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Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-soaked Journey from Grape to Glass (Anglais) Broché – 21 avril 2008


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Introduction
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 around the corner from our apartment in Toronto.

The first time we went there, the owner, a tall, burly man with fierce dark eyes, asked us if we’d like to try the brunello. We thought at first it was a regional dish, but it turned out to be a red wine from central Italy. We were relieved not to have to tackle the wine list: neither of us knew much more about wine than which fluffy animals on the label we liked best.

When the owner opened the bottle tableside, the pop of the cork seemed to pierce something inside me and relieve a little pressure. He poured the brunello, a rich robe of mahogany, into two tumblers with none of the pretentious sniffing and approval ceremony. “Chimó!” he said, and bustled off.

As I raised the glass to my lips, I stopped. The aroma of the wine rushed out to meet me, and all the smells that I had ever known fell away. I didn’t know how to describe it, but I knew how it made me feel.
I moistened my lips with the wine and drank it slowly, letting it coat my tongue and slide from one side of my mouth to the other. The brunello trickled down my throat and out along a thousand fault lines through my body, dissolving them.

My second glass tasted like a sigh at the end of a long day: a gathering in, and a letting go. I felt the fingers of alcoholic warmth relax the muscles at the back of my jaw and curl under my ears. The wine flushed warmth up into my cheeks, down through my shoulders, and across my thighs. My mind was as calm as a black ocean. The wine gently stirred the silt of memories on the bottom, helping me recall childhood moments of wordless abandon.

Andrew’s eyes had softened and we talked with the wonder of unexpected abundance about our lives together, our career goals, our hope for a family. The pasta seemed unnecessary next to this wonderful wine. To paraphrase Robert Frost, our conversation glided on its own melting, as we moved from delight to wisdom. By the time we were on our second bottle, I started to feel so flammable that I wondered if I were violating the building’s fire code.

When we finally got up to leave, we realized that the restaurant was empty. We said good-night to the owner and he slapped Andrew on the back as if he were choking on a bread stick. That was the first of many happy evenings there, and we drank that brunello for a year. A pilot light had been ignited inside me; over time it would grow into the flames of full-blown passion.

Today, I joke that I started drinking seriously when I met Andrew. (Andrew is good-natured about this because there’s still some upside to having a wine writer for a wife.) However, my earliest experiences with wine should have driven me into the frothy embrace of beer forever. Growing up in Nova Scotia in the 1970s and ’80s, I’d be given one undrinkable glass of wine to toast the New Year, and another at Easter – usually from the same box. During the rest of the year, my Scottish family knocked back beer and whisky.

My teen drinking began and ended at the same high school dance, behind the utility shed where all the illicit activities took place: I chugged half a bottle of syrupy sparkling wine. Not only did it taste wretched, but it also made me spend the next day in the vise grip of a searing, sugar-withdrawal headache. After this, there were family celebrations. At a cousin’s wedding, I drank their homemade wine: Tanya and Ronny’s True Love Forever Chablis. I hoped the marriage would age better than the wine.

In the years that have passed since we discovered that brunello, the taste of wine has helped me store many memories. I remember one particular bottle because of the weather. Andrew and I were snug inside a rented cabin as rain battered the roof, dripped down the chimney, and hissed on the fire. Thunder rolled overhead as the windows rattled. The wind whipped across the lake in angry gusts, as if hurling itself at our cabin. The smoky aromas of that Rhône Valley syrah wrapped around my head and filled my body. The storm outside made the calm pleasure of the wine deeper, more sensual. As long as my glass was full, I wanted it to rage for years. Even when I’m drinking alone, my mind will still clink with past toasts, glasses drained, fond farewells. Some wines will always taste like a lost argument or a long embrace. I think many of us have a secret cellar in our minds where we collect our empty bottles filled with memories.

As I developed a taste for wine, I wanted to find words to describe the way it lightened and lifted me. I had long admired the way Colette, Dorothy Parker, and M. F. K. Fisher wrote about food and drink. They fused mind and body with their narratives, and I reread my favorite passages until I was drunk on their prose.

While Andrew and I were still in the bloom of childless romance, we decided to take an evening course: wine appreciation. Drinking at night was something we could handle after a long day’s work, and perhaps I’d even learn how to describe those feelings. That course opened our eyes to the diversity of wine: all the wine-producing countries, the subregions, appellations, quality designations, and the thousands of wineries – some of which are centuries old. There are hundreds of grapes, blends, styles, and winemaking methods to learn about, not to mention the chemistry of aging wine, the art of matching it with food, and the history of its role in civilization. In fact, at first our eyes were wide open in fear – the range of the subject seemed so daunting. How would we ever master even a small part of it? --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Revue de presse

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... --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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