Peter Mayle is named by Natalie MacLean in the same sentence as Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges as one of her influences. I approached Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Bottles with caution, but MacLean is actually excellent company.

Brought up in poverty, the last in a long line of alcoholics and a former competitive highland dancer, she rollicks around the world’s vineyards flirting with Wolf Blass, gaping at the slopes of the Mosel, chuckling with growers in Provence, reminding us every few pages of how much she likes to drink.

There are useful gobbets of history and handy advice for the uninitiated. She ends up perched on a stool in a New York hotel knocking back cocktails and quoting Irish poet Brendan Behan.

 

The August issue of Decanter Magazine also reviews Jay McInerney’s new book The Juice. I laughed when I read the last line …

“The impression is of an omnivorous intelligence and keen kit. I can almost hear him shaking cocktails for MacLean.”