Max Skinner has just quit his job, and finds out, conveniently, that
he has inherited a vineyard in Provence from his dear old uncle.
Ha! Some people have all the luck.
He and his bachelor pal, Charlie Willis have a bit of a bash together to
celebrate with a good dinner and some good wine. Charlie, a real
estate mogul (what’s a mogul anyway?) is also a wine expert–he’s
been taking lessons, you see, and they make quite an evening of it.
And we learn some neat phrases to use next time we’re tasting a
new wine. “Naive; jagged around the edges; a little young to be up
so late,” and so forth.
The old house that comes with the vineyard has a library, huge
vaulted sitting room, a dining room, kitchen, back kitchen, scullery,
six bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, grass tennis courts, barns and
outbuilding, an old fountain . . .the not-much-but-it’s-home type.
Pretty soon Max is settled in, mastering the ancient plumbing arrangement
and getting to know the live-in gardener, the bossy French housekeeper.
In town, there’s a cozy little Café Fanny with black and white tiled floors,
cane chairs and posters of old Marcel Pagnol films.
The menu is to die for—-simple, delicious. What will you have?
To start: a choice of deep-fried zucchini, vegetable terrine or a pâté
Main course: bavette aux échalotes, roasted cod, or brochette de poulet
Dessert: tarte aux pommes, crème brûlée
Wine, naturally, takes center stage in an amusing plot when a young woman
from California enters the picture. And there’s a mystery a-brewing
along with the wine a-making.
Max’s quick wit keeps the book zinging along, and so do the colorful
Take a couple of days or evenings to read this romp, and when you close the
book for good, it will be Spring!