Synopses & Reviews
Award-winning writer Natalie MacLean sweeps readers behind the scenes of the international wine world, visiting its most evocative places and meeting its most charismatic personalities. Red, White, and Drunk All Over showcases the engaging wit, investigative curiosity, and sharp eye for obsessive passion that has made her free e-newsletter Nat Decants one of the most popular in North America.
Natalie tastes sensuous pinot noir in the ancient cellars of Burgundy while discovering the mysterious tenets of biodynamic viticulture from such colourful characters as the tiny, ferocious Lalou Bize-Leroy, part-owner of France's acclaimed Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. She pulls on sturdy boots to help with the grape harvest at California's Bonny Doon Vineyards-and gets to the root of the anti-establishment philosophy of owner Randall Grahm, notorious for his experimental wine techniques, love for unfashionable grapes, and fondness for naming his wines Cardinal Zin, Heart Has its Rieslings, and Big House Red (whose grapes are grown just down the road from one of California's state prisons).
Natalie takes a job as undercover sommelier at a five-star French restaurant, spends a day helping customers in a high-end New York wine shop, wades into a famous feud between Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson, two of the world's best-known critics and, back home, invites friends over for a casual wine tasting. Along the way she teaches us-painlessly and often hilariously-how to face a telephone directory-sized wine list without fear, what questions to ask to get exactly the wine you are looking, what those scores out of 100 really mean, and how properly to expectorate (it's best to start outin the shower )
This wine-soaked blend of Kitchen Confidential and Sideways is a fascinating tour from the grape to the glass that will drive readers to drink. And think. And laugh.
From the Hardcover edition.
Praise for Red, White, & Drunk All Over:
“[Natalie MacLeans] 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 isnt.” —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 MacLeans 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 MacLeans 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 worlds 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 ones 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, Im not sure Ive 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 shes learning it. Why, youd almost be under the impression that she wasnt actually teaching! And beyond being a terrific writer, shes 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
“I learned so much from Natalie MacLean's humorous, literate, lively adventures in search of great buys in wine. Fun to read, her book introduces you to many winemakers who could be in novels, to out-of- the-way places you'll want to add to your travel list, and, most of all, to an appreciation of vino as integral to the joy of living. I'm restocking my racks with her smart suggestions.”—Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun
"With fully extracted prose that lingers on the palate, Natalie MacLean has wisely headed off the beaten path to get at the essence of wine. As she probes the elusive intersection of quality and value, we are lucky sidekicks on her well-observed journey through the landscapes, people, stories, and-let's just say it-buzzes that make wine so wonderful.”—Benjamin Wallace, author of The Billionaire's Vinegar
“Natalie pulls us along happily into her wide world of wine-you are right there with her at the table or in an underground cellar. The conversations are lively and the wine flows. And when a winemaker pours a glass for her, you might look around wondering, 'Where's mine?' She made me itchy to get on a plane and hit the wine route myself.”—Kermit Lynch, award-winning wine merchant and author of Adventures on the W
“A rollicking travelogue of her journeys around the world in search of the best vino that won’t break the bank.—The Washington Post
“A light, informative adventure in wine appreciation that should have broad appeal. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal
“Natalie MacLean’s Unquenchable is one of this year’s most entertaining—and genuinely useful—wine books.”—Louisville Courier-Journal
“Passionate, witty, honest, and informative. This entertaining read is a must for wine lovers.”—VintageCellars.com
“Highly educational and witty, neophytes and professionals will drink this up.” —Wine Enthusiast Magazine
“The narrative is so captivating that Unquenchable becomes a page-turner after reading a few pages of the introduction.”—Winesworld.com
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.
Sommelier MacLean shares her passion and knowledge about wine through colorful stories and insider information about the evocative places and charismatic characters in the wine industry.
With her signature engaging style, Natalie MacLean takes you on a whirlwind journey through the world of wine, searching for great taste at a low cost. By turns confessional—with guilty admissions from a penny-pincher who loves simple pleasures—and spirited, Unquenchable!
is informed by MacLean’s decade-long career as an award-winning wine writer.
MacLean recounts her adventure with the most passionate personalities in some of the most gorgeous, off-beat places in the world—from the crazed vintner who explains his wine philosophy while speeding down the Autobahn to the Sicilian winemakers you don’t want to disappoint with your tasting notes. Yet there’s plenty to take away, from her inspired recommendations for food pairings to favorite value wines and wineries, plus many pointers that will enhance your own drinking pleasure.
About 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.