It’s never too early to talk wine! I enjoyed chatting with Steve and Sophie on Global TV’s BC Morning Show. Click on the arrow above above to play the video clip.
We chatted about tips on how to spot great wines in the liquor store in general, as well as about four terrific bargain wines, including Quails Gate Riesling, Okanagan Valley; Goats do Roam, South Africa; Sumac Ridge Tribute Sparkling Wine, Okanagan Valley; and Alamos Malbec, Argentina.
You can buy Unquenchable wherever books are sold as well as online from these book retailers.
Stay tuned next Thursday when we chat about pairing wine and pizza on Global TV’s Morning Show in Toronto that’s broadcast nationally.
Here are some sneak preview tips:
Wine experts often recommend zesty whites to cut through the fat and saltiness of the mozzarella that is frequently the main ingredient of this take-out classic.
Reds and rosés with good acidity can handle pizza too; and they stand up to the tangy tomatoes, olives, and pepperoni. The classic regional pairings for pizza with tomato sauce are Italian reds such as chianti, barbera, or barolo.
Pizzas come in many varieties and so do the complementary wines. The Margherita pizza, for example, was named in honor of Queen Margherita, the wife of King Umberto I, in 1889, when the couple visited Naples and wanted to taste the local pie.
A chef patriotically selected toppings with the colors in the Italian flag: white mozzarella, fresh red tomatoes, and green basil leaves. As there’s no tomato sauce on this pizza, you can choose a wine such as pinot noir that has softer acidity than the Italian reds.
“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is wine. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”
– Dave Barry
The First Sale is Based on the Wine Label; the Second on What’s in the Bottle – Global TV
Steve: Welcome back to the Morning News, Natalie MacLean is with us; Sophie is going to get a drink on.
Sophie: Yes, you know its 8:30 in the morning so why not? So Natalie MacLean acclaimed wine writer is out with her second book now, right here, called “Unquenchable”. What an unquenchable thirst?
Natalie: I am a thorough hedonistic researcher so I went all over the world. I made sure I covered every corner to find great bargain wines.
Steve: Yes. Now when you go looking for wines, do you go to the traditional places or is it the idea that you go to the non-traditional places to find the next big thing?
Natalie: I am trying to find places where you’re going to get the deals. So, instead of going to Bordeaux or Burgundy in France, I go down to the Southern part of France to Languedoc or even Provence for its dry Rosé. With Italy, I went to Sicily instead of Tuscany and Piedmont and that’s where you are going to find the real bargains.
Sophia: Okay, so what did you bring for us today?
Natalie: I have 4 different wines here. The first one is a label you might have heard of. It’s Goats do Roam from South Africa. This guy has got a great sense of humour. The winemaker here, Charles Back, plays off traditional French label names.
Natalie: So that’s Goat do Roam. He has the Goat Father which is an Italian blend. My favourite is a Cabernet blend that’s a play-off a French label and it has the sort of weary looking goat in front of a Chateau and it’s called Bored Doe and it is only 12 bucks.
Natalie: And it’s more than just a fun label…
Natalie: It’s a good quality wine. That is what I was looking for because I didn’t want to just get the cheapest wine.
Natalie: I wanted to get great wines for the price-point.
Sophie: $12 sounds very good.
Natalie: Yes, it’s certainly is.
Steve: Now, is that something that, in the world of so many different wines, so many different labels, and winemakers that you come up with something so people would stop and say “Gee I wonder what this is?” Do you see that a lot more?
Natalie: Exactly. Yes, as Charles Back says “The first sale is based on a fun label; the second sale is based on what’s in the bottle.”
Natalie: So you have to deliver.
Natalie: You can’t just have a cute critter label or something fun.
Natalie: The quality has to there. There’s so much competition, in the liquor store, these days for your dollar. It’s never been a better time to be a wine consumer.
Sophie: When you walk in, it’s overwhelming with all selection that’s there.
Natalie: It is. Most people go “Castle in the middle distance”, or “Fluffy squirrel,” … I’m not sure.
Sophie: Yes, I know.
Natalie: It is really based on the label.
Steve: I thought you were in the wine store not the zoo.
Natalie: Yes, exactly it feels like that.
Steve: And what about the one in the front?
Natalie: This is Quails’ Gate from B.C … a terrific Riesling. I mean the wines in B.C. are considered bargains. They’re not always dirt cheap. This one is $17.
Sophie: I just had lunch there the other day.
Natalie: Did you? Wonderful restaurant.
Sophie: Beautiful winery, yes.
Natalie: Absolutely, but I consider them bargains because of the quality in the bottle, the price-point works. I mean if you compare this to benchmark Rieslings from other regions, you’re still getting a deal.
Steve: . What is it you like in wine? What is it that makes that such a good wine for you? What do you look for?
Natalie: Well, this Riesling is a nice zippy mouthwatering white. It goes well with seafood and salads and it’s packed with flavour but it’s not heavy in alcohol. That’s what I liked, if you’re a true hedonist you want all the flavour, all the fun but not so much heavy on the alcohol and the oak and the tannin.
Sophie: Right on.
Sophie: I want to taste and enjoy.
Sophie: Okay, there’s another local you have there.
Natalie: Absolutely, this is from Sumac Ridge. It’s a Sparkling wine and its $30 but with Champagne you’re going to start at $50-$60. This is terrific, zippy, I love pairing it with fried chicken or even potato chips.
Sophie: Really, it’s nice?
Natalie: It’s a great shabby chic combination.
Sophie: Yes, okay so this is their 30th anniversary?
Natalie: Yes that’s Tribute.
Sophie: Tribute to them?
Natalie: Yes, exactly.
Steve: 30 bucks for 30th … there you go.
Sophie: And the Malbec there?
Natalie: Malbec is an Argentine wine … terrific value for 12-13 bucks. It’s Malbec. That’s another insider tip that’s in the book. Look for lesser known grapes. So for Cabernet and Chardonnay you’re going to pay up. They are brand named grapes no matter where they’re grown but if you go with something like a Malbec you’re going to pay much less.
Sophie: So you’re talking about $12 or $13 and then these are more expensive?
Sophie: There are local wines and they’re very good wines but are these on par with the cheaper ones?
Natalie: You mean quality wise?
Sophie: Yes, exactly.
Natalie: Yes, I would say so. You know if you like a delicious fleshy red wine, either of these is going to work with a nice party meat dish.
Sophie: Right yes. We’re talking apples and oranges because they are red and white but look at the price differences. It’s pretty incredible.
Natalie: It’s pretty dramatic but in the book I try to seek out the best from each region. A dry Rosé from Provence which is one of the chapters is only going to run you $14-$15.
Natalie: Zip over to Niagara or the Okanagan for Pinot Noir, the heartbreak grape which is difficult and expensive to grow. You’re going to start it $20-$25 but it’s still a deal compared to Burgundy, France where it’s $30.
Sophie: Thank you very much, Natalie.
Steve: Alright. Well the wine and cheese night with Natalie MacLean is happening on Monday, November 21, 2011 from 7-9 at the Fairmont Hotel Pacific Rim. Tickets are $90 which includes wine, cheese and a signed copy of her book as well. So you get to keep getting after you leave and you get lots more tips. Go to ticketweb.ca for more details and check that out and get all you information. You’ve done the work and you’re sharing it with them.
Natalie: I have and if readers are looking for the details on these wines, they can find it at nataliemaclean.com.
Sophie: Thank you so much Natalie.
Natalie: Thank you both.
Sophie: Take a break here on the Morning News, your top stories straight ahead stay with us.