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Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass Hardcover – September 19, 2006
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From 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.)
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“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
“A galloping read, which educates, entertains, and amuses…[Natalie] is the George Plimpton of wine writers….” ―Ann Noble, professor of viticulture, University of California, Davis.
“There's everything here: old stories and new, an inquiring mind and bags of enthusiasm.” ―Hugh Johnson, author of The World Atlas of Wine
“Teetotalers, beware! This is…bound to make a wine lover out of everyone who picks it up.” ―Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, James Beard Award–winning authors of Becoming a Chef
“Abandon your inhibitions as [Natalie MacLean] takes you through the wonderful world of wine.” ―Louisa Thomas Hargrave, director, Stony Brook University Center for Wine, Food and Culture
“[I]mpossible to resist. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.” ―Michael Ruhlman, author of The Reach of a Chef and coauthor of The French Laundry Cookbook
“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, coauthor of The Union Square Cafe Cookbook and author of Setting the Table
“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
“Red, White and Drunk All Over is an engaging and very accessible guide to the world of wine. Natalie MacLean takes on the dual role of drinking companion and advisor as we travel with her to individual vineyards and wineries in France and California. Along the way we meet, and then quickly develop personal feelings for, the growers, the wine-makers, the vines themselves, and the wines they produce.” ―Naomi Duguid, co-author of Mangoes & Curry Leaves, Home Baking, and Hot Sour Salty Sweet
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Being a long term wine industry professional, I've encountered a wide range of wine personalities. What I like about MacLean is that her book is very down to earth. She knows about wine, but she isn't a snob. In fact, the chapter when she visits Domaine de la Romanee-Conti is a key example. She is trying to act cool and collected in front of deVillaine, but inside she's giddy as a kitten with cream. This serves to illustrate the many stories she shares with the reader. Fun stories with a nice touch of personal insight, often humorous.
She does remind me a bit of Jancis Robinson, what with the musings about wine in a very well written and digestible form. But her stories remind me a bit of the fun of Peter Mayle's stories and misadventures. Not many misadventures, but in that almost self deprecating style I enjoy.
She is humble, humorous, and knowledgeable. This is a great set of stories for any budding wine aficionado or even those with quite a history with wine, looking for something down to earth and fun. The exact opposite of Rajat Parr's book.