By Ivy Knight, blogger for Fiesta Farms and contributor to the Globe & Mail

If You Only Buy One Book About Wine in Your Life

Make it “Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines” by Natalie MacLean. The best­selling of author of “Red, White and Drunk All Over” is pos­si­bly the world’s most engag­ing and down-to-earth wine writer.

In this book the Ottawa-based MacLean takes you on a world tour of Australia, Africa, Germany and more, meet­ing wine­mak­ers and tast­ing their wines. She takes us along for the ride and makes it so much fun that you don’t even real­ize you’re learn­ing more about Reisling than you ever had and you’re not bored or lost or rolling your eyes.

Each chap­ter con­cludes with “Field Notes From  A Wine Cheapskate”, this sec­tion will come in handy when you’re perus­ing the shelves at the LCBO or try­ing to plan a din­ner around a spe­cific bot­tle. It lists the top value pro­duc­ers, then describes a per­fect menu for their wine.

From Niagara she rec­om­mends Cave Spring Cellars, Fielding Estate, Rosewood Estates, Tawse and many more. What’s help­ful is that she intro­duces you to the wine­mak­ers so you feel you know them, that helps you remem­ber the win­ery name when you’re choos­ing your next bot­tle from the cellar.

This book speaks to most of us wine drinkers, we want the best wines pos­si­ble for the low­est price. Thankfully we can cut down on the amount of swill we unwit­tingly open in the pur­suit of a bar­gain if we fol­low some of MacLean’s tips. She sug­gests readers:

“take a chance on lesser-known grapes. Varieties like mal­bec just don’t have the ‘brand aware­ness’ and cachet of caber­net sauvi­gnon and mer­lot. Therefore, pro­duc­ers must com­pete more aggres­sively on price. In this book, you’ll dis­cover lots of grapes that you may not have heard of before.”

She also sug­gests you look at regions that entered the North American wine mar­ket a lit­tle later, new­com­ers want­ing to prove them­selves. With her tips you’ll be well armed to bat­tle the sea of bad cheap wine and unim­pres­sive expen­sive wine.

Take that Indigo gift cer­tifi­cate you got in your stock­ing and buy this book. You won’t regret it.

 

You can read more reviews of my new wine book Unquenchable here.