A Trace of Gold with a Good Zinfandel

We’re trying something a little new here – wine and book pairings. Given Anne’s connections in the world of mystery writing, it seems kind of obvious that we’d want to take advantage of that. Our first book is A Trace of Gold, by Tim Chapman.

Tim Chapman is one of Anne’s virtual friends through the Blackbird Writers group. He also wrote a fun little thriller featuring Sean McKinney, a widowed forensic scientist on the trail of someone killing senior citizens with ties to the Ma Barker/Karpis gang of bank robbers in the 1930s.

We chose zinfandel to pair with Chapman’s tale. Zin pairs well with the historical subplot of the book, which takes place during the Great Depression and after Prohibition was repealed. Because Prohibition had killed so many U.S. wineries, what few remained were mostly making zinfandel.

Like zin, the book is complex with plotting in two time periods, office politics, and lots of mixed emotions as McKinney tries to navigate his grief while raising a teen-age daughter.

Sample label/Keystone Wines not available to the public

Good zin should be complex, too. There are those of us who remember the zinfandels of the 1990s, which were heavy on the fruit flavors and alcohol. Not so anymore. Today’s zins do have some fruit which makes them good with barbecue and solid murder mysteries. But they should also have a little bit of pepper flavor, which works great with McKinney, who can be pretty cranky.

We featured zin a while ago with a lesson from Katie Madigan, of St. Francis Winery and Vineyards. As for Tim, you can find out more about him and A Trace of Gold on his website, thrillingtales.com.