What’s better than reading a good book?
Reading a good book while enjoying a lovely glass of wine!
Reading and discovering new wines are two of my greatest passions. To bring these two together, I’m looking for Book & Wine pairings. When a novel is light and bubbly, I can pair it with a nice Champagne or Cava. If a book is bolder and more complex, I’ll pair it with a Tempranillo or a Barola.
A while ago I’ve read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and I paired this book with a glass of Château La Tulipe Merlot from the Bordeaux, France.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save an elderly gentleman who has fallen, Eleanor’s life changes unexpectedly. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.
Loving & touching
Eleanor Oliphant is doing just fine. She is a bit odd and she doesn’t understand everything that’s happening in the world around her, but she’s fine. The book starts with describing what being ‘fine’ means to thirty year old Eleanor: She works 5 days a week, on Wednesday’s she talks to ‘Mummy’, she eats pizza on Friday and in the weekend she drinks two bottles of vodka. Eleanor is lonely and quite isolated from the world. She struggles with her social skills, which often unintentionally leads to hilarious situations.
“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”
One day she leaves the office with her colleague, Raymond. Eleanor thinks this is difficult, she would rather walk alone, but Raymond starts talking to her. On the other side of the street they see an elderly gentleman fall down. Eleanor’s first reaction is that they should leave him there, because he’s probably drunk if he falls over at this time of the day. Raymond explains to her the gentleman has just lost his balance and the two of them call an ambulance. This is the moment Eleanor’s life changes completely.
This book was both easy and heavy to read. I laughed out loud reading about Eleanor’s social interactions and about how she sees the world. I never felt like I was laughing at Eleanor, but rather like I was laughing with her. Eleanor is a bit awkward and she is introvert, but she’s also a shy, anxious and damaged young woman. Eleanor has been through a lot and she did the best she could to build a wall around herself and to repress the past.
I adored Eleanor’s character. She is special, loving, honest, awkward and I really felt like I got to know her while reading this novel. Her story broke my heart and I had tears in my eyes a couple times. Raymond is a sweetheart. He is is a bit sloppy and sometimes he talks with his mouth full, but he has a heart of gold. He is the best friend I could wish for Eleanor.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. The story was very touching, but also light enough to keep on reading. This story shows that a little act of kindness can be very meaningful and can make a big difference.
5 out of 5 stars
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La Tulipe Merlot
In this novel, Eleanor drinks a glass of supermarket Merlot with Raymond.
He laughed. ‘Well, I suppose I could go for a glass of red, right enough,’ he said.
‘Red what?’ I said.
‘Wine, Eleanor. Merlot, I think – whatever was on special at Tesco this week.’
That is why I choose to pair this book with the Château La Tulipe Bordeaux Supérieur 2016: A wonderful bottle of Merlot that you can buy at Albert Heijn, a Dutch supermarket.
Château La Tulipe is the 13th century wine castle of winemaker and author Ilja Gort. I really enjoy reading his books and his wines are amazing. The Bordeaux Supérieur 2016 is a blend of Merlot (71%), Malbec (21%), Cabernet Sauvignon (4%) and Cabernet Franc (4%). This wine aged for 9 months on French oak barrels.
The Bordeaux Supérieur has a wonderful deep ruby red color. In the glass the first thing I smell is vanilla, but after giving the wine a gentle swirl warm fruit aromas are exposed. I smell blackberries, cherries, black currant and a bit of sweet raspberry.
This is a dry and fruity Merlot blend with soft fruit aromas. When I taste it, I also taste some light spicy aroma that reminds me of nutmeg. The wine has a light peppery finish.
An enjoyable wine for a real enjoyable price. That makes this bottle I would highly recommend!
What wine would you pair Eleanor Oliphant with?
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