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.
Thanks for your visit, I’m joining:
Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday~ this week’s letter is V~ for Vintage Caper