The Vintage Caper



The Vintage Caper **** by Peter Mayle



An Edible Book Review inspired by Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite for the written word.



“From Hollywood to Marseille with delicious stops in between, Peter Mayle’s latest novel is filled with the culinary delights and entertaining characters that make him our treasured chronicler of French food and life.

The story begins high above Los Angeles at the impressive wine cellar of lawyer Danny Roth. Unfortunately, after inviting the Los Angeles Times to write an extensive profile extolling the liquid treasures of his collection, Roth finds himself the victim of a world-class wine heist. Enter Sam Levitt, former lawyer and wine connoisseur, who follows leads to Bordeaux and Provence. The unraveling of the ingenious crime is threaded through with Mayle’s seductive rendering of France’s sensory delights—even the most sophisticated of oenophiles will learn a thing or two from this vintage work by a beloved author.”



What a fun caper through France, reading this book! To be honest, I know nothing about French wines and just enough to be dangerous when it comes to California wines. I’m more of an enthusiast in the vein of the Peter Mayle where I found this quote in the Q&A section of Amazon saying: 


“I’ll never make a serious wine connoisseur. Taking small and reverent sips is not for me; I like to drink a wine rather than worship it. Give me a well-filled glass and a second bottle waiting in the wings and I’m happy.” 



Vanity and arrogance has Danny Roth bringing about his own demise, acting on two conclusions: “first, that inconspicuous consumption was for wimps; and second, that his wine collection deserved a wider audience.”



“Only last night, a visiting couple from Malibu had been given the grand tour of the cellar—three million dollars’ worth of wine!—and they hadn’t even bothered to remove their sunglasses. Worse still, they had then declined the Opus One served with dinner and demanded iced tea. No appreciation, no respect. It was the kind of everything that could make a serious collector weep.”



“Five hundred bottles spirited away with the efficiency of a military operation. One thing was for sure:  those stolen bottles weren’t going to turn up on eBay. It had to be a robbery-to-order, a commission job planned and funded by God knows whom, probably another collector.”



“Returning to Paris after a long absence, there is always a temptation to plunge in and taste everything. Call it greed, or the result of deprivation, but food in Paris is so varied, so seductive, so artfully presented that it seems a shame not to have a dozen of Brittany’s best oysters, some herb-flavored lamb from Sisteron, and two or three cheeses before attacking dessert.”



 My “two or three cheeses” are served on a French cheese board for Food for Thought.








Sam stops and enjoys a bottle of rosé and a jambon beurre, or ham & butter sandwich for lunch.



 The jambon buerre is the national sandwich of France, which according to statistics from 2009, 2.2 million of these forearm-length sandwiches were sold & eaten daily. Made with a fresh, crackly crusted baguette, salty ham and spread with creamy butter~ no lettuce leaf or heaven forbid, a slice of tomato, to compete with the star ingredients.





“After a morning spent mingling with wine aristocracy, it made a refreshing change to drink something simple, humble, but good—no long pedigree, no historic vintage, no complications, no wildly inflated price tag.”




“Wine and food aficionados will find much to savor. . . Light, funny, and packed with a menu’s worth of scrumptious descriptions of exceptional dinners and drinks.” –USA Today



Pour yourself a glass of wine & enjoy this light-hearted romp~ guaranteed to charm and inform even the most sophisticated palates.



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  22 comments for “The Vintage Caper

  1. March 7, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Enjoyed this post very much. At the end of the month my husband and I will be traveling to Provence. We just watched the DVD, A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. Thank you for introducing me to his new book. I will order it to enjoy on the plane.
    Styling and creative post composition come so naturally for you.
    Your cheese board in the shape of France is delightful! Where did you find it?
    I am looking forward to a jambon beurre!

  2. March 7, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Fabulous Mary! Thanks so much for the “book review”. I have read A Year in Provence and am happy to hear about this Peter Mayle book.
    Beautiful photos!
    The quote fits us to a tee, as well. We like to drink our wine,;-)

  3. March 7, 2011 at 11:01 am

    how perfect is this book for you~ i have read all his books but this one, since i am not a wino like you! i would be the tea tottler… unless they had a chocolate milkshake :)

    love your cutting board, girl you are dialed into every darn book with the ultimate CUTE!

    yesterday i was ready to chuck it all i and eat with wild abandonment, i so miss the days of fun fun fun like you are having every week with fft :(

    i am tempted to read this now, he is always a good romp, but i am so wine handicapped i thought i would miss too much. thanks for always putting a smile on my face, you have the best feel good blog around~

  4. March 7, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Your posts are always such visual feasts. I eagerly await each post so that I can savor every beautifully styled photo! My only regret today was that I read this while eating breakfast, so no wine on hand. I will have to return tonight, wine glass in hand, and pore over every yummy picture!

  5. Jackie
    March 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I am so delighted when your blog post appears in my email that it is the first one I read, no matter how many are in my inbox! You do such a marvelous and professional job that I would almost think you did it for a living. My favorite is still the AIW tea party, but with every post you just get better and better. If I could only read one blog, in all of blogland, this would be it. Kudos for excellence.

  6. March 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I had no idea that Peter Mayle had a new novel out. I am going to add this to my wishlist. Thankyou.

  7. March 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Mary, I’ve read all of Peter Mayle’s books Each is a delight. You captured this perfectly with your fabulous cheese board and all those corks. Every time I see your corks, I think, “Now why didn’t I think to save those little jewels over time?” Another post exquisitely created! ~ Sarah

  8. March 8, 2011 at 4:17 am

    I love Peter Mayle’s books! I just read 2 of them in the last couple of months so I was very happy to see your post about this one. Another book I loved was…Almost French…by Sarah Turnbull. I have many lovely memories of France with my family so these books are sweet reads for me…

    We have lived in California wine country for many years so this read will be fun for me!

  9. March 8, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Thanks for everyone’s kind comments! My map of France cheeseboard came from World Market this past fall :-)

  10. March 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    The words “wine” and “caper” in the title of a book are enough to get my interest, but throw Peter Mayle into the mix and certainly it’s going to be a sure fire winner. I loved reading this post (as I do all of your book review posts). I’m adding this to my “To be read” pile.

  11. March 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I will def be ordering this book…thanks

  12. March 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    That was so much fun to read and now I have to go fix a sandwich.

  13. March 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    A title from Mayle that I haven’t read!

    What a gift…



  14. March 9, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    i loved this!!! good review…yummy pictures =)

  15. La
    March 9, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I feel like the only person on earth who has never read a Peter Mayle book. I guess I better get on the band wagon cause it sounds like I am missing a lot.

  16. March 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Oh my gosh, what an awesome post!!! And I love your precious dogs too!!!

  17. jo
    March 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    oh what a wonderful post … i would love to be pouring myself a glass of wine right about now … sadly, its off to the gym for me instead …

  18. Pondside
    March 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

    That was such a good book – I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a Christmas gift from my daughter and I snuggled down by the fire and took myself off to France for a few very pleasurable hours. Have you read French Lessons or Chasing Cezanne? I loved them both.

  19. March 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    awesome book view,
    well illustrated details.

  20. March 10, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    You just do such a great job with these reviews of yours.


    PS. I’m pretty late for Alphabe-Thursday this week, so here’s my link:

  21. March 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I agree with Diane! Visual feasts for certain! And you always make great recommendations, as well.

  22. March 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    What a vivid visual feast you had for us this week on our journey through Alphabe-Thursday’s letter “V”.

    This book sounds quite intriquing.

    I had planned to make my husband a hot sausage hoagie for dinner, but your simple baquette looks so luscious I think it will be a poor substitute.

    Thank you for being such a vivacious host!

    You are lovely to visit.


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