Sunday, September 6, 2009

Amarone and Murder

Some people might say than an Amarone is a wine to kill for so imagine my surprise when the wine showed up in Tess Gerritsen's most recent murder mystery, The Keepsake. But there it was almost at the end of the book. Regular Gerritsen character Maura Isles thinks of her uneaten grilled cheese sandwich left at home and the glass of wine now offered her. "It was a rich Amarone, so dark it appeared almost black in the parlor's firelight." I kind of had the book's ending figured out so there were no surprises there but imagine my surprise at the mention of this wine. I'm thinking that since Tess Gerritsen is a physician turned writer most of the medical stuff in her books is fairly right on. So is her description of and I'm assuming appreciation of Amarone.
The wine itself is a fluke. It was originally supposed to be a sweet wine called Recioto but the guy in charge forgot about it and allowed the grapes to continue fermenting until it lost all of its sweetness. Not wanting to toss the whole thing out, the new brew was named Amarone which apparently acutually means big bitter. In the scheme of wine things, Amarone is fairly new. Despite its new comer status, it's already made its mark in popular culture.
In the book Silence of the Lambs, Hanibal Lecter eats the census taker's liver with fava beans and Amarone. I know, in the movie he enjoyed a Chianti. Go figure.
If she had only mentioned the wine earlier in the book I might have poured myself a glass of Two Buck Chuck Red and pretended. The real stuff is pretty expensive.
It's still a good wine. And the book was good, too.

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