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Red, White, and Drunk ...
Natalie MacLean
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Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  507 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
Award-winning writer Natalie MacLean takes readers behind the scenes of the international wine world, exploring its history, visiting its most evocative places, and meeting some of its most charismatic personalities. She travels from the ancient vineyards of Burgundy and uncovers the secrets of the pinot noir, to the labyrinthine cellars of Champagne to examine the myths a ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Anchor Canada (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks for your reviews everyone! I learn from the good and from the less-than-enthusiastic. I've posted some background info and questions for book clubs if anyone is interested ... though I'm sure any gathering my book might prompt would involve more wine, less analysis:

book clubs and tasting groups

I also post my favorite wines, a monthly newsletter and a food and wine matching tool on my site:

food and wine matcher


PS The rating above is not mine but my mothe
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished, library
I did not finish this book, because I read the following text on page 22:

"I dissolve with pleasure into the wine, like a sugar cube with warm water poured over it. The only way to convey the intensity of flavor in my mouth woud be to make the words on this page burst into flames."

Now I don't know a lot about writing but this short pair of sentences somehow manage to mix melodrama, a bad cliche, and a really weird metaphor into an unpalatable lump of awkward description. Does this make other peo
Tara deCamp
This book is very informative and MacLean's love for wine shines through, but the prose was unbearable. The word choice, comparisons, and language had me cringing nearly the whole time. Some highlights:
"the hills roll like playful green dolphins"
describing a geographical boundary: "like the curve between a woman's shoulders and hips"
describing a wine: "light and ephemeral as Ariel but with Caliban's sexual energy"

It's just not my style; this kind of writing may appeal to others.
While I had some trouble with the section on the complicated red wines of France, I enjoyed learning about the wine world and the stories told by Natalie MacLean. Wine still seems a bit fussy and complicated to me, but she did shed light into many aspects of wine making and drinking. It's a competitive world, and a few powerful people can shape sales and ratings. No wonder people spend so much time reading about and studying wine.

I love stories about women who defy the times and succeed in the "
Dec 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wine geeks
Shelves: myspace
Takes the topic of wine one step further, delving into more focused conversations such as California terroir and private tasting at DRC.

Natalie MacLean has an easy, friendly style of writing, that takes the reader by the hand and carefully leads them through some of the more intricate discussions on wine.

My wife started to read this book, but thought it was too "wine geek" heavy. I (a professional wine steward) bounded through the book with no problems, and learned quite a lot about subjects I
Feb 07, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book because it's about wine, but I couldn't do it. I didn't even finish it. I didn't even get half way. 80 pages in and I couldn't take anymore. Do you know what it's like to read a book where every 5th sentence is a comparison? It's unbearable. There was a moment when she compared a process done by some vineyards that makes the wine taste uneven and how this was like liposuction and how your skin can never be as even as it had been if you'd never gotten fat. Really ...more
Teena in Toronto
I found some parts of this book to be interesting. I will admit that I got bogged down at times, especially in the beginning when she was visiting the various wineries.

I am not close to being an expert about wine and I found this book was over my head at times. I guess I need more of a "Wine for Dummies" style of book.

Considering MacLean is Canadian (born in Nova Scotia and now living in Ottawa), I would have liked her to spend some time talking about our wines since we have excellent regions in
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is an entertaining journey through the world of wine that's written in - surprise!- language we can all understand. I've read - or at least started reading - others that only experts would be able to get through. For a nowhere-near-expert they were beyond boring. This is one you can understand and enjoy. It may even give you the courage to experiment a bit.

She begins with a chapter called "The Good Earth" in which she explains how the grapes are grown in various regions. This is followed b
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
The first 3-4 chapters were a slog, but I really enjoyed the latter chapters, which read like essays on a variety of wine-related topics: retail wine sales, wineglass manufacturing, in-home wine tasting and dinner parties, high-end restaurant sommeliers, and the author's dinner and dishing with fellow wine enthusiast and literary celebrity Jay McInerney. The author's passion for her subject and educating the reader is evident and is probably the most enjoyable aspect of this book. As a result, I ...more
I would have like to see more of MacLean's personality shine through in the book - the glimpses that appeared seemed delightful. And shame on the editor for not pushing for a bibliography in the back. MacLean mentioned many other books throughout hers but there's no gathering of them together in a bibliography or works referenced. If I want those titles, I'll have to flip back through every page, which is unlikely.
Apr 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably a lame comment since this is the first wine book I've read, but this has got to be the ultimate beginners guide to wine. I love how Natalie MacLean takes you step by step through the processes of growing grapes, creating a blend, critiquing, selling, serving and, most importantly, drinking wine. The descriptors were enough to add about $80-ish extra bucks to the true price of the book (if you're like me and not ready to drop upwards of $100 on a bottle of Krug), and I dare anyone to get ...more
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I resisted the notion at first, I think this is the kind of book I would have written about my wine experiences if I had the gumption: unpretentious and talking about how I arrived at my wine education rather than flaunting my credentials. I like to think that books I fly through and look forward to getting back to have strong merit, and this one definitely kept my interest. I like her honesty and modesty when talking about wine experiences whether it be the pressure to select a wine for ...more
Suzanne Kittrell
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this is about how wonderful wine is and why we all like it and, oh yeah, how it is made in some of the exclusive vineyards in France and Napa/Sonoma. This woman has writes a wine column and describes what goes on in her head when she sips on the grape juice - I wish I had that much imagination of what I think I am smelling and tasting - she's never dull and never without an apt description. A good read if you want to know more about the business and the romance of wine and how it all can t ...more
Jan 31, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a first attempt at writing a book about wine, Natalie has succeeded in adding to the genre without being overly detailed or pendantic. The book is entertaining and informative. I enjoyed her first impressions on Champagne - look out for "toads eyes", and her chapter on glass was also interesting. I'll have to settle for puny glass because I concentrate on spending for wine not on the "glass" of the gods. Her comments on the iconic Robert Parker help put him into perspective and her dinner wit ...more
Jan 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the author's prose tends to the overly ornate, the stories are fun to read. perhaps he most interesting aspect of the book is the author's own story. a new mom working for a web company before the bubble burst, she took a left turn and turned her interest in wine into a career that gave her the opportunity to travel and taste enough to write this book...she is my hero. when she is not describing wine in euphoric tones, the stories of visiting the great wineries of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champ ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was a perfect mix so that I learned about wine without feeling that I was reading a textbook and it had plenty of anecdotes that I could relate to as a wine novice. Reading this book seven years after it was published, I do not feel that the content is now out of date as I was a bit nervous before starting that this would be a list of recommended wines. It isn't. There were a few wine descriptions that made me cringe but then I am a wine novice and I do suppose tha ...more
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nat MacLean has put together a collection of wine theme essays that acknowledge that wine is not a religion unto itself but simply an ever fascinating third leg of a stool along with food and companionship. As a wine professional, she has tasted thousands of wines, but has not lost sight of the fact that drinking wine, sometimes to a bit of excess, is most centrally a part of the total social experience. Wine beginners and experts alike should find plenty of enjoyment in her lively prose and wit ...more
Heather Jenkins
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to think at first and almost gave up, but I gave it more effort and ended up learning about wine.
I have really gotten into sampling wines and this book was interesting as it educates about wine through chapters on different aspects of wine such as origin (wineries in Europe as well as US), wine stores, sommeliers, wine in the home. I just thought it was very lightly educational, meaning that it was joyful learning.
If you are interested in learning more a
Jun 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We have the right soil for grapes: gravel and clay and limestone. So, why are there no vineyards in Ennis. There's no mention of wind in this book. However, I did learn about labels, and which area has the best of merlot, pinot, cabernet, reisling, and those were not a surprise. I especially liked the discussions about meeting vineyard owners and wine-creators. Unusual characters, well described. Being a sommelier would require far more memorization than having a career in human pathology! Whew!
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm sad that I didn't find this until 9 years after it was written; or maybe it found me at just the right time in my life? It was the perfect foray into the unnerving, mountainous topic of wine education. What I discovered is that becoming educated about wine isn't scary at all! The book is so well written, engaging, relevant and empowering! Natalie is an excellent storyteller and teacher, and I found myself not only experiencing her adventures alongside her, but sharing snippets with friends a ...more
This was OK--a collection of essays on different wine experiences she's had as a wine writer. Getting to visit cellars in Champagne and dining with Jay McInerney sure sounds great, but I felt like the wine info I was hoping for was second to this groovy horn-tooting. Also looks like she added a food pairing chapter for the paperback edition. It is not good reading, but not well-organized enough to be a good reference either. (Just make it a glossary already!)
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason it has taken me months to finish Red, White, and Drunk All Over. In fact this was my second attempt at the book as a previous attempt a few years ago ended when I became distracted by other books. The thing is, I really enjoyed the book and found the information very interesting. She presented the material in a way that isn't too intimidating. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys wine. Maybe this book is just something to savor, kind of like a good wine and meal.
Sarah Emily
MacLean is stronger in her research-based chapters than the ones that are more experience based. for instance, I devoured her essays on visiting specific wine regions and the exact process that goes into making champagne. but I was a little bored by the chapter on hosting a wine tasting party, or how pairing wines is like mixing good company. some of the chapters of this book are must-reads, but I think the downfall of the book is that MacLean is not as fascinating as her subject.
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book a lower rating just because I just couldn't connect to it. The author wrote beautifully and it was very informative, it just wasn't my type of book or what I expected it to be. I wanted to read it so because based on others reviews they said it was a good book for beginner wine lovers, but I wish I had known a little more basic things about wine before reading this. After I learn and taste a little more, I hope to come back to this book so I can really enjoy it.
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angela by: MaryZee
This advanced reading copy (just a white cover, no wine pour) came to me via a bookbox organized by MaryZee

A few pages of pictures would have made this book even better. I enjoyed reading it, and Nat has made wine drinking accessible. She gives some pointers in the book about starting your own collection, and what wines suit what foods, and what wines go well with most everything. A fun book.
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book a lot. I learned so much and even better, it whetted my appetite . I want to experience more! Both of Natalie's vibrant writing and of the wine soaked experiences she describes. It is nice to read a wine writer who isnt at all pretentious and realizes that wine is, first and foremost, a social experience . It was travelling and reading and wine all in one experience! I will be signing up for her newsletter!
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed the pockets of writing that weren't trying to be saccharine, poetic or excessively verbose. What I thought could have been improved upon was the organization of the chapters. Instead, it turned out to be a hodge-podge of information written with stylistic inconsistency. This to me was due entirely to poor editing. On the up, it's a solid introductory read for anyone interested in wine. It's technical in parts without being inaccessible.
I put this book down a long time ago and had to start all over again when I picked it back up. Suffice to say, it doesn't grab my attention right off, but long about chapter 3, I started to get the flow of her writing and really liked some of her later topics. A good travel read, as each chapter covers a different wine-related topic, and she manages to teach without condescending and be funny without annoying.
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is kind of what is wrong with star ratings, because it's a four star wine read, but put it in a Good Reads list, and I can't quite let myself put it on par with [Book: The Selfish Gene] or [Book: Native Son]. So three it is.

Now I know why wine glasses are different, fantasize about French champagne caves, and feel like I just learned a lot about wine without really trying. The best kind of education!
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I learned a surprising amount about wine from this book! I found it to be educational, in a light-hearted way, about industry nuances that I'd never really bothered to pay attention to before. I particularly enjoyed the chapters on European vineyards and the Bonny Doon helmsman. The author's experiences as sommelier and wine merchant made for fun reading as well. The only part I found hard to digest was the pairing suggestion at the end...for fast food, of all things. Yuk!
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“A good idea is to do advance research on the Internet, since an increasing number of restaurants now post their wine lists on their Web sites. Before leaving for the restaurant, take a few minutes to scan the list, maybe even look up reviews or scores online as well. Or if the wine list isn’t on the Web site, call the restaurant to ask them to fax or e-mail it to you, or at least to discuss it over the phone. This is especially helpful if you’ll be choosing the wine for a large dinner group and makes you look like a real hero when the sommelier arrives. Not only do you make a quick choice, but you can even toss out a few comments about the region or vintage.” 0 likes
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