In addition to loads of books focusing on murder and food, mystery authors have turned to wine as a gimmick. Rita Mae Brown, for example, focused on Virginia wines in a recent book entitled Sour Puss. (Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and there are wines in Virginia -- in fact a long history of wines in Virginia.) Alas, her book read a bit like an under aged perhaps then oxidized red. Not her best effort, though I generally love her animal characters. And, her career from her important role in feminism to her authorship of lesbian classic Rubyfruit Junglethrough to today's cozy murder mysteries illustrates some of the many things you can do with a Ph.D. in Political Science.
Anyway, murder and wine lists. Yes, there are series that focus on this. Michele Scott's "wine lover's mysteries" include Murder Uncorked and Murder by the Glass, both of which include recipes with wine pairings. I read the latter which, alas, is filled with clichés and dialogue which tries to be chatty and ends up being poorly written. These days, it seems as though every series needs a smattering of gay characters -- and here they begin as potentially disturbing stereotypes and end up being a girl's best friend. Perhaps the series needs romance? All too often this romance deteriorates into soap opera; this book is particularly damaged by this tendency and the author's mistaken belief in cliff hangers as effective plot devices. Not to mention that the women are at each other's throats. The mystery itself is ok, with a very sharp turn toward the end which is not (even on reflection) tied into the earlier parts of the book very well. On food related matters -- the food/wine pairings are introduced in an annoyingly cloying (or is it unctuous?) manner -- and for "wine lovers" there is much to little on the wines themselves. Indeed only the setting, a few mentions of Napa/Sonoma rivalries, and suggestions of wines with recipes hint at the wine theme.
Conclusion: If you can get these novels for 25 cents at a library sale, read them. Or borrow one from a friend. But . . . otherwise, have a glass of wine instead. Or read Michele's entries at the blog called The Cozy Chicks where various female mystery authors chat away. Despite my cranky response to her book, I like Scott's entries there. . . .