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Winemaker Detective Mystery Series Inspires Top-100 Wine

New York, New York

A popular wine-country mystery series has inspired a real wine produced by the Château de Gaudouthe 2012 Le Sang de la Vigne Malbecthat just ranked on Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Cellar Selections this year, coming in at number eighty.

The Winemaker Detective series is a long-running made-for-TV mystery series by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen. It offers an immersion in French countryside and gourmet attitude with two amateur sleuths gumshoeing around French wine country. The stars are Benjamin Cooker, an expert wine critic and wine-making consultant, and his sidekick Virgile.

The series has twenty-two books to date in French, and is being published in English by mystery and thriller publisher Le French Book. It delves into the underworld of the global wine industry, where there's money, deceit, death, crime, inheritance, jealousy-all the ingredients needed to distill a fine detective series. That and a decent dose of Epicurean enjoyment of fine food and beverage. Each book is as much a homage to wine and winemakers as it is a mystery.

The authors Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen came up with the idea for the Winemaker Detective series while sharing a meal with a bottle of Château de Gaudou 1996, a red wine from Cahors with smooth tannins and a balanced nose.

When the book series, which in French is called Le Sang de la Vigne (or the Blood of the Vine), met with success in France and became a popular television series, it in turn inspired its own wine, the Château de Gaudou Le Sang de la Vigne Malbec.

Fabrice Durou, the actual winemaker at Château de Gaudou in Cahors, knows the authors of the series well, and in fact serves as a reference in wine matters for the series. He says that it seemed only natural that they develop a wine made by the fictional detective Benjamin Cooker. "Le Sang de la Vigne is a modern wine, with a fresh, fruity style that is both powerful and well-rounded, accessible and with personality."

Wine Enthusiast describes the 2012 Le Sang de la Vigne Malbec as "Hugely rich...fermented in egg-shaped cuves that have given an impressively rounded character to a wine still so young. The tannins are opulent, letting the black fruits speak powerfully. It still is a wine to age."

Publisher Anne Trager comments, "What a perfect wine to embody this series, which grows on you, like a fine wine, getting better with each sip."

Books in the series available in English
Treachery in Bordeaux takes readers behind the scenes of a grand cru wine estate that has fallen victim to either negligence or sabotage. World-renowned winemaker turned gentleman detective Benjamin Cooker sets out to find out what happened and why. Who would want to target this esteemed vintner?

Grand Cru Heist navigates from the Loire Valley to Bordeaux. In between a glass of Vouvray and a bottle of Saint-Émilion, the Winemaker Detective and his assistant Virgile turn PI to solve two murders and very peculiar heist. Who stole those bottles of grand cru classé?

In Nightmare in Burgundy, the Winemaker Detective leaves his native Bordeaux for a dream wine-tasting trip in Burgundy, where his stay turns into a troubling nightmare when he stumbles upon a mystery revolving around messages from another era. What dark secrets from the deep past are haunting the Clos de Vougeot?

In Deadly Tasting, a serial killer stalks Bordeaux. To understand the wine-related symbolism, the local police call on the famous wine critic Benjamin Cooker. The investigation leads them to the dark hours of France's history, as the mystery thickens among the once-peaceful vineyards of Pomerol.

The fifth in the seriesCognac Conspiraciesis scheduled for release in February 2015. In it, the Winemaker Detective finds his loyalties tested in Cognac.

Le French Book is planning a number of other titles in the series in 2015, taking readers to Margaux, Armagnac, Montmartre (Paris), Beaujolais and Alsace.

About Le French Book
Le French Book ( is a New York-based publisher specialized in great reads from France, with a growing catalog of top contemporary mysteries and thrillers with a French touch. An IPS publisher.

©2014 Le French Book, Inc. All rights reserved. Information is subject to change without notice.

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