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Sotto Voce

by Erin Finnegan

New York-based wine critic Thomas Baldwin can make or break careers with his column for Taste Magazine. But when his publisher orders him to spend a year profiling rising stars of California’s wine country and organizing a competition between the big name wineries of Napa and the smaller artisan wineries of Sonoma, his world gets turned upside-down by an enigmatic young winemaker who puts art before business.

Sotto Voce is the story of love and wine, and how both require patience, passion, an acceptance of change—and an understanding that sometimes, you have to let nature take its course.

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Publisher: Interlude Press
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Pairings: MM
Excerpt:

Kennedy took the glasses, rinsed them and the wine thief, and then moved on to another tank. Repeating the procedure, a velvety red wine was deposited into the glasses.

 

Mezzo, the Zinfandel.”

“I’m sensing a trend here,” Tom said. “Rhapsody Wines? Allegrezza? Mezzo?”

“Mm. Yes,” Kennedy responded, sounding truly uninterested in the conversation.

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“Is there a reason for the choice of each name for the particular wine?” Tom asked.

“If you can’t tell, then I haven’t done my job very well.”

Tom again checked the color, the legs, the nose, then sipped at the rich, lively Zin.

“It has the brightness of fruit, without the feeling that I’m eating a bowl of jam—which is happening altogether too often lately.”


Kennedy smirked—the closest thing to a smile since they met, Tom thought.


“Let’s see. The Roussanne? Allegrezza. It’s bright, cheerful, like a bouquet of spring flowers.”


The winemaker’s head might have been turned, but Tom could still see the slightest smile slip across his lips.


“I’ll have to take a stab that Mezzo is your in-between wine. Not bright and summery like the Roussanne, but there’s something else you’re making that’s darker, richer—something with deeper tannins. So the Zinfandel is Mezzo.”

“Yes.”


“And it’s lovely,” Tom said.


“Thank you. Syrah’s next.”


“And it is?”


Appassionato.


The thief slipped samples of a dark, sinfully lush wine into the glasses. The color looked like it belonged on the runway, like haute couture. It clung to the glass like silk cut on the bias. A swirl, a dip of the nose—Tom closed his eyes.

“Blackberry, pepper and... something else, almost smoky, with a hint of sweet, like... maple?”

He took a sip, held it on his tongue. He sensed Kennedy’s eyes on him.

“Bacon!”

Kennedy dipped his head as the corners of his mouth rose, revealing dimpled cheeks.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Publishers Weekly on Publishers Weekly wrote:

STARRED REVIEW: Finnegan’s debut surprises and delights, pairing wine culture with an intoxicating contemporary romance. Thomas Baldwin is one of the wine industry’s foremost critics, traveling the world for New York–based Taste magazine. He’s caught by surprise, however, when his boss gives him a year-long assignment profiling the venerable giants and smaller boutique wineries in California’s famed Napa nd Sonoma counties while planning a tasting event. California vintner Greg Kennedy matches Thomas’s passion for everything related to the vine, as well as for music. Over the course of Thomas’s year on the West Coast, their relationship grows, closely mirroring the vineyard’s seasons. Brimming with technical terms but never inaccessible, this tender romance is wide-ranging and utterly satisfying. It’s a book to be savored and enjoyed from the sweet, light beginning to the subtle middle notes, which culminate in a refreshing, delicious finish.

Christine on Prism Book Alliance wrote:

In this unique, enchanting m/m romance, Erin Finnegan has drawn engaging, lovable characters against a vivid, dramatic backdrop. Set amidst the lush vineyards and charming populace of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Sotto Voce is a beautiful, elegantly written m/m romance that leaves a delicious aftertaste on the palate and a warm glow within the heart. I highly recommend it.


About the Author

Erin Finnegan is a former journalist and winemaker who lives in the foothills outside Los Angeles. A lifelong sports fan and occasional sports writer, she has had to dive out of the way of flying luchadores at matches in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Her 2016 novel Luchador (Interlude Press) was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2016. In its starred review, PW described it as “glorious”. Kirkus Reviews hailed Luchador as “an unconventional romance”.

Her first novel, Sotto Voce, also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and a Foreword Reviews Indiefab Silver Book of the Year Award.


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