on January 1, 2012
This gem of a book combines travelogue and wine tasting, which has been done before. What gives it an ingenious twist is focusing on those regions of the world that for various market reasons produce quality wines at a bargain price. Each chapter explores a wine-producing area from one of eight different countries spread over four continents. The author, a well-known online wine critic, interviews local vintners after giving some background on each area. The accounts of these interviews, invariably conducted during wine tastings, are one of the most charming aspects of the book. Maclean has a novelist's ear for dialogue and eye for detail, which makes the tastings seem personable and revealing of more than just the quality of the wine. Subtly, her biography and that of the vintners are woven into the experience. Instead of being distracting, this tactic highlights the social element that has always made wine drinking such a basic human pleasure.
At the end of each chapter, there are a variety of lists - ranging from the practical, such as 'best values' from the region, to the somewhat free-association 'reading lists' that represent the author's attempts to capture the essence of a particular locale. Suggested food-wine pairings are also listed and often described in detail in the text. My only criticism, actually backhanded, is that the number of regions was so limited. A sequel seems natural and would be appreciated by non-pretentious wine lovers everywhere! I would particularly enjoy reading the result of a similar survey across the winegrowing regions of Canada.
on January 31, 2012
A very human story of winemakers and the wine they make.
I do not think I have enjoyed a book on wine more than "Unquenchable". It is like being on a world wine tour from your easy chair at home.
I loved the variety of wines, countries and winemakers that Natalie featured. The people she met, interviewed and dined with were wonderful and their passion for the art of winemaking came through in a very convincing and human way. I loved hearing about the food they ate and look forward to trying some of the recipes.
The number of food items and flora that Natalie and other wine experts use to describe a particular wine never ceases to amaze me.I know when I taste some of the wines she recommends, I will be happy if I can identify even a couple of them.
Finally, thanks for the humour!
What a refreshing and informative book.
on January 23, 2012
For someone who professes to be a drinker with a writing problem, Natalie MacLean has once again provided us with a compelling, entertaining and ultimately informative glimpse into the complex, wonderful world of wine.
Her gift for engaging delightful people, with whom she shares many stories, enjoys many great meals and of course drinks an abundance of good wine, all the while having the presence of mind to share it all with the reader, is extraordinary.
Even if you aren't a wine geek, you will enjoy a sense of people and place that is shared in a most engaging read.
on January 14, 2013
Anyone who has travelled has a favourite guide; one they remember forever and for all the right reasons. After (and probably before) reading Unquenchable, my favourite wine guide is Natalie MacLean. Her adventurous quest became a joyous, engaging page-turner—one that is now a close-at-hand, dog-eared reference manual/buying guide and tribute to her dazzling knowledge, impressive research, and sparkling style.