Book-Wine Pairing: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Welcome to our first Book-Wine Pairing! This recurring post combines two of my favorite things. If only I could find a way to add coffee and chocolate, my life would be complete. This month I will be starting off with a relatively easy pairing: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.
Thanks to Needham Center Fine Wines for helping me pick out two wines to match with the book. I love wine, and I know what I like, but I’m a far cry from a wine expert. So, I needed a little extra help in making a selection. They have a great selection of wonderful wines, great customer service, and you can order online. So, Massachusetts friends, if you like the pairing this month and want to try it out, throw some business their way!
The Book: Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson
First Published: 1935
Find it/Buy it here:Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Persephone Classics)
Synopsis (Taken from GoodReads) Miss Pettigrew, an approaching-middle-age governess, was accustomed to a household of unruly English children. When her employment agency sends her to the wrong address, her life takes an unexpected turn. The alluring nightclub singer, Delysia LaFosse, becomes her new employer, and Miss Pettigrew encounters a kind of glamour that she had only met before at the movies. Over the course of a single day, both women are changed forever.
Review: I enjoyed this adult Cinderella story. It was a light-hearted and charming little book that was a welcome break from the dark and often depressing tone of most books on the 1001 list. The characters were cute, the scenarios were amusing, and it left me smiling.
I couldn’t really rate it higher (despite enjoying it quite a bit) because I didn’t feel like it had much substance to it. It was a charming, but rather simple story (very much true to the fairy tale genre). I thoroughly enjoyed it, but did it make me think, challenge my views, delve deeper into any issue? —not really.
So, what kind of wine goes with this book? Here’s how I described the book to the wine guys: fairly simple, sweet, light, with a touch of glamour to reflect the lifestyle Miss Pettigrew experienced for the day. And here’s what they recommended: Vouvray with a sweet option and a demi-sec option. Both options will cost you about $20.
Vouvray is a region in the Loire Valley in France and is dedicated almost exclusively to Chenin blanc. Wines from this region can be highly variable including dry, sparkling and sweet varieties. Today’s Chenin Blanc is a far cry from the awful 1970s version.
Wine #1: Domaine Capitaine, “Les Aumones”2013 vintage. This was a sweet and fruity wine (hints of peach). It was described as being “evocative of fresh turned earth in spring, but also of the wildflower-filled meadows of summer, and the succulent harvests of early autumn (in other words, all seasons – gotta love fancy wine reviews). Fruity and floral, fresh and crisp, this wine makes a perfect aperitif.” I found it to be a sweet but not sickly sweet wine.
Wine #2: Champalou Vouvray, 2013 vintage. This is demi-sec. Slightly sweet but significantly less sweet than option #1. Nice aromatics, fruit and honey tones, and described as “exceptionally versatile at the table. Here’s what the wine merchant says about this wine. “The nose is perfumed, exuding a feminine and floral freshness. The Champalous often refer to this dry wine as being “sec tendre” or a “tender dryness,” meaning they leave just a wisp of sweetness. This near illusion of sugar is engaging, it draws me in, plying me to take another sip to figure out what’s going on.”
The final verdict: I invited a friend over to taste these wines. She preferred the demi-sec and I preferred the sweeter wine although we both liked both of them. Option #2 is probably a better bet if you want to balance out some of the sweetness of the book and its description as being a versatile wine (more so than the sweeter version) is a nice fit with Miss Pettigrew’s character who showed herself to be a pretty versatile woman.
But don’t take our word for it. Try them for yourselves (and since there is also a movie, you can sip the wines while watching the movie)!
Buy the book here: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Persephone Classics)
Buy/order the wines here