Ever get something in your head and decide you just have to do it/have it RIGHT NOW? That’s how I felt about reading We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson. It was just time.
Luckily, right when I was having this hankering, I found this great cut-paper copy of the seminal semi-horror novel in Copperfields Books in Petaluma in January. I waited until I had a free weekend, then devoured it straight in two nights. It’s an American classic: The story of the two Blackwood sisters, whose entire family is dead from poisoning (by probably one of their hands), living hermetic lives in their manor house above the village that hates them. Spooky, suspenseful, and the kind of book where you can’t turn the pages fast enough, it’s also exemplary of Jackson’s meticulously wrought prose, filled with life-giving detail but also leaving your imagination plenty of room to go wild. (The imagination is a dark place, which Jackson knew and played to with aplomb.)
To pair, I knew I needed something dark and musty, but not too much of either; this book is not a horror story, and Jackson is not a heavy-handed writer, and I wanted something as fun to drink as this was to read. So I delighted finding this spare-looking, almost-black bottle (when it’s filled with wine...) of the Portuguese grape Baga, a medium-bodied, tannic, and acidic wine that hooked me on the Cherry-Vanilla Dr. Pepper nose and kept me with it’s surprising drinkability. It’s kind of earthy, tobacco-y, plum-ish—one of those wines that tastes way different than it smells. It’s definitely a food wine, and would go marvelous with the pork chops and fruit pies Connie Blackwood is always cheffing up in the book. I even loved how the clean bottle mimics Jackson’s simple, but impactful, prose. I finished off this while enjoying the last pages of Castle, and it was sublime. Musty but fun, creepy but can’t-stop, these two are made for each other.
📘: We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson
🍷: Casa de Saima “Tonel 10” Bairrada 2017
🇵🇹: Bairrada, Portugal
Imported by Savio Soares Selections. Found at Vine Wine.