As you transition from beach days to pumpkin spice lattes, you’re ready to tackle books and bottles with just a little more substance to them. Whether you’re getting back into the groove at work after a much needed vacation, figuring out if a summer fling will last into autumn, or fighting to get your kids into the best schools, these novels are the ideal books to welcome the newest season. We’ve paired them with bottles that are light enough to stand up to the last warm days of summer, while still being perfect for the cozy nights of fall.
Carrie Soto is a fierce tennis player and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach, a former champion himself, who has trained her since the age of two. But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan. At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. With a vision to revitalize winemaking in La Mancha, Spain, husband-and-wife team, Rosalie Molina and Manolo Garrote, produce this crushable orange wine with notes of apricot, savory herbs, and mouthwatering freshness.
For young writers of a certain temperament the delusion persists that great writing must be sought in what W. B. Yeats once called the “foul rag and bone shop of the heart.” That’s where Peter Cunningham has been looking for inspiration for his novel—that is, when he isn’t teaching at the local women’s prison, walking his dog, getting high, and wondering whether it’s time to tie the knot with his college girlfriend, a medical student whose night shifts have become a standing rebuke to his own lack of direction. When Peter meets Leslie, a sexual adventurer taking a break from her fiancé, he gets a glimpse of what he wishes and imagines himself to be: a writer of talent and nerve. Her rag-and-bone shop may be as squalid as his own, but at least she knows her way around the shelves. Over the course of a Virginia summer, their charged, increasingly intimate friendship opens the door to difficult questions about love and literary ambition. Reminiscent of any new relationship, platonic or otherwise, this vibrant sparkling rose displays notes of red cherry, raspberry, baked lemon, toasted brioche, and stone fruit.
Set in the fictional town of Crystal, Colorado, The Gifted School is a keenly entertaining novel that observes the drama within a community of friends and parents as good intentions and high ambitions collide in a pile-up with long-held secrets and lies. Seen through the lens of four families who’ve been a part of one another’s lives since their kids were born over a decade ago, the story reveals not only the lengths that some adults are willing to go to get ahead, but the effect on the group’s children, sibling relationships, marriages, and careers, as simmering resentments come to a boil and long-buried, explosive secrets surface and detonate. It’s a humorous, keenly observed, timely take on ambitious parents, willful kids, and the pursuit of prestige, no matter the cost. Speaking of prestige, Schloss Gobelsburg is one of the oldest wineries in Austria, producing quintessential, classic expressions of Austrian wine, like this Gruner Veltliner, which has vivid notes of moss, crushed sage, and stone fruit.
No one knows us in quite the same way as the men and women who sit beside us in department meetings and crowd the office refrigerator with their labeled yogurts. Every office is a family of sorts, and the Chicago ad agency depicted in Joshua Ferris's exuberantly acclaimed first novel is family at its best and worst, coping with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, elaborate pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. With a demon's eye for the details that make life worth noticing, Joshua Ferris tells an emotionally true and funny story about survival in life's strangest environment—the one we pretend is normal five days a week. Whether you’re relaxing from your actual work week, or enjoying the tales of Ferris’s office politics, this organic field blend from Folias de Baco is refreshing, complex, unforgettable, and chillable, with enticing notes of red fruit, herbs, and slight toast.