Sisters, Daisy Johnson & Canto de Luna, La Carodilla
by Kim Kent
A year ago
I live in an old apartment building. I don’t know how old exactly, and though the space I occupy within it is small, the house is thin enough to feel the unseen motion of others through the walls. Heels click back and forth above me, a garbage bin rattles behind the thud of a door, one neighbor turns on their faucet and it squeals through my own drain. Sometimes, what I can’t see is loud enough to wake me. Mostly though I’ve grown accustomed to the shudders of this old building: the tremors of a presence I can feel just out of sight from inside the small organ of my room. These sounds have become characters in a way, pushing upon the shape my life makes, or, at the very least, the musical accompaniments to whatever book I happen to be reading at the moment.
It was on one such dark, cacophonous evening that I read Daisy Johnson’s Sisters. Devoured it really, with little more than a pause to pour a second glass of wine. When I read, I’m often after a spine-tingling feeling that occurs when something slightly obscured takes shape “not with great certainty but with a numb buzz of realization.” It’s a hard feeling to find, especially when you’re looking for it, but Sisters is one such creeping kind of novel. To read it is a bit like trying to find your way through the trees toward a place you’ve been before but aren’t sure is really there. Like the sea, for example.
Finca la Carrodilla in the Valle de Guadalupe region of Mexico could not be further from the desolate coastal land we find ourselves inhabiting in Johnson’s novel, nonetheless it’s a winery that makes wine with a certain presence. Of this month’s wine, the Canto de Luna—a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo— winemaker Gustavo González says: it’s a wine that “came in friendly,” already possessed with its own unseen character. And while I’m not sure I would call this wine friendly, I would say it’s a soft and dark place to rest while reading this novel. Flush with dark berries, fruit, and a hint of oak, it’s a loyal tasting wine. Resilient, even, like a trusted dog that doesn’t leave our side even as we are “plummeting off the road and into a field, the grass thick and sharp.” By this I mean it’s a wine that will be here when you emerge—from wherever you’ve wandered—dazed, mouth stained red with juice.
Daisy Johnson is the youngest author ever to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Award, aka the only award I really pay attention to, for her debut novel Everything Under, which is mythical, lyrical, and gripping. In addition to Sisters and Everything Under, she is the author of the short-story collection Fen. She was born in 1990 and currently lives in Oxford by a river.
Finca La Carodilla is located in the Valle de Guadalupe region of Mexico. Canto de Luna means ‘Song of the Moon,’ an appropriate name for a completely biodynamic and organic certified vineyard. They also have cows, sheep, chickens, bees, a vegetable patch and a very cute dog and cat that feature prominently on their About page. This blend is equal parts of all three grapes, and sees nine months in neutral oak barrels before bottling.