Wine Pairing for the Blood Vine Series
By Amber Belldene
On our fancier dates nights, my husband and I love to go out to the restaurants in San Francisco that have those great prix fixe menus. Three courses for $35, and for an extra $20, the wine pairing. I like it because I would normally never order an appetizer, entree, dessert, and three half-glasses of wine. And when he orders three different things, then we get to taste a lot from the menu. *Wanders off in a salivating reverie while recalling a particularly delicious salmon filet.*
And, I’m back! So, I thought it would be fun to give you my food and wine pairing for the Blood Vine series!
In Blood Vine, we travel with P.R. executive Zoey Porter to meet the Maras family of vampires on their estate in Sonoma County. (Though, it turns out she’s already met but refused to sleep with Andre.) Plus, Pedro and Lucas meet in the winery’s tasting room in Healdsburg. When I imagined the opening of the book, I thought of one of my very favorite Zinfandel producers, Seghesio Winery. They have a lovely tasting room in Healdsburg, CA—a bit more upscale that the Kastel Estate’s small storefront, but a place I heartily recommend if you’re doing a wine country visit. Seghesio also has a great Old Vine Zinfandel that regularly goes on major markdown at my local Safeway grocery store, because every night is not fancy date night and I feel guilty drinking wine that costs more than $12 a bottle on Tuesday. With that OVZ, I would enjoy a grilled cheese on sourdough in the Kastel Estate kitchen, which happens to be the peace-making meal Lena and Zoey share in the book.
In Blood Entangled, Kos is responsible for all the logistics of bottling and distributing the potent Blood Vine, and the Hunters try to stop him at every turn. When I researched the procedures of a family-sized winery—how they bottle, label, box and ship their wines, I thought of the tiny small-production Nalle. If you can get your hands on anything they make, especially their quick-to-sell-out Zins, I heartily recommend! In the book, chef and heroine Lena is planning a Croatia meets California menu for the Blood Vine launch party. With a Nalle Zin, I would gobble up plates of Lena’s stuffed peppers, but skip her grilled sardines in order to leave room for the Baklava. The scene where Kos helps her find the honey in the pantry is um, sweet 😉
In Blood Reunited, Bel, Uta and a reluctant Pedro travel to the vampire homeland in Eastern Turkey and uncover the origins of Blood Vine. I delighted in researching the ancient (as in 8000 years old) winemaking techniques of the Republic of Georgia, especially the famous “black wines” made by leaving the skins and stems to ferment inside the giant ceramic qvevri which are buried underground to keep their temperatures constant. The pictures of wineries using these techniques are breathtaking and I really, really want to go! Of course, I made a point of tasting some of those wines, and Pheasant’s Tears is one widely available in the U.S. I love it—it’s a very big, bold wine, dry but with lots of fruit. Not for everybody, but a new favorite for me. In this story, one of my favorite scenes is when Pedro rhapsodizes about his sister-in-law Lena’s cherry pie and realizes his thoughts sound rather naughty. He doesn’t much care though, because the pie is so good, and I think a slice would pair very nicely with a glass of Pheasant’s Tears!
The boxed set will include a Pedro and Lucas short story for all the fans of the series, called “Blood Eternal.” It’s short and sweet, and so I think it will deserve a nice port-style Old Vine Zin from one of my favorite little wine-country hole in the walls, Prager. They make to-die-for desert wines, perfect for a decadent and romantic m/m read!
Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, I hope you find the setting of the Blood Vine series as interesting as I did. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on Blood Eternal—the story is about Pedro and Lucas facing what it means to have an eternity together.
Meet Amber Belldene:
I grew up on the Florida panhandle, swimming with alligators, climbing oak trees and diving for scallops…when I could pull myself away from a book. As a child, I hid my Nancy Drew novels inside the church bulletin and read mysteries during sermons—an irony that is not lost on me when I preach these days.
I’m an Episcopal Priest with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies. I believe stories are the best way to explore human truths. Some people think it’s strange for a minister to write romance, but it is perfectly natural to me, because the human desire for love is at the heart of every romance novel and God made people with that desire. I write paranormal, historical and contemporary romance and live with my husband and two children in San Francisco.
My literary agent is the fabulous Becca Stumpf of the Prospect Agency.
Omnific Publishing eBook version The Blood Vine Box Set Giveaway:
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Blood Vine Series Synopsis:
The Maras vampires will go to any length to save their kind. Only their lovers can show them how.
Purchase Blood Vine Box Set:
Blood Vine: When public relations pro Zoey Porter arrives at an enchanting California winery, she discovers her sexy new client is the almost one-night stand she can’t forget. Zoey has vowed never to risk her heart again, but Andre needs her help.
Purchase Blood Vine:
Blood Entangled: Kos Maras’s orderly life is in shambles–he must distribute Blood Vine to a population of ailing vampires, but Hunters block him at every turn. To make matters worse, each night, he watches over a temptingly beautiful but unattainable woman sleeping in his bed.
Purchase Blood Entangled:
Blood Reunited: Vampire biologist Bel Maras must create a cure for the wasting disease that plagues his family. But when it fails, only his ancient and estranged godmother Uta can help.
Now these old enemies must overcome their past to save the vampires and come to peace with the bond they never chose.
Purchase Blood Reunited:
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