PASADENA, Calif. — On the patio of the Langham Huntington hotel here, on a sunny afternoon tinged with smoke from the recent wildfires in the area, Deborah Harkness swirled a glass of Jules Taylor sauvignon blanc, sniffed and sipped, then pronounced the wine “zingy. Really zingy. 2017, if I had to guess.” Not an unusual appraisal from an oenophile who once wrote a blog called “Good Wine Under $20.” But then came a less expected disquisition on the quasi-scientific history of winemaking: “There’s all kinds of lore about alchemists fortifying wines and liquors, boiling them down, evaporating, ending up with something they called the spirit of wine.” Harkness’s wine blog may have won awards from Food & Wine and Saveur, but she is better known as a historian of science and medicine at the University of Southern California — and far better known as the author of a series of novels brimming with alchemy and magic, witches and vampires. All three of the books in her All Souls trilogy — “‘Twilight’ for the intellectually restless,” as NPR described one of the volumes — as well as her most recent novel, “Time’s Convert,” have landed at the top or second spot… Read full this story
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