The Book

For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a temporary safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.

Homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. And in the cheap hotel where Landsman has washed up, someone has just committed a murder–right under his nose. When he begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy, word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, and Landsman finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, evil, and salvation that are his heritage.

At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.

The Wine

The wine for this month’s selection is inspired by the novel’s use of an alternate reality. In Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Jew refugees settled in Sitka, Alaska rather than in Israel. Therefore, I have based this month’s wines on grape varieties that thrive in a region foreign to the grapes’ origin. You’ll find in this month’s selection a South African Chenin Blanc from Badenhorst Family Wines that is high in acid and tastes of crisp green apple, which, if you’re living in SoCal, will pair beautifully with this early spring weather we’re having or with a nice piece of grilled white fish.

Next featured is an Italian red blend inspired by Bordeaux-style wines known as the Super Tuscan from Fattoria Casa di Terra Bolgheri. Expect a bold-bodied wine with rich, earthy spice characters from this Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah blend that’ll pair perfectly with any juicy red meat or game…or if you’re living anywhere that is experiencing a real winter this year.

If you’re looking for a red wine that is lighter in body and tannin, you’ll like this month’s French pinot noir doppelganger from Germany’s Weingut Wittman known as a “Spatburgunder” or “dark burgundy.” Pair this selection with a German sausage or a nice schnitzel.

$ 2019 Secateurs Chenin Blanc A A Badenhorst Family Wines 
(South African Chenin Blanc)
$$ Fattoria Casa di Terra Bolgheri DOC Moreccio 

(Bordeaux-Style Super Tuscan) 
$$$ 2018 Weingut Wittmann Spatburgunder Rheinshessen 
(German Pinot Noir) 


Free to join and open to all!


About Reading Cru

What do we read?

Our club curator selects a range of literature, both fiction and nonfiction

What do we drink? 

Three suggested wines that pair with the book based on themes and flavors.

What & where do we meet? 

Join us virtually the last Sunday of each month at 5pm via Zoom or Google Meet.

March 28, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
5:00 pm — 6:00 pm