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

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.
Includes a new chapter with answers to questions about the trickiest foods to pair with wine: chocolate, cheese, vegetarian dishes, take out, and some spicy cuisines that are...
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Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass

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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.
Includes a new chapter with answers to questions about the trickiest foods to pair with wine: chocolate, cheese, vegetarian dishes, take out, and some spicy cuisines that are not traditionally thought of as wine friendly.
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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596918498
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 12/16/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 387,266
  • File size: 612 KB

Meet the Author

Natalie MacLean has received several James Beard Awards and the IACP's Bert Greene Award. Recently named one of the Top Thirty Power Women by Elle magazine, she writes for Bon Appetit and Food and Wine magazines and publishes an e-newsletter, Nat Decants, that has some 22,000 subscribers in thirty-six countries.
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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.
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Table of Contents


Introduction: The Making of a Wine Lover     1
The Good Earth     10
Harvesting Dreams     43
The Merry Widows of Mousse     76
Purple Prose with a Bite     112
A Tale of Two Wine Stores     138
A Glass Act     175
Partners at the Table     196
Undercover Sommelier     222
Big City Bacchus     249
Wine Meets Its Toughest Matches     272
Afterword: A Finish That Begins Again     297
Acknowledgments     300
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Reading Group Guide

Here are some discussion tips for members of book clubs who would like to read Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey by Ottawa writer Natalie MacLean. Visit her web site for her suggestions on delicious, affordable wines in stores now at www.nataliemaclean.com. Natalie also offers a free e-newsletter with articles, tips and humour.

1. Chapter 1: The Good Earth
a) Describe the difference in taste between wines from the Old World, such as France, Italy, and Spain, and those from the New World, including California, Australia, and Canada? What do you think causes these differences? (Hint: Try a couple of pinot noirs from Burgundy and compare them to pinots from Oregon, New Zealand or Canada.). For wines in stores now visit http://www.nataliemaclean.com/vintages.asp.

b) What style of wine do you prefer? Do you like a particular region or grape? Why?

c) How do you think France, in particular, will have to change its approach to marketing in order to compete more successfully with new wine regions?

2. Chapter 2: Harvesting Dreams
a) Do you think wine is more influenced by the soil and climate or by the winemaker? Why? Is this changing with wines today?

b) Which wine regions have you visited that were memorable? Why? Which regions would you like to visit?

c) Have you ever dreamed of a career in wine, food, travel or other related fields? Tell us about it.

3. Chapter 3: The Merry Widows of Mousse
a) Describe the difference in taste between bubbly from Champagne, France, and sparkling wines from other regions.

b) How well do you think bubbly marries with variousdishes, such as oysters, sushi and sashimi, creamy cheeses, salads and vegetarian dishes, and even fried food and potato chips?

c) Why do you think women were so successful in running the great champagne houses in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

4. Chapter 4: Purple Prose with a Bite
a) What's your view of the role and importance of wine critics? Compare their influence in the world of wine to that of critics in other spheres, such as books, movies, and restaurants. Have you ever dreamed of being a critic in one of these spheres?

b) Does it make sense to score wine? Why or why not? Do you see scores as a useful tool when shopping for wine?

c) It's been suggested that women are better tasters than men? Do you think this is true? Why or why not?

5. Chapter 5: A Tale of Two Wine Stores
a) Describe the best and worst bottle of wine you've ever bought. The cheapest
and most expensive?

b) What are the wackiest wine labels you've seen? Do you think these are just gimmicky or do they help to make wine more accessible?

c) How could wine be marketed and sold differently?

d) Where is you favorite place to buy wine and why?

6. Chapter 6: A Glass Act
a) Describe the difference in taste between wine in a glass designed for it compared to those that aren't or that are too small?

b) Why do you think Riedel has been more successful than other glassware makers in marketing its line?

c) What are some of the strangest wine descriptions you've read or heard?

7. Chapter 7: Partners at the Table
a) Can you recall a time when a wine and food pairing seemed truly spectacular? A time when one ruined the other? Do you think it's really worthwhile trying to match wine and food?

b) Have you ever had any memorable dishes cooked with wine?

c) What are the best dinner parties or dinners you've had with friends or colleagues? Why do you remember them?

8. Chapter 8: Undercover Sommelier
a) What have been your best and worst experiences ordering wine in a restaurant?

b) What do you think makes for good wine service? Have you ever had a nasty house wine?

c) How much should you tip on wine? Does that change for expensive bottles?

9. Chapter 9: Big City Bacchus
a) What have been your most memorable bottles of wine? Why?

b) Why do you think we accord wine such special status over other drinks?

c) What special bottles do you have in your cellar and when do you plan to drink them?

10. Overall
a) What did you learn about wine from Natalie's book? In what ways has reading it made you feel more confident about wine? What were your favorite and least favorite
parts of the book?

b) How would you compare her book to others about wine or food in terms of approach, research, voice, style and other aspects?

c) How was wine treated when you were growing up? Were you allowed to taste it? Was it forbidden? How has that influenced your consumption of and interest in wine?

d) How would you compare your consumption of wine to cocktails? Spirits? Beer? Why are there differences?

If you or your group would like to share your thoughts about Natalie's book after your session, please visit http://www.nataliemaclean.com/book/readers_form.asp to submit them.

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 1, 2013

    What a fun read!

    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.

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  • Posted January 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A must read for any wine enthusiast

    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.

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  • Posted December 15, 2008

    Get this for anyone who buys wine

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2008

    Let's have a glass!!!

    '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'.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2007

    A wonderful read!

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2007

    Engages All My Senses

    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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2006

    Urgent Warning:

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2007

    Wine Journey

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2007

    Communicates to all wine lovers

    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.

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    Posted April 16, 2011

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    Posted December 5, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2010

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