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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?
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.
Posted February 1, 2013
Posted January 1, 2010
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.
Posted December 15, 2008
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 5, 2008
'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'.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted December 5, 2009
No text was provided for this review.