January 19, 2016

Late Harvest Havoc by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen - Review/Excerpt/Giveaway

 Late Harvest Havoc
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review

Published: December 15, 2015
Number of pages: 169
Genre: Mystery
Series: Winemaker Detective #10

Vineyard revenge. Winter is in the air in Alsace and local customs are sowing trouble, piquing the curiosity of the famous winemaker from Bordeaux, Benjamin Cooker. While the wine expert and his assistant Virgile settle into their hotel in the old city of Colmar, distinguished vineyards are attacked. Is it revenge? The plot thickens when estates with no apparent connection to one another suffer the same sabotage just days prior to the late harvest. All of Alsace is in turmoil, plunged in the grip of suspicion that traces its roots back to the darkest hours of the German occupation. As he crosses back and forth into Germany from the Alsace he thought he knew so well, Cooker discovers a land of superstition, rivalry, and jealousy. Between tastings of the celebrated wines, he is drawn into the lives and intrigues of the inhabitants. 

What did I think of this book:
As you know I have been enjoying this series more and more with each book that is added to it. I have to say them one may have been my favorite or at least it is right up there at the top. As always we learn about wines as we read as well as we get to learn about a new part of the world in this book. I love the descriptions of the setting as it makes me feel as if I am right there along with the characters in the story. This book in particular I think was full of even more adventure and drama. I love how Benjamin and Virgile play off of each other in these books. It helps make for a good story line by having the characters so well developed. I can't wait to see what these authors have to offer us in the next book. 

Benjamin smiled. Virgile’s company was helping him recover his usual cheerfulness. It wasn’t so much the tour guide’s sudden death that was dragging him down. It was the prospect of vinifying Fritz Loewenberg’s Moselle wines. Goldtröpfchen was certainly a beautiful German village set in sloping and magnificently maintained vineyards, but the wine that came from its stocks was too sweet. Making honey from grapes was not Benjamin’s cup of tea. He had been clear with Loewenberg and had only accepted the assignment because the man had set his sights on a Saint-Emilion grand cru. The deal was making headway, and Benjamin was lending support to an operation that would cause a stir in Bordeaux. For the German businessman, having a Bordeaux vineyard was a way to restore his image in his Moselle homeland. Bad yeast during vinification had marred his wine the previous year.

It was a matter of spending a week across the Rhine in Germany. Benjamin had used the assignment as an opportunity to visit the hills of Alsace with his assistant, because Virgile was almost completely unfamiliar with its extraordinary wines.

“Tomorrow we’ll drive to Colmar. And from there we’ll start exploring,” Benjamin said before biting into a slice of bread coated with a thick layer of foie gras. “Maybe we’ll even go all the way to Ammerschwihr. This matter of the vines cut down with a chainsaw is perplexing, to say the least.”

“What happened again?” Virgile asked. “How many plants were cut?”

“One hundred and twenty. All destroyed in a single night.”

“Sacrilege! And the papers say the investigators have no leads.”

“Reporters are like pathetic winemakers churning out plonk,” grumbled Benjamin. “We’re lucky if we get half the story.”

“Well, it does seem that the cops are having a hard time with this, boss. What are your thoughts?”

Benjamin Cooker wiped his mouth and took two sips of his riesling.

“Clearly, this is an act of vengeance that dates to some deep-rooted rancor.”

Virgile, trying to imitate his employer, took one sip of his wine, then a second, and then a third. “This is Alsace,” he finally said. “Revenge is bound to be slow in coming, like the late harvest wines made in this region—and that would certainly wreak havoc. Right, boss?”

“‘Late Harvest Havoc.’ Sounds like the title of a mystery. Virgile, I think you’ve inherited your grandfather’s wit.”

About the authors:
 Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, wine lover and music lover respectively, came up with the idea for the Winemaker Detective series while sharing a meal, with a bottle of Château Gaudou 1996, a red wine from Cahors with smooth tannins and a balanced nose.
About the Translator:
Sally Pane studied French at State University of New York Oswego and the Sorbonne before receiving her Masters Degree in French Literature from the University of Colorado where she wrote Camus and the Americas: A Thematic Analysis of Three Works Based on His Journaux de Voyage. Her career includes more than twenty years of translating and teaching French and Italian at Berlitz and at University of Colorado Boulder. She has worked in scientific, legal and literary translation; her literary translations include Operatic Arias; Singers Edition, and Reality and the Untheorizable by Clément Rosset, along with a number of titles in the Winemaker Detective series. She also served as the interpreter for the government cabinet of Rwanda and translated for Dian Fossey’s Digit Fund. In addition to her passion for French, she has studied Italian at Colorado University, in Rome and in Siena. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband.

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Winemaker Detective Series:
#1 Treachery in Bordeaux,
#2 Grand Cru Heist,
#3 Nightmare in Burgundy,
#4 Deadly Tasting,
#5 Cognac Conspiracies,
#6 Mayhem in Margaux,
#7 Flambé in Armagnac
#8 Mysteries in Montmartre,
#9 Backstabbing in Beaujolais
#10 Late Harvest Havoc
Global giveaway open internationally: 5 participants will each win a print or digital copy of this book. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, for more chances to win

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]




Monday, January 4
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at It’s a Mad Mad World

Wednesday, January 6
Review + Giveaway at The Discerning Reader

Thursday, January 7
Review + Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads

Saturday, January 16
Review at BookerTalk

Tuesday, January 19
Review + Excerpt + Giveaway at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Friday, January 22
Review + Giveaway at LibriAmoriMiei

Saturday, January 23
Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace

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