Red, White, and Drunk All Over

A Wine Soaked Journey From Grape to Glass

Publisher: Anchor Canada
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 Romanée-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 out in 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.


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...
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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...

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Praise for Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass

Red, White, and Drunk All Over is immensely enjoyable. MacLean has managed to realistically show an industry that is lively, colourful, and filled with people who are defined by their passion for wine. Here is a world of wine that is the antithesis of the dull, dry and dusty one we’ve come to expect.” —Calgary Herald
“As fond of vintage culinary writers (such as M.F.K. Fisher) as she is of the sound of corks popping, MacLean is a companionable and literate guide. She keeps her sipping adventures and travels lively and upbeat in this tour of the international wine world.”–Elle Canada

“Wonderfully infectious. Her convert’s enthusiasm sheds light on obscure corners of viticulture and answers questions any fledgling wine connoisseur might be eager to pose. What’s more, her keen interest in everything from grape-ripening philosophies to the cork-versus-screwcap debate deepens our understanding of the myriad decisions that lie behind every bottle (or, ahem, box). . . . MacLean speaks of loving wine hedonistically, as well as intellectually. Ably reflecting the two faces of her love, Red, White, and Drunk All Over artfully conveys the esthetic pleasures of wine and thoughtfully examines the nuances of its production.” —Vancouver Sun
“Ms. MacLean is the disarming Everywoman. . . . At times her enthusiasm gushes like Champagne opened improperly. But ultimately, it’s a winning formula, aimed at women who are intimidated by wine, and at men who feel that way, too, but won’t admit it.” — The New York Times
Red, White, and Drunk All Over is a great rainy-night read–by the fire, with a glass of something deep, dark, and slightly sinful at your elbow.” —Georgia Straight

“[This is] not your grandfather's wine book. . . . We may have a new genre here: The wine book as bodice-ripper. . . . Throughout, [MacLean] remains engaging, colorful and informative.”
Miami Herald

“A refreshingly accessible and good-humored entrée into the world of fine wine.” –Kirkus Reviews

“MacLean delivers clarity and taut, crisp prose. . . . MacLean may well fashion beckoning, lasting wine prose the way Elizabeth David once did, or Jancis Robinson continues to. Revel. Imbibe. Hector. Seduce. Should MacLean do more of it in her next book, it will soar as a Canadian wine book never has. As for this first one . . . well, there is little that has been as cosmopolitan or as pleasantly complete.”
The Globe and Mail

“A refreshingly accessible and good-humored entrée into the world of fine wine.”
Kirkus Reviews

“MacLean's enthusiasm for wine is contagious. . . . Every encounter incorporates vivid descriptions of tastings and colorful personalities. . . . Solid research, a breezy style and commonsense advice prove invaluable for the novice, while her good humor will delight the connoisseur.”
Publishers Weekly

“A quirky ride. . . . With patience and lightness, MacLean explains terroir and tannins, acidity and fruit, oak and smoke as she tries to demystify wine. . . . The book is like dry champagne, a sparkling aperitif that whets the appetite for more vinous knowledge.”
Quill & Quire

“MacLean is informative and entertaining, and her literate, anecdotal style of writing brings to life her delightfully charming characters.”
Regina Leader-Post

“Natalie MacLean has put the oomph back into words about wine. . . . Natalie is extremely likeable, and her vulnerability attracts us both to the author and subject.. . . [The boook] overflows with humor, with revelation and with a sense that we have shared her more private world.”
Saltscapes magazine (Atlantic Canada)

“Move over, Robert Parker. Make way, Jancis Robinson. A fresh, new wine story-teller has just exploded over your terrain. . . . Red, White and Drunk All Over is a pure delight for the mind and senses. . . . Be a bright star this upcoming season, and wrap up her debut book as a nice gift for the hostess, or for your sweetie under the Christmas tree. Trust me, good times will follow.”
Grand magazine (Kitchener-Waterloo)

“There's everything here: old stories and new, an enquiring mind and bags of enthusiasm.”
–Hugh Johnson, author of The World Atlas of Wine, A Life Uncorked, and others

“Who better than Natalie MacLean to lead us through the world of wine? She takes us to the best vineyards and the deepest cellars, knows hot to spot the eccentric geniuses and charms them as she charms us, with self-deprecating, irreverent prose and steely objectivity. Above all, she reminds us that behind the oenology and the marketing hype, wine is a warm and sensual treasure, to be drunk — and written about — with love.”
–James Chatto, Toronto Life Magazine restaurant critic, author of The Greek for Love

“The ideal way to deepen one's appreciation of wine would be to taste and discuss with the people who make the stuff. Natalie MacLean does just that, and reports her adventures in a style as accessible as your favorite pop song. There are revelations galore, and the Randall Grahm conversation especially should be printed across the sky.”
—Kermit Lynch, author of Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France

“Natalie MacLean is a voluptuary. Her reactions are deeply physical. But Natalie also has brains. So when she takes you on a journey to meet the most interesting people in the world of wine, be prepared to learn everything there is to know about wine — while gleefully abandoning your inhibitions.”
—Louisa Thomas Hargrave, author of The Vineyard: a memoir

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 vinyards 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, HomeBaking; Hot Sour Salty Sweet

“Beginning in fabled Burgundy and ending with a dinner in New York with novelist and wine writer Jay McInerney, Natalie MacLean writes about wine with an almost concupiscent glee.  Hopscotching from wine region to winery to wine boutique, interviewing everyone in the world of wine from winemakers to purveyors to critics, Red, White and Drunk All Over is an eclectic compendium of loosely-woven pieces about everything concerning wine.  Never pedantic, but always erudite and eminently readable, MacLean's book is a terrific beginning for the inchoate wine connoisseur.  Here one will find advice and information on everything from cellaring to proper stemware, how to order wine in a restaurant, differentiations of grape varieties and regions, the myths of winespeak, and much more; in other words, a great jumping-off point for more serious exploration if one becomes so inclined.  After reading this book, the wine neophyte is likely to, so enthusiastic about her love for the grape is MacLean.”
—Rex Pickett, author of Sideways, made into the Oscar-nominated movie

“Teetotalers, beware!  Natalie MacLean's book 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 world's 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 true original. She combines her vast knowledge of wine with a keen eye for a good story and great wit. I raise my glass to her.”
—Bonnie Stern, award-winning and bestselling author of HeartSmart, Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Home Cooking

“Natalie has taken a brilliant approach to this book. It is highly entertaining, full of great stories that reveal the people, the places and the things that matter most about wine. You will learn just about everything you need to know without even realizing it. A must read for beginners and experts alike”
—John Szabo, Master Sommelier

“Robert Parker to Jay McInerny, Burgundy to Zinfandel, Natalie MacLean wears her heart on her sleeve as she journeys into the minds and mysteries of wine personalities around the world. While on the trail, she pauses to step into her own fantasies by taking a brief whirl at wine retailing by day and dispensing advice as a sommelier at night. Full of vinous insight, this is a great read for the wine savvy, the thirsty adventurer, the gossip hounds and those who want to understand the world of wine from a more human aspect.”
—Lucy Waverman, Globe and Mail food columnist and award-winning author of A Matter of Taste, and other books

 “Natalie MacLean imparts much knowledge and history of wine without ever preaching to us. Rather, we are drawn into a fascinating historical essay. Woven into the history we are also introduced to the debate driven world of wine today. The whole package is punctuated with insights that are placed easily within the grasp of people interested in wine at any level. All of this is accomplished without simplifying anything.  I think this is the strength of her work. So much research and thought goes into her presentation. Ms. Maclean equips her readers with enough information to come to their own conclusions on subjects that are at once so diverse and yet entwined within the realm of gastronomy. All of this is delivered in a tone that is inviting and that betrays the passion and love that she has for her subject.”
—Jamie Kennedy, chef and author of Jamie Kennedy’s Seasons

From the Hardcover edition.