Read, Drink, Listen: February 2018


A gripping novel set in two historical time periods in England, Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network tells the stories of Eve Gardiner during World War I and Charlie St. Clair immediately following World War II. Both women’s lives are changed by the wars during their early adulthoods, and Quinn does an excellent job alternately disclosing the secrets of Eve’s involvement in a female spy ring in World War I France, and Charlie’s search for her missing cousin after World War II, which leads her to Eve’s doorstep. As more of Eve’s mysterious past is unveiled, the reader gets to see Eve and Charlie interact. This hard-to-put-down read has it all: drama, heartache, fascinating history, intense action, an unforgettable villain, love and strong heroines coming together to conquer hardship. —Raela Schoenherr


I’ve chosen a nice full-bodied red blend for February. Daou Vineyards, located in Paso Robles, is a fantastic winery that primarily creates cabernet and other bottlings suitable for the cellar. They’ve created an amazing second label called Pessimist. (You might call it “baby Daou;” it’s really their entry-level wine.) The wine is made with all Paso Robles fruit, and that area is extremely hot, so you’re getting bold flavors. This wine is floral in its aromatics, with flavors of vanilla from the oak treatment. The grapes include syrah, zinfandel and grenache. Treat yourself for Valentine’s Day and enjoy this now. $29.99. —Kevin Castellano


The Portico Quartet is an English modern instrumental group, which has been around for about a decade. They made a splash with their debut album, which was nominated for a Mercury Prize in 2008. On their fourth studio album, Art in the Age of Automation, the band blends together jazz, electronic and world influences. The hang, a modern percussion instrument, is frequently employed for a drone-like rhythmic effect. In addition, the quartet’s use of electronic samples and dreamy saxophone melody lines produces an ambient atmosphere throughout the record. Like many great jazz records, it pushes back on what we consider to be the standard sound. This album is recommended for fans of Explosions in the Sky, Brian Eno and Miles Davis. —Sean Schultz