Do Wine Scores Matter? Bloomberg Columnist Elin McCoy on Robert Parker

Introduction In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with author Elin McCoy, who is the wine columnist for both Bloomberg News and Decanter magazine. Elin shares her controversial perspective on one of the juiciest topics in the wine world: the power of wine scores. Do wine scores still have sway over the way we buy wine? How is this changing with millennials and social media? Are scores actually a valid way of appraising a wine? How is the use of scores in liquor stores sometimes misleading? Elin explores all this and more, including why Robert Parker made such an […]

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Smart Tests for Wine Acidity, Tannin & Balance with Sommelier Chris Scott

Introduction In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re chatting with Chris Scott, a U.K.-based sommelier who published the world’s first-ever wine podcast, the UK Wine Show. Chris and his wife, Jane also founded ThirtyFifty, a company which offers fun and no-nonsense wine tastings for private and corporate events. From his adventures as a triathlete to wine tastings in a hot tub, Chris shares his often-hilarious adventures as well as his brilliant tasting tips, including nifty ways to physically see how acidic or tannic wine is and insights into the U.K. wine industry. Enjoy!   Highlights Why did […]

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Orange Wines, Pairings for Meatless Burgers

Introduction This week I’m doing things a bit differently and changing things up with this episode. Today we’re talking orange wine, meatless burgers and keeping it cool in the summer and I’ve taken the best bits from my Facebook live video show and included them here for you. Is orange the new white? Which wines pair best with meatless burgers? How do you keep your wines cool in the summer heat? I’d love for you to share your questions or comments with me. You can do that right here in the comments below this post or email me at natalie@nataliemaclean.com. […]

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National Wine Day Prompts These Thoughts

Introduction May 25 is National Wine Day and in honour of that, I think it’s worth exploring how wine, as a beverage, has influenced our culture. Wine has been an integral part of human history from ancient civilizations right through to the modern day. It has become deeply associated with culture, power and prestige in a way that no other beverage has. Most of what I’m going to share with you today is based on a magazine piece about wine and civility that I wrote two months after 9/11. However, the search for civility in everyday life has more resonance […]

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Wine’s Finest Movie Moments: The Award for Best Cabernet in a Supporting Role Goes to …

Join me for a pre-Oscars warm-up on Facebook Live Video Sunday, February 18 here: www.nataliemaclean.com/live Click on “Get Reminder” to know when we go live. Here are the wines we’ll be tasting, along with movie snacks such as hot buttered popcorn and salted pretzels: Veuve Clicquot Non-Vintage Champagne Gérard Bertrand Cotes des Roses Rosé Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Trapiche Pure Black Malbec   Meanwhile, on Global Morning Live, we chat about how Hollywood’s most memorable characters, from James Bond to Hannibal Lector, have always had a little help from the wine bottle … and help yourself to those I nominate […]

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Vine Oscars: Celebrity Wines to Sip During the Show

By Natalie MacLean On CTV’s The Social, we we chat about winemaking movie stars … can you guess who made which wine? When I think of the Oscars, I think wine. Why? For many film industry luminaries, conspicuous consumption such as owning a yacht or even a restaurant is so 2013. These days, if you really want to show some class, you own a winery. There’s no better photo opp than one with you and your trophy wife or boy toy pruning the vines or pressing the grapes. That’s why movie actors, directors and producers are getting their hands dirty, […]

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Randall Grahm: A Californian Blend of Wine, Wit and Wisdom

What a terrific chat with Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Winery in California! Click on the arrow above to watch the video. Listen to Randall’s stories about hosting a funeral for an open casket of corks in NYC’s Grand Central Station, his experiments with adding rocks to wine and why he has a meteor named after him. Discover why his wines are superb, his new project on a very special piece of land and his push for ingredient labeling on wine. Next Sunday, July 30 at 6 pm EST, writer Mark Oldman joins us from New York to chat about […]

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What is Wine’s Role in Modern Madness? Finding Our Humanity Drop by Drop

​Editor’s Note: I wrote this magazine piece on wine and civility two months after 9/11. However, the search for civility in everyday life has more resonance than ever, with the riots in Ferguson, ISIS, Jian Ghomeshi, Gamergate, unfettered consumerism, and the mysogenous micro-aggressions that women face daily on social media. I welcome your thoughts here: never loose your voice. In Vino Civilitatis The trouble with moderation is that it’s hard to get excited about it. Until now. After September 11, moderation seems to be rarer than a California cult cabernet. Finding the moderate and the civilized in everyday life has […]

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Plonk Wine Videos Stumble Blindly into Brilliant Insight

In his book How to Love Wine, New York Times wine columnist Eric Asimov observes: “I’m sometimes dismayed that sommeliers confuse their professional training with what consumers need to know to enjoy wine. We don’t need to know whether you can identify wines blind. “Those are just parlor games for professionals. I think that professionals, like sommeliers, need to be able to communicate with the public in a language that they understand and that they find useful.” When I tasted wines blind with Eric at the paper’s headquarters several years ago, he lived those words. The blind tasting was to […]

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Men v Women on Wine: The Score v The Story?

• Men stay in their comfort zones; women are more adventurous. • Women shop for communal gatherings, men for themselves. • Men are geared toward impressing, women toward pleasing. • Women buy wine for the short term (sharing), men for the long term (hoarding). • Men buy on the basis of testimonials from experts, women on tips from friends and merchants. • Women order wine by the glass at restaurants; men order bottles. It started back in, well, the Garden of Eden. In the beginning, it was Eve, inquisitive and experimental, who first sampled a “forbidden” fruit. And once she […]

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