Do Flights of #Wine on This Airline Give You a Vertigo Tasting?

My dream flight begins with the wine selection: “We’d like to direct your attention to the wine list in the seat pocket in front of you. You’ll note we have a fine selection of first-growth Bordeaux at the rear of the plane (using the double-arm, two-finger signal), 40-year vintage port is being decanted in the middle aisles and, for our first-class passengers, a vertical of Chateau d’Yquem 1945 through 1960, at the front of the plane. At any time during this flight, should you run out of wine, it is imperative that you help yourself before assisting other passengers. This […]

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Is This Taking Airline #Wine to a Whole New Plane?

Continued from Part 1 of Airline Wine … Turns out, of course, the same wines were served in all three tastings. Before the wine even gets on board, it must survive the labyrinthine logistics of thousands of flights and destinations. Ken Chase, who consults to Delta, admits to doing strange things with wine, such as heating, chilling and shaking it, to ensure that the wine can withstand the cooking on the tarmac in Mexico or being rick-shawed through bumpy streets in Bangkok. Will the wine still perform in your glass after it’s been rerouted through Iceland? Fortunately, most airlines have […]

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Flying First Class, Drinking Economy: Is This Cloud Nine #Wine?

Continued from Part 2 of Airline Wine … The now defunct Canadian Airlines’ wine program used to take take the opposite approach, serving wines that passengers couldn’t buy on the ground — wineries had agree not to sell the airline’s selections in Canada. (That’s probably not the primary reason the company went under, but you never know which is the last drop that makes your cup overflowth.) Many airlines use an outside tasting panel to make the final choices. The oenological literati advises British Airways: Hugh Johnson, Michael Broadbent and Jancis Robinson who says in her memoir that after gushing […]

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Airline #Wine is Taking Off

Natalie MacLean is an accredited sommelier, wine journalist and author of Red, White, and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass. I understand you travelled extensively to research your book. Yes, I spent three years sipping and spitting my way through various vineyards around Europe and around North America – Burgundy, Champagne and California, among others. How do you research your stories? You can only say so much about wine by just opening the bottle: it’s wet, it’s fruity, it tastes good or it doesn’t. The story of wine is the story about the place, where it’s […]

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How to Spit Wine Without Losing Your Dignity

Spitting out your wine—it’s an acceptable part of winery tasting room etiquette. In North America, we associate spitting with crudeness and great gobs of wet tobacco. Europeans, however, are completely uninhibited about spitting wine—as they are about nude bathing and May-December sexual liaisons. The French call it recracher, and they have no qualms about doing it in the vineyard, down drains, or even on the barrel room floor. (Here are my top reviews for wines not to spit.) But don’t think it’s a mark of European sophistication to spit on a floor that’s finished in bird’s eye maple or covered […]

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How to Get the Most from Your Winery Visit: 20 Tasting Room Tips

1. Plan your visits Visit wineries clustered together, such as the ones in Niagara-on-the-Lake area. Visit no more than three to five a day: two in the morning, one for lunch and one or two in the afternoon. That leaves you time to taste and talk. (I know, I crammed in more visits, but a drink writer in wine country is like those stunt drivers in car commercials—you’re not really supposed to do those tricks in real life.) Go to both small and large places to get a sense of the range of wines produced. 2. Designate a driver If […]

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Wine Critic Writes with Humor and Contagious Passion

By Jessica Yadegaran For someone who grew up in a whiskey-drinking Scottish family, Natalie MacLean has come a long way in wine. Today, the Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Award winner is Canada’s answer to Jancis Robinson. She is a critic who writes about wine with humor and contagious passion. She counts Kermit Lynch, Rex Pickett and Gary Vaynerchuk among her fans. Her best-selling books, “Red, White, and Drunk All Over” (Bloomsbury, 2007) and “Unquenchable” (Perigee, 2011), share tips on hunting the world’s best bargain wines. But these days, MacLean’s website, which she launched in 2000, is a go-to […]

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Insider’s Guide to Bordeaux: Tips on How to Find Great Wines

By Natalie MacLean Here are some tips to get the most out of Bordeaux wine — whether you’re visiting the region itself or just pouring over the liquor store shelves. Get a good grounding A few basics about Bordeaux can help you bluff your way through the next bow-tie tasting. The region, about three hours southwest of Paris, is bordered by three rivers: the Gironde, the Garonne and the Dordogne. It’s divided into five districts (or appellations): Pomerol, Saint-Emilion, Graves, Sauternes and Médoc. Within each of these are more specific districts, much like those hollow wooden Russian dolls, with each […]

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Gorgeous Wine Book Maps Wine Regions and Grapes

Want to learn about wine without falling asleep? Want to engage your visual senses while you taste wines from around the world? The Wine Lover’s Coloring Book is a great place to start. In the video above, author Louise Wilson and I chat about how she conceived the idea while taking the International Sommelier Guild courses. While the book may sound like it’s for children, don’t be deceived (or have preconceived notions). It’s part of next evolution of wine books that engage our senses. Really? Yes. Currently, a scratch and sniff wine book by a master sommelier is #11 on […]

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Learn About Wine and Wine Regions with this Book

Louise Wilson, author of the Wine Lover’s Colouring Book, and I chat about which wine regions she’s most passionate about now and we taste one of her favourite wines in the video above. How do you suggest wine lovers and wine students use this book to learn about wine? Why are you passionate about the wine region of Tasmania, and which wines in particular in that region? Tell me about the Errazuriz Max Reserva wines that we’re tasting today. You can also watch our first video chat about her wine book and find out where to buy the book online […]

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