some good, thought-provoking material here on whether the new jobs promised might be good for such a tiny hamlet, or whether something more than land gets sold off when big producers move in. Some themes run throughout the book that would be familiar to many of us involved in Aussie winemaking.
There are plenty of mouth-watering food and wine moments throughout, well-rounded characters, and it's easy to see this would have been great fun for hard-nosed business and political journo Martin Walker to write, presumably on or inspired by his yearly sojourn in the Dordogne.
It's great fun to read, and I look forward to hooking into some of the others in the Bruno Courrèges series... Keep an eye out for them!
WINE MATCH: A Bordeaux, let's say Chateau Petrus 1961?
FAILING THAT: Mitchell Harris Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 ...;-)
By Martin Walker
Published by Quercus 2009