×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass
     

Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass

4.6 14
by Natalie MacLean
 

See All Formats & Editions

In this bodice-ripping wine book that got widespread and excellent reviews in hardcover, multiple James Beard and IACP award-winning writer Natalie MacLean's journey through the international world of wine is the perfect companion for neophytes and wine aficionados alike.

Natalie travels to the ancient vineyards of Burgundy to uncover the secrets of the pinot

Overview

In this bodice-ripping wine book that got widespread and excellent reviews in hardcover, multiple James Beard and IACP award-winning writer Natalie MacLean's journey through the international world of wine is the perfect companion for neophytes and wine aficionados alike.

Natalie travels to the ancient vineyards of Burgundy to uncover the secrets of the pinot noir, the "heartbreak grape" from which some of the most coveted wines in the world are made. She visits the labyrinthine cellars of Champagne to examine the myths and the mystique of bubbly. She pulls on sturdy boots to help with the harvest at the vineyards of iconoclastic Californian winemaker Randall Grahm and goes undercover as sommelier for a night in a five-star restaurant with a wine list the thickness of a telephone directory. She looks at the influence of powerful critics, notably Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson, invites readers into her dining room for an informal wine tasting, and compares collecting notes at a bacchanalian dinner with novelist Jay McInerney.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[Natalie MacLean's] relationship with wine is sensual, very personal and she acknowledges, and occasionally embraces, an aspect of it virtually ignored by most wine books: its delightful effect on the nervous system. She has very cleverly wrapped a wine primer in such appealing anecdote that any reader, male or female, should find learning about wine completely painless.” —Jancis Robinson, author of The Oxford Companion to Wine

“There's something sensuous about Natalie MacLean's new book ... check that: There's a lot that's sensuous about her charming and disarming paean to the wine world. ‘Red, White and Drunk All Over' is a passion play of sorts (with wine as her religion), starring sundry luminaries of the wine world, not least among them the author...With enough wit and wisdom to fill a magnum-sized decanter, MacLean imparts knowledge without seeming ‘teacherly,' thanks in part to a conversational style that never seems ‘writerly.'” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“[A] wonderfully witty wine industry expose...Readers will appreciate MacLean's infectious curiosity and her demystification of a seemingly intimidating world. Like a well aged wine, her enthusiasm is irresistible.” —Italian Cooking and Living Magazine

“This breezy read, told through the lens of personal experience, is a perfect pick-up for the passionate novice who likes a good anecdote along with a lesson on wine ratings. In short, the wine might be dry, but the writing isn't.” —Wine News

“One volume that stood out for me is Natalie MacLean's "Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey From Grape to Glass"...Her writing style is most definitely playful, but MacLean harbors an ulterior motive in "Red, White, and Drunk All Over." As she rambles through vineyards and occasionally stumbles tableside in the dining room, she subtly informs the reader on dense subjects like biodynamic farming, food-and-wine pairing, the effects of 2, 4, 6-trichloroanisole on wine and why wineglasses come in so many shapes.” —Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Reading about wine can sometimes be as boring as reading about history, but one of the more entertaining wine books this year comes from Natalie MacLean. ‘Red, White and Drunk All Over' is really a collection of short stories.” —Buffalo News

“Along the way, plenty of wine facts and explanations are woven into the breezy anecdotes; it's a painless way of learning more about wine while being entertained. So often wine books are just a boring regurgitation of the facts written by some stuffy guy with a "been there, done that" attitude. ‘Red, White, and Drunk All Over' is written with considerable passion and verve; on the basis of its infectious enthusiasm alone, this is my choice for wine book of the year.” —Santa Barbara News Press

“[Red, White, and Drunk All Over] will please neophytes and connoisseurs alike...informative and funny. Unlike so many esoteric wine books, this one's a page-turner.” —South Florida Sun Sentinel

“Eminently readable.” —San Jose Mercury News

“The best wine book of the year.” —Uncorked

“Red, White and Drunk All Over, is a ‘stand out from the crowd' book about wine. Not just wine, but wine in all of its glory, wine in all of its mystery, wine that is good and wine that is well...not. ….From discovering the intricacies of making a palatable Zinfandel despite it's many idiosyncrasies to unearthing the well-kept secrets of past and present Champagne makers alike, Red, White and Drunk All Over explodes onto the scene with a myriad of wine world nuggets and the insider's scoop that both the seasoned enthusiast and those just tip-toeing into the world of wine will find captivating.” —About.com

“The book is a breezy, laugh-out-loud funny, peek behind the curtain of the wine trade.” —Charlotte Observer

“[MacLean] tackles the subject of wine with unbridled enthusiasm...reading about her adventures in the wine trade is like cozying up with a friend's diary.” —Seattle Times

“Red, White, and Drunk All Over will please the palates of wine lovers everywhere.” —Los Angeles Times

“[Natalie Maclean] manages to cram a ton of practical information into a lively, often droll narrative.” —Chicago Reader

“[L]ike a box of open chocolates, it sucked me in and before I knew it, I had finished the whole thing...Natalie MacLean's writing makes me want to pack a suitcase and order a flight ticket for anywhere she plans to go.” —eGullet.com

“[A] blend of Kitchen Confidential and Sideways…an informative and amusing tour from grape to glass and beyond.” —Continental Airlines Magazine

“MacLean's guide to wine is engaging, practical, and perfect for novices.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Bold, irreverent and playful ...a great read for people who want an adventuresome romp through the key regions of the wine world without ever leaving the comfort of their armchair. ..While some wine books can be a bit dull, this one offers a unique approach, a whirlwind of travel and a refreshing travel partner who 's point-blank honest...her enthusiasm is contagious - whether you're an experienced wine traveler or a rookie.” —Santa Rosa Democrat

“MacLean's memoir of her journey into and around wine is a grand start. She tells engaging, sensual tales about her first explorations. No lists, no quickie bits, but a long, satisfying read.” —St. Petersburg Times

“Neither an excoriating polemic nor a shameless exaltation of the famous and the fatuous, MacLean's book refreshes with its evenhanded treatment of the outsized personalities populating this industry.” —Newsweek

“A smart, passionate writer, a bodice-ripping wine book...not your grandfather's wine book...Throughout, she remains engaging, colorful and informative.” —Miami Herald

“Teetotalers, beware! Natalie MacLean's Red, White, and Drunk All Over is such an engaging and delightful read that it's bound to make a wine lover out of everyone who picks it up. We found the entertaining and instructive stories of how wine is made, evaluated, and enjoyed--featuring some of the wine world's biggest personalities--almost as delicious as drinking one of our favorite bottles with dinner. This book is an absolute gem.” —Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, James Beard Award-winning authors of Becoming a Chef, Culinary Artistry, and What to Drink with What You Eat

“Natalie MacLean is a voluptuary with brains. Abandon your inhibitions, as she takes you through the wonderful world of wine, teaching you everything you need to know along the way.” —Louisa Thomas Hargrave, director, Stony Brook University Center for Wine, Food and Culture, author, The Vineyard

“Natalie MacLean deepens one's appreciation of wine as if she were beside you. Her adventures in wine-tasting are as accessible as your favorite pop song.” —Kermit Lynch, wine merchant and author of Adventures on the Wine Route

“MacLean is an exuberant guide to common and uncommon realms of the wine world. I found her enthusiasm not only for her subject, but also for the people who commit their lives to it, impossible to resist and thoroughly enjoyed this book.” —Michael Ruhlman, author of The Reach of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef, and Charcuterie

“Natalie MacLean writes about wine with a sensuous obsession. Hopscotching the globe from wine regions to wineries to wine emporiums, interviewing everyone in the realm of wine from winemakers to purveyors to critics, Red, White and Drunk All Over is an eclectic compendium about almost everything relating to wine. Never pedantic, but always erudite and eminently readable--and often laugh-out-loud funny--MacLean's book is a terrific introduction for the inchoate wine connoisseur.” —Rex Pickett, author of Sideways

“There's everything here: old stories and new, an enquiring mind and bags of enthusiasm.” —Hugh Johnson, author of The World Atlas of Wine and The Oxford Companion to Wine

“Unlike so many wine guides, this one is an adventure story. Natalie MacLean takes us along as she navigates the sometimes treacherous wine landscape, from vineyard to wine store to restaurant to her own kitchen, putting it all in perspective and even putting a wine snob or two in their place. We finish the journey far more confident--and with a craving for great wine.” —Edward Deitch, Wine Critic, NBC and MSNBC.com

“A galloping read, which educates, entertains and amuses…[Natalie] is the George Plimpton of wine writers; she shares insights from her ‘day in the life of' a vineyard worker, a winemaker, a wine sales person and a sommelier. Exciting tidbits also include insider report of the feud between well known wine experts.” —Ann Noble, professor of viticulture, University of California, Davis and creator of the Wine Aroma Wheel

“Many have walked down the path of vinous storytelling before Natalie MacLean, but until Red, White, and Drunk All Over, I'm not sure I've ever seen someone so sensibly or surreptitiously provide a starch-free education in wine. In the guise of a heart- and body-warming memoir, we get to learn what she learns while she's learning it. Why, you'd almost be under the impression that she wasn't actually teaching! And beyond being a terrific writer, she's fun company.” —Danny Meyer, co-author of The Union Square Cafe Cookbook and Setting the Table

“At last, a wine writer who admits flat out she likes the alcohol part about as much as the 'nose' and all the other esoteric nuances...Refreshingly accessible and good-humored entrée into the world of fine wine.” —Kirkus

“Her passionate desire to learn about all aspects of wine increases its sensual pleasure, and her goal "to demystify an intimidating world" succeeds...For casual wine lovers, MacLean deciphers the perplexing dilemmas of appropriate wine aging without pedantry...Solid research, a breezy style and commonsense advice prove invaluable for the novice, while her good humor will delight the connoisseur.” —Publishers Weekly

wine merchant and author of Adventures on the Wine Kermit Lynch
Natalie MacLean deepens one's appreciation of wine as if she were beside you. Her adventures in wine-tasting are as accessible as your favorite pop song.
author of The World Atlas of Wine and The Oxford C Hugh Johnson
There's everything here: old stories and new, an enquiring mind and bags of enthusiasm.
co-author of The Union Square Cafe Cookbook and Se Danny Meyer
Many have walked down the path of vinous storytelling before Natalie MacLean, but until Red, White, and Drunk All Over, I'm not sure I've ever seen someone so sensibly or surreptitiously provide a starch-free education in wine. In the guise of a heart- and body-warming memoir, we get to learn what she learns while she's learning it. Why, you'd almost be under the impression that she wasn't actually teaching! And beyond being a terrific writer, she's fun company.
Publishers Weekly
MacLean's enthusiasm for wine is contagious. For the winner of the prestigious MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, each glass represents a personal history, "a secret cellar in our minds where we collect our empty bottles filled with memories." Her passionate desire to learn about all aspects of wine increases its sensual pleasure, and her goal "to demystify an intimidating world" succeeds. MacLean interviews everyone from grape growers in Burgundy to upstart zinfandel producers in Sonoma Valley. Every encounter incorporates vivid descriptions of tastings and colorful personalities. Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards in Santa Cruz, Calif., bucks the trend of his California competitors, insisting a "great wine is... not a confection of the laboratory, but a subtle expression of the soil from which it sprang." For casual wine lovers, MacLean deciphers the perplexing dilemmas of appropriate wine aging without pedantry. For the purist, however, "life is too short to drink good wine out of bad glasses." That observation leads to the explanation for 103 different shapes of glassware. Solid research, a breezy style and commonsense advice prove invaluable for the novice, while her good humor will delight the connoisseur. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
At last, a wine writer who admits flat out she likes the alcohol part about as much as the "nose" and all the other esoteric nuances. Award-winning journalist MacLean aims to welcome fellow enthusiasts, present and future, by sharing formative lessons and experiences in her own development. Often flirting with what amounts to iconoclasm in what is-often for marketing purposes-an over-ritualized, elitist milieu, the author suggests that expert tasters can lose a potentially broader audience with abstract imagery and flavor allusions. (One example: "Think of Naomi Campbell in latex . . .") Why not instead, she suggests, talk more about the total experience of imbibing a fine wine in sensuous, personal terms, which she does without hesitation, more than once mentioning her thighs. MacLean also discusses the market-shaping power of wine scribes like Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson, a British woman often at odds with Parker's opinions and particularly his point system for scoring wines. Robinson publicly tastes wines "blind" (labels masked); Parker has them sent to his home, MacLean notes, but doesn't push it and goes on to regularly reference Parker's endorsements of wines she also likes. On some controversial points, she takes a clear stand: The kind of glass you drink from does make a significant difference, for instance, and she always decants her reds before serving. She soldiers through her apprenticeship in some of the world's most heralded wine cellars, also doing duty as a retail clerk in a wine emporium of repute; the resulting knowledge is artfully imparted, if not particularly organized. Refreshingly accessible and good-humored entr‚e into the world of fine wine.
James Beard Award–winning authors of Becomin Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page
Teetotalers, beware! This is…bound to make a wine lover out of everyone who picks it up.
author of The Reach of a Chef and coauthor of The Michael Ruhlman
[I]mpossible to resist. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
coauthor of The Union Square Cafe Cookbook and aut Danny Meyer
Many have walked down the path of vinous storytelling before Natalie MacLean, but until Red, White, and Drunk All Over, I'm not sure I've ever seen someone so sensibly or surreptitiously provide a starch-free education in wine. In the guise of a heart- and body-warming memoir, we get to learn what she learns while she's learning it. Why, you'd almost be under the impression that she wasn't actually teaching! And beyond being a terrific writer, she's fun company.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582346496
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
10/16/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.49(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction
The Making of a Wine Lover


I remember the night I tasted my first good wine. My future husband, Andrew, and I had just graduated from university and were enjoying our “wealth” relative to our student days. We dined out a lot and our favorite place was a small Italian restaurant around the corner from our apartment in Toronto.

The first time we went there, the owner, a tall, burly man with fierce dark eyes, asked us if we’d like to try the brunello. We thought at first it was a regional dish, but it turned out to be a red wine from central Italy. We were relieved not to have to tackle the wine list: neither of us knew much more about wine than which fluffy animals on the label we liked best.

When the owner opened the bottle tableside, the pop of the cork seemed to pierce something inside me and relieve a little pressure. He poured the brunello, a rich robe of mahogany, into two tumblers with none of the pretentious sniffing and approval ceremony. “Chimó!” he said, and bustled off.

As I raised the glass to my lips, I stopped. The aroma of the wine rushed out to meet me, and all the smells that I had ever known fell away. I didn’t know how to describe it, but I knew how it made me feel.
I moistened my lips with the wine and drank it slowly, letting it coat my tongue and slide from one side of my mouth to the other. The brunello trickled down my throat and out along a thousand fault lines through my body, dissolving them.

My second glass tasted like a sigh at the end of a long day: a gathering in, and a letting go. I felt the fingers of alcoholic warmth relax the muscles atthe back of my jaw and curl under my ears. The wine flushed warmth up into my cheeks, down through my shoulders, and across my thighs. My mind was as calm as a black ocean. The wine gently stirred the silt of memories on the bottom, helping me recall childhood moments of wordless abandon.

Andrew’s eyes had softened and we talked with the wonder of unexpected abundance about our lives together, our career goals, our hope for a family. The pasta seemed unnecessary next to this wonderful wine. To paraphrase Robert Frost, our conversation glided on its own melting, as we moved from delight to wisdom. By the time we were on our second bottle, I started to feel so flammable that I wondered if I were violating the building’s fire code.

When we finally got up to leave, we realized that the restaurant was empty. We said good-night to the owner and he slapped Andrew on the back as if he were choking on a bread stick. That was the first of many happy evenings there, and we drank that brunello for a year. A pilot light had been ignited inside me; over time it would grow into the flames of full-blown passion.

Today, I joke that I started drinking seriously when I met Andrew. (Andrew is good-natured about this because there’s still some upside to having a wine writer for a wife.) However, my earliest experiences with wine should have driven me into the frothy embrace of beer forever. Growing up in Nova Scotia in the 1970s and ’80s, I’d be given one undrinkable glass of wine to toast the New Year, and another at Easter – usually from the same box. During the rest of the year, my Scottish family knocked back beer and whisky.

My teen drinking began and ended at the same high school dance, behind the utility shed where all the illicit activities took place: I chugged half a bottle of syrupy sparkling wine. Not only did it taste wretched, but it also made me spend the next day in the vise grip of a searing, sugar-withdrawal headache. After this, there were family celebrations. At a cousin’s wedding, I drank their homemade wine: Tanya and Ronny’s True Love Forever Chablis. I hoped the marriage would age better than the wine.

In the years that have passed since we discovered that brunello, the taste of wine has helped me store many memories. I remember one particular bottle because of the weather. Andrew and I were snug inside a rented cabin as rain battered the roof, dripped down the chimney, and hissed on the fire. Thunder rolled overhead as the windows rattled. The wind whipped across the lake in angry gusts, as if hurling itself at our cabin. The smoky aromas of that Rhône Valley syrah wrapped around my head and filled my body. The storm outside made the calm pleasure of the wine deeper, more sensual. As long as my glass was full, I wanted it to rage for years. Even when I’m drinking alone, my mind will still clink with past toasts, glasses drained, fond farewells. Some wines will always taste like a lost argument or a long embrace. I think many of us have a secret cellar in our minds where we collect our empty bottles filled with memories.

As I developed a taste for wine, I wanted to find words to describe the way it lightened and lifted me. I had long admired the way Colette, Dorothy Parker, and M. F. K. Fisher wrote about food and drink. They fused mind and body with their narratives, and I reread my favorite passages until I was drunk on their prose.

While Andrew and I were still in the bloom of childless romance, we decided to take an evening course: wine appreciation. Drinking at night was something we could handle after a long day’s work, and perhaps I’d even learn how to describe those feelings. That course opened our eyes to the diversity of wine: all the wine-producing countries, the subregions, appellations, quality designations, and the thousands of wineries – some of which are centuries old. There are hundreds of grapes, blends, styles, and winemaking methods to learn about, not to mention the chemistry of aging wine, the art of matching it with food, and the history of its role in civilization. In fact, at first our eyes were wide open in fear – the range of the subject seemed so daunting. How would we ever master even a small part of it?

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Natalie MacLean is an accredited sommelier and has won four James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award; five IACP Bert Greene Awards; four Association of Food Journalists Awards; and four North America Travel Journalists Association Awards; and she was named the World's Best Drink Writer. Her work has appeared in Best Food Writing, and she has written for Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. More than 65,000 wine lovers subscribe to her free E-Newsletter at www.Nataliemaclean.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
MartiniGirlChar More than 1 year ago
This book keeps me up at night reading it. I feel like I am at wine University as I learn what feels like "inside" info about wines and their history. Thank you for this wonderful book!
mgmarty More than 1 year ago
Natalie is very informative, while still being very fun. Her pairing of wine and food is spot on. I am looking forward to her next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thad-Westhusing More than 1 year ago
Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass is an enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring read, comprised of her personal stories meeting people and visiting places behind the vast world of wine. MacLean's book is organized around ten chapters that take you along with her as she visits Burgundy and Champagne for the first time, experiences the crush of harvest in California, expounds on the trials and tribulations of wine writing, hosts a wine tasting event at home with friends, works in a couple of wine stores, goes undercover as a sommelier, explores the world of Riedel glassware, and concludes with the celebration of a meal with a good friend. It is amazing the level of detail MacLean provides in the recounting of her experiences. I honestly felt as if I were standing next to her at times when she was describing the people she encountered and the places she visited. Even better, this book goes beyond the present, offering useful historical and cultural frames of reference that will help connect many of us to the wines we enjoy. As a result of reading this book, I came to understand the larger context surrounding wine's beginnings as well as its evolution through centuries of time to its current state. Best of all, I found this book transformative. MacLean not only shares insights into her experiences with wine, but more importantly its lasting affect and impact on her life. I was only seven pages into the introduction when I was struck by an intellectual and emotional honesty not found amongst other wine writers. MacLean imparts a fresh perspective on wine that many of us have been thirsty for, but until now were resigned to the fact that most wine writing was so dry it left us even thirstier than before. Through her lyrical prose, she helps explain why wine is elevated to such a level not found in other beverages or foods that grace our table at meal time. Having read Red, White, and Drunk All Over, I am so much better off, not just as wine enthusiast who happens to blog about this topic, but more importantly as a person who is striving to understand the larger context of my existence. I strongly recommend this book to every wine enthusiast, whether you are new to wine or have spent decades pursuing this wonderful beverage.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dalhousie More than 1 year ago
I want to give this book to everyone who's ever had to choose wine for dinner, at home or in a restaurant. Natalie MacLean is not a wine snob. She writes in a simple and humourous way that drew me in and made it easy for me to feel as though I was her companion, seeing, smelling,tasting and listening along with her. She speaks not just about how wine is made but takes you along as she visits the land that the grapes grow on and the people who care for the vines. I am definitely going to read this book again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Red, White and Drunk All Over' gives one information about the regions of the wine world, varying types of grapes and how they become wine using great storytelling. It's a very fine primer with which to begin one's wine education. And it's a very good read. I'm ready to get on to the tasting 'and drinking'.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, someone who put into words, so eloquently, the effect wine has on all my senses. After years of reading and writing about wine, taking classes, forming a wine club and simply enjoying my own palate evolution, there is a passionate wine writer who captures my ¿WOW¿ experiences. The awards and recognition are well deserved and this book will be recommended to everyone within earshot
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a terrific wine book for novices and experts alike. The writing is strong, peppered with laugh-out-loud stories. You learn a lot about wine yet never feel that you're being 'taught.' It's such an easy read to whip through, you regret when it's over. Fortunately, Natalie has a great web site where she offers a free e-newsletter and a nifty food-and-wine matching tool. (Just Google her name and you'll find it.) I can't wait for her next book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Natalie's book is a learning experience for everyone---From the wine lover to the winegrower.It takes you on a wine journey from the fields, to the aromatic barrel rooms. I have read it twice because there is so much good information to soak in.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've just finished reading RED, WHITE, AND DRUNK ALL OVER. It was outstanding. It was so reader friendly. Your writing becomes almost poetic at times, and it never loses connection with the everyday person out there, yet it has lots and lots to teach. Your reporting of your own frustrations with returning a bottle was so helpful. You know your audience. You've simply produced an amazing book. It is the most reader-friendly book on wine I've read. You have nudged LOVE BY THE GLASS and JUDGEMENT OF PARIS out of their previous first places with this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book will make you thirsty. It is highly recommended that you have a ready supply of wine on hand before you start reading. Natalie MacLean makes you feel as if you are right by her side on her fascinating journey through the world of wine and encounters with its engaging inhabitants. And since she¿s in the driver¿s seat, you should relax, uncork and enjoy the ride.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Since the time wine and beer was invented the problem of addiction has brought misery though it became an offering in a dozen religions to the ultimate symbol in one when one considers the common and famous lives degraded by drinking it is not a subject for a quick read for two bucks buska