The Lost Vintage (Hardcover)
Like the wine she knows so dearly, Kate's story is layered; it has memories that fill the nose like a fragrant bouquet and memories that bite and threaten to ruin the balance she's managed to strike between work, life, and her family's past.
In preparation for her Master of Wine test - a test only the most talented can pass - Kate travels to her family's domaine in the Burgundy region of France to better acquaint herself with white wines. It's a place she hasn't visited in over a decade, and there she uncovers a family mystery that could mean ruin or triumph - but either way promises a revelation. Along with her sister-in-law Heather and a cast of characters as rich as the soil from which the vines grow, Kate unearths the story of a lost great-aunt and the German occupation of France during World War II.
Weaving journal entries from her great-aunt Helene's diary during the years leading up to and following the German occupation with Kate's present-day discoveries, Ann Mah transports the reader to both a time and a place. The Lost Vintage is satisfying to the last drop - the last page - the last realization that family history can mean more than the stories we choose to remember.
For readers who enjoyed Steve Martin's An Object of Beauty and BA Shapiro's The Muralist.— Shelly Walston
Sweetbitter meets The Nightingale in this page-turning novel about a woman who returns to her family's ancestral vineyard in Burgundy and unexpectedly uncovers a lost diary, an unknown relative, and a secret her family has been keeping since World War II.
To become one of only a few hundred certified wine experts in the world, Kate must pass the notoriously difficult Master of Wine examination. She's failed twice before; her third attempt will be her last chance. Suddenly finding herself without a job and with the test a few months away, she travels to Burgundy to spend the fall at the vineyard estate that has belonged to her family for generations. There she can bolster her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages and reconnect with her cousin Nico and his wife, Heather, who now oversee day-to-day management of the grapes. The one person Kate hopes to avoid is Jean-Luc, a talented young winemaker and her first love.
At the vineyard house, Kate is eager to help her cousin clean out the enormous basement that is filled with generations of discarded and forgotten belongings. Deep inside the cellar, behind a large armoire, she discovers a hidden room containing a cot, some Resistance pamphlets, and an enormous cache of valuable wine. Piqued by the secret space, Kate begins to dig into her family's history--a search that takes her back to the dark days of World War II and introduces her to a relative she never knew existed, a great-half aunt who was a teenager during the Nazi occupation.
As she learns more about her family, the line between resistance and collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war? And what happened to six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar's collection?