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Sometimes I Read. Sometimes Drink and Read.

The Glass of Wine, c.1661 (detail). Image courtesy of The Gemäldegalerie

A few months ago, I had a lengthy conversation with my mom about drinking wine alone. Is it sad or ‘chill’? Is it possible to truly enjoy a glass at pres? And most importantly — what do you do, when you drink alone? The conversation concluded that both my mom and I read when we are having a glass solo. Right before the year ended, I have paired some of my favourite literature pieces and wines that go with them. It’s a new decade and pairing humans for Valentine’s day should be left in 2010s.

Everyone’s favourite couple: Riesling + ‘Trick Mirror’ by Jia Tolentino

In summer 2019, I read Tolentino’s book predominately at night, when the heat of the city was easier on my body and soul. The collection of essays covers a fair bit of internet culture. Tolentino writes about America’s fascination with scammers, identity politics and the commercialisation of feminism. The essays are eye opening, just like probably the world’s beloved grape — Riesling. The secret of Rieslings, whether that would be the light body, high acidity or dry-of-dry, is that they can taste like caramelised grapefruits and Haribo bears at the same time. ‘Trick Mirror’ has been praised by a variety of critics and readers for its intellectual wit and a glass of Riesling is the perfect companion if you consider having a cool night in with Jia Tolentino.

The 2020 couple: Pinot Gris + ‘Under the Weather’ by Ash Saunders

As much as I like repeating same things forever, 2019 was the year I realised that often even the most pleasant practises need to be re-examined. 2019 was the year I got genuinely scared for our planet. While the world seemed to be just endless Brexit -- and impeachment inquiries, there were people dedicating the comfort of conventional living in order to deliver a message about the horrifying state of ecosystems and pollution. Ash Saunders’ piece on climate emergency and mental health is straightforward and honest and documents her activism throughout the years. I read the piece right before Christmas break. I loved it and wanted to tell every soul I know about it. I actually did so, when I first tasted a natural Pinot Gris. Its orange coral colour and citrusy pallet is a great reminder why terroir needs to be preserved and natural wine makers supported — I could not stop preaching about it. When we lose the planet, we lose the wine!

That couple of East Coast Americans doing a semester abroad: Gamay + ‘My So-Karen Life’ by Sarah Miller

As much as I love anything pseudo intellectual and pretentious, I also do understand that in this cacophonic life somethings will stay put forever. I will have Domino’s every time I submit an essay and every year King’s will fill up with American exchange students who experience a cultural shock anywhere in Europe. Sarah Miller’s perfectly funny article for New York Times is great for anyone who looks at female friendships in America and thinks, “whaaat?” (all that Caroline Calloway jazz). Reading Miller’s piece, I was craving the ultimate Karen drink — sassy rosé. Gamay is always a good pick: it smells like raspberry granita and tastes like cranberries dusted with some malic acid. It’s what Karen has after talking with a manager, it’s what I prefer on a sassy Sunday afternoon.

The couple who got mugged in South London but still ‘loves Peckham’: Vinho Verde + ‘The Intelligence of Plants’ by Cody Delistraty

King’s is quite rich in student personas, a lot of whom have soft spot/fetish for the south side of the city. They are probably fond of Portuguese Vinho Verde: it tastes like sea salt, green apples and humanities students’ tears. Because it is so light, you can pair it with variety of salads and seafood. Cody Delistraty is a writer at The Paris Review, widely read in all kinds of humanities departments, and I guess he would love Vinho Verde. His article, published in September, is light and dreamy, exploring the way nature and in this case — trees, talk to us. That is incredibly cool, just like Vinho Verde… just like Peckham, I guess. Best part — it’s very affordable, the most expensive bottles selling for £11 tops.

Published in the print edition of the February, 2020 issue.

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