Monday, June 13, 2011

Wine Read: "Red, White, and Drunk All Over" by Natalie MacLean

Absolutely LOVED this book.  After 10 years in the wine industry and it took me this long to find one of the most entertaining wine books that I've ever read.  I breezed through the first 10 chapters on Natalie's (the author) discovery of loving wine, a trip to Burgundy and Champagne, a review of the famous wine critics Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson, as well as a beautiful look at hosting wine parties and starting a wine cellar.  Natalie's charm is sure to capture every wine drinker - from your new consumer to your long-time expert. 

Her writing about a visit to the world renown Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (in Burgundy, France) was breath-taking.  Natalie's words danced on the page to a point where you could smell the earth straight from a glass of wine you and I have never tasted.  The romance of her experience forced me to look up plane tickets to France! 

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti vineyards
(Photo from Google Images)

Natalie's thrilling explanation on how the Champagne houses were owned by the hands of WWI widows was enticing.  Can you imagine inheriting a Champagne house after your husband dies at war?  Not only did these widows exceed at maintaining Champagne production, it has also remained one of the most prestigious wine styles ever produced.  Through unique marketing techniques, Champagne remains relatively expensive.

The Champagne House - Veuve Clicquot
(Photo from

From a look at the wine retail market from the perspective of the Jug Shop in San Francisco (one of the first western importers for Australian wines) to Discovery Wines in New York City (that uses automated kiosks to help customers find wines they may like), Natalie reminds of us that the world of wine buying is unique!

 Discovery Wines Interior
The Jug Shop vs. Discovery Wines
(Photos from Google Images)

Natalie reminds us that even "wine experts" get star struck.  Her captivation of the 1945 to 1997 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild bottle collection was fascinating and yet silly, as I realized any wine connoisseur would probably stop and stare!

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild labels
Every year has a different label designed by a well-known artist of that time period
(Photo from

Whether you'd like a nice introduction to wine, or learn about one woman's journey from grape to wine to consumer, this book is a sure-fire hit.  It's an easy read minus all the wine snobbery too many of us have come to know too well.  As I said in the beginning, I loved this book.  Fun, charming, silly, and yet very factual, "Red, White, and Drunk All Over" will have you page turning quickly and keep you begging for more!

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