Writing this wine blog is becoming an experience full of pleasant surprises. Among them is being literally showered with presents from friends, mostly in the form of new wines you absolutely have to try. Of the countless gifts received these past weeks of holidays I want to single out three wines, that surprisingly went very well with the books I was reading at the time I drank them. May be pairing wine and books should be the new-new thing.

The three wines came from generous friends who prefer to remain anonymous. They are the kind of people who always live up to the WInston Churchill’s standard about giving, “we make a life by what we give”.

The first one was Morlanda vi de Guarda 2005, a wine from Priorat that seduced me like a good novel. I was actually reading those days with enormous pleasure Louis Auchincloss’ “The education of Oscar Fairfax” (another gift from a friend!) and I found that a similar complexity and sophistication was present in the wine and in the fantastic description of the New York ruling class in the XX century.

The second wine came from a modest and little know winery in Villabuena de Álava, Hermanos Frias del Val, who makes an original Rioja with personality without straying from tradition. It remind me of another great book I had just received, “Madrid en 20 barras” (Madrid in 20 tapas bars), of Armero ediciones, a wonderful new addition to their series of “20 magníficos” that selects and comments with wit and intelligence the best restaurants and places to eat in Madrid.

The third wine I remember well from these past weeks is Viña La Grajera, a new ecological wine made by the government of La Rioja itself, that was sent to me right before Christmas. It went very well with my re-reading of Boris Akunin’s Russian novels, a great pleasure I indulge in when I retreat to La Coruña. La Grajera is a profound and somewhat eccentric wine, just like the main character of Akunin’s stories, the police officer Erast Fandorin. Next time you open a new wine perhaps you can ask yourself, what book does it taste like or can I combine it with?