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 for thousands of reviews of wines less than $25 — “I’m a cheap wine date” — and Google+ video interviews with chefs, sommeliers and winemakers.
And her mobile app was just upgraded to include new graphics and features, including bar code scanners and notifications when a new vintage of a user’s favorite wine hits the market. Check it out at www.nataliemaclean.com.
First encounter: “In 1992, my husband and I were dining at a small Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, and we asked the waiter for a bottle of wine to go with our pasta. He suggested Brunello. I thought it was a side dish. Anyway, I could smell the wine as I brought it to my mouth. I didn’t know how to describe it, but I just knew there was something special in the way it smelled and tasted.”
Latest discovery: “Right now I am loving South African chenin blanc. It is so unusual. It’s got that lanolin, lemon, beeswax thing. Try the 2011 Mulderbosch chenin blanc ($14.95). It’s a great example with seductive aromas of Asian pear and something I can only describe as black apricot. Oak imparts baked bread and wraps this wine beautifully.”
Tuesday night pairing: “I’d try this wine with macaroni and cheese or anything with a smoky element. Even smoked salmon. Chenin blanc has heft, and it can take on robust flavors.”
You can read more reviews of my new wine book Unquenchable here.
Posted with permission from San Jose Mercury News.