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Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine Soaked Journey From Grape to Glass [Deckle Edge] [Paperback]

Natalie MacLean
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 28 2007
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.

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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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

A GLOBE & MAIL BEST BOOK OF 2006

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...

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply intoxicating! Aug. 9 2006
Format:Hardcover
There are countless wine books, some historic, some novels, some technical and some instructional. Yet, in Red, White & Drunk All Over, Natalie MacLean shares her discovery and experiences of the different facets of wine with an enlightening twist. Each chapter is intoxicating, written with MacLean's wit and humble perspective that makes her indeed 'The World's Best Drink Writer.' This book gives you fascinating first-hand experiences by Natalie and stories about the personalities in the wine world that you can share with friends at your next dinner party. Enjoying wine is lighter and more refreshing after devouring this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumph for the vintage Sept. 18 2006
Format:Hardcover
Natalie MacLean's elegant prose allows us to lose ourselves in a world that any aspiring sommelier or the most casual of wine drinkers can appreciate. Her book is an inspired passion through rich and engaging language and emotion that is at one stage, humourous, and another, comforting.

It is a triumph and a must for those of us whose evenings may be seduced by a fine wine.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Review of Red, white and Drunk all overyyyy Jan. 28 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Found information of interest, but a little dull. Only finished it because it was requirement for book club. Bathe highest rating there was 6 out of -0.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gateway drug Jan. 23 2014
By Peg TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read both her books, signed up for newsletters, bought too much wine, added apps to the phone and bought a wine fridge. A 55 bottle wine fridge. I may 'need' a second if I don't seek help. I drove to seven LCBOs to get all Beaujolais Nouveau releases. Before reading this enabler's books, the last bottle of wine I bought for home was 1977.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a most interesting and informative read! Sept. 20 2013
By Satch
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is well written, interesting, humorous as well as very informative book. I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about wines. I have given the book to friends who were unaware of the book and they are finding it as I have described it.
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Format:Paperback
Natalie MacLean's Red, White, and Drunk All Over is a humous, descriptive, highly educational, nonfictional work of art. This book is extremely well-rounded as MacLean touches many, many spheres within the world of wine. From food and wine pairing, to ancient French vineyards, and from different wine-making processes to working as a sommelier in a prestigious restaurant, MacLean truly covers all the bases in her novel. She even incorporates little snippets of geographically-relevant war history, tells funny jokes, and translates wine slang and French.

MacLean travels to Burgundy, France, and writes of her encounters with prestigious vineyards and their owners. It was an eye-opening experience to read of her travels, and she describes each vineyard's wine-making process so clearly, that one really gains an understanding of the aging and bottling processes. Throughout her book, MacLean covers red, white and rosé wines, champagne, and other sparking wines. Thus her reach is expansive and great for comparison among wines.

She discusses the influence of powerful wine critics, yet is careful to not glorify their ratings. This was much appreciated as a beginner wine reader like myself, because it allowed me to form my own opinion about numerical ratings. This was common within in chapters - she rarely (if at all) formed a strong opinion on anything controversial. Again, this neutral stand point was appreciated as an new, easily-influenced wine book reader.

MacLean also explains in simple, direct english the complicated concepts of biodynamics, vintage charts, aging processes, and (for me) the dreaded Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée system.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drunk all over...a great read Jan. 31 2007
Format:Hardcover
Wine a dry subject? Often, yes. But not this book. No wine snobs prattling on here. It's a thoroughly entertaining read and a great way to learn more about wine and regions without feeling like you're plowing through a textbook. I really liked the way it's written as a series of personal experiences, rich with characters, anecdotes and geography. Natalie's writing style pulls it all together into a humourous informing blend that makes it hard to put down.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously Sippable!
Natalie makes reading about wine not only enjoyable but sippable through chapters that are whole and complete unto themselves. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2012 by Eric Lutz
5.0 out of 5 stars Red, White, and Drunk All Over
Excellent. Nothing like most other wine books which are incredibly dull and boring. I have only been getting into wines in the last few years, so I needed help. Read more
Published on Feb. 20 2009 by Verlaine M. Leonard
4.0 out of 5 stars As an enjoyable as a fine cabernet
Just enough information to add texture, and the added personal notes give a bountiful body.
Published on July 9 2007 by Sheila J. P. Klimchuk
5.0 out of 5 stars Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine Soaked Journey
Natalie MacLean has really created something here. Her book addresses many questions and issues I was too timid to ask of an "expert". Read more
Published on April 7 2007 by Judith Macdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars The Adventures of a Wine Anti-Snob!
I imagine that it must be more than a little difficult to be the person who writes those little blurbs describing wines on the backs of the labels and in the weekend papers. Read more
Published on Sept. 12 2006 by S. Antonio Arch
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, Informative and (soon to be) 'Read' All Over
Simply put, I love the book. In fact I found it hard to put down. I confess I love wine, so was already interested in the subject matter. Read more
Published on Aug. 24 2006 by Elspeth Murray
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