We're celebrating National Native American Heritage Month by honoring the contributions that Indigenous people have made in the literary world. From memoirs to novels, Indigenous authors address unflinching truths about their ancestors in masterful, bold, and elegant ways. We’d like to show our gratitude with pairings of wines and spirits that are equally bold and enticing with their own rich history.
Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of PTSD and Bipolar II, Terese Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot's mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father--an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist--who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame. A balance of beauty and chaos, this refreshingly honest book could only be paired with an equally refreshing wine. Parts & Labor Red 2021 is made up of a selection of vineyards and varietals from an older era of California. Bold, fresh, and accessible, this medium-bodied red is full of wild strawberries, olives, and peppery spice notes.
In its extraordinary range of character and culture, Almanac of the Dead is a fiction novel on a grand scale. Acclaimed author Leslie Marmon Silko has undertaken a weaving of ideas and lives, fate and history, passion and conquest in an attempt to recreate the moral history of the Americas, told from the point of view of the conquered, not the conquerors. Spirited and full of history, this spicy and velvety organic red wine is Vigna Lenuzza’s Grand Cru; their most premium wine, produced from the Schioppettino di Prepotto, the oldest indigenous varietal in Friuli. Dedicated to Silvano Pasqualini, the founding winemaker of the estate, the wine is serious, but light on its feet, delicate, and medium-bodied, and filled with crunchy, snappy, red fruit.
When Danielle Geller’s mother dies of alcohol withdrawal during an attempt to get sober, Geller returns to Florida and finds her mother’s life packed into eight suitcases. Most were filled with clothes, except for the last one, which contained diaries, photos, and letters, a few undeveloped disposable cameras, dried sage, jewelry, and the bandana her mother wore on days she skipped a hair wash. Geller, an archivist and a writer, uses these pieces of her mother’s life to try and understand her mother’s relationship to home, and their shared need to leave it. Geller embarks on a journey of self discovery and understanding her family’s history. Enjoy alongside a brandy full of beauty and elegance. This Calvados is light gold in the glass, with a nose full of crisp fall apples, shortbread, and warm cream. Notes of caramel, vanilla, and baking spices come through on the palate, alongside hints of apple cider and soft, hazelnut.
A wondrous and shattering novel that follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality. The only wine worthy of this book is the Lame del Sorbo 2016, made from the small red Tintilia grape, which represents the indigenous variety of Molise since it is not cultivated elsewhere in Italy. Complex and mouthwatering, this wine displays notes of spicy berries, a floral hint of wild roses, and soft tannins.