My Review:A humorous and evocative debut novel about a food journalist's desperate attempt to save his career--and possibly, his marriage--by tracking an extremely valuable bottle of wine stolen by the Nazis over half a century ago.
Ten years ago, Bruno Tannenbaum was a passionate food journalist with a respected newspaper column, a popular segment on the evening news, and a bestselling guide to relationships through food. These days, Bruno is a passionate 'has-been' living on his mother's couch, separated from his wife and daughters, eating his way through an ever-dwindling bank account, faced with the gnawing doubt that he'll never be the writer he once was.
Then Bruno stumbles on the secret to a 'lost vintage' of wine, stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War and presumed lost to the world for good. Recognizing his one chance at reviving his career, he scrapes together his last resources and sets off on an exciting food-filled quest that leads him from the rolling hills of Burgundy to a raucous wedding in Moldova, to a Beaune Bacchanal, and the greying walls of a Russian prison, as he attempts to find this extremely valuable wine and prove himself as the writer, father, and husband he knows he can be.
Vintage is an exhilarating debut that reads like a delectable food memoir combined with a comic travelogue, including mouthwatering recipes and wine pairings. It is a deliciously scintillating story.
The concept of this book is great and I do not even have many qualms with its execution -- it was a truly culinary adventure. Each chapter was tied into a specific ingredient and/or recipe from the MC's other books and/or columns and the descriptions of food and wine were exciting. I also loved the travel and the mystery of the book. All of this being said, you are probably looking at my rating and thinking WHY?! Unfortunately, despite the great parts of this book, the entire thing was weighed down (and dare I say, ruined?) by Bruno, the MC. Bruno was the type of guy that traipsed around the world, being a glutton and a total lush on other people's dime, while managing to cheat on his wife numerous times. Despite the fact that he had seemingly no redeeming qualities, every woman in the book fell in love with him and he skated by on his "charm" while everyone else was hard at work. My dislike of Bruno ultimately made this book not work for me -- he was so selfish, hedonistic, chauvinistic and unlikable. If you could get over Bruno, and love food and/or wine, you will really like this book.