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  • Writer's pictureSara Bond

Pairings Project: KILLER CHARDONNAY by Kate Lansing

TLDR; KILLER CHARDONNAY is a deliciously fun mystery, with complexity, depth, and an easy finish, perfect for any wine or cozy mystery lover.

A cozy mystery series set in a winery? I mean, you must have seen this review coming!

KILLER CHARDONNAY by Kate Lansing is the first book in a new cozy mystery series set in Colorado. Parker is opening Vino Valentine, a winery she’s spent years working on. She knows her wines inside and out, having cultivated and aged them herself, and she can’t wait to make it on her own as a small business owner. But on her opening day, a customer dies after sipping her signature chardonnay, and what’s worse: he’s the local wine and food critic.

The book then follows Parker as she ignores the advice of the police and attempts to track down the killer before her brand new winery fails in a flurry of bad press. With brilliant secondary characters like best friend Sage, a handsome aspiring restaurateur, and the best cat named Zin, the story feels fresh and easy. The mystery kept me guessing with all sorts of misdirection, and there’s even a romance or two to nurse through the series.

My favorite part had to be the wine and food pairings, though. (Go figure!) Lansing is a natural describing her perfect wines, pairs them with custom dishes, and had me hooked. I literally finished the book in two sittings, obviously with a glass of wine in hand.

And lucky me, the sequel just came out, so I’m ready to indulge in another tasty, easy-to-swallow mystery. A PAIRING TO DIE FOR. I only wish I could visit a winery and enjoy this book in its natural habitat.

TLDR; KILLER CHARDONNAY is a deliciously fun mystery, with complexity, depth, and an easy finish, perfect for any wine or cozy mystery lover.

COCKTAIL: Chardonnay Al Fresco

A wine based cocktail can sometimes feel like you’re just watering down the wine. In fact, during a painful scene, — ‘s mother actually waters her daughter’s carefully crafted and aged wine with ice and sparkling water. To say nothing of this practice (I 100% do it with cheap wine during the week so I can still have a glass of wine on a Monday, but cut down the calories and the alcohol content), it’s not what I want for this book. I want a cocktail that speaks to the quality of this book, the quality of the wine featured and loved in KILLER CHARDONNAY.

I wanted to pick a cocktail that pays tribute to the chardonnay.

A sangria is an easy choice, but it usually relies on the fruit and mixers more than it does the wine. I wanted something where the wine is foregrounded. This plays well with a chardonnay that isn’t overly oaked, has crisp notes of citrus and green apple, and a nice dry finish. If you can, get a chardonnay from colder climates or an early harvest.


4oz Charonnay

0.25 Cucumber

Juice of 1 Lime

2 Tbsp Simple syrup

1. In a shaker, muddle the lime and cucumber with the simple syrup.

2. Add ice and then wine. Shake until mixed.

3. Strain into glass. Garnish with lime and cucumber slice.

To be fair, Parker would be horrified that we watered down her perfectly balanced Chardonnay with sugar, fruit, and ice. Take the time to get to know your local wine vendor or bartender and find a wine that suits you. Dry or sweet, oaked or aged in steel casks, there are many varieties, and half the fun of drinking wine is finding one that suits you. When you have that quality Chardonnay, enjoy it as intended: slightly chilled and allow it to breathe. For all of those other, cheaper, not Vino Valentine-approved bottles, though, mix away, and enjoy!

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