Dazzling Beaujolais Food Pairings and Wild Indigenous Yeast Flavours with Natasha Hughes



Why are Beaujolais wines so versatile when it comes to food pairing? How are younger producers bringing renewed optimism to Beaujolais? What is indigenous fermentation, and how does it contribute to the complexity of Beaujolais wines?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Master of Wine and author, Natasha Hughes.

You can find the wines we discussed here.



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  • What’s behind the increasing alcohol levels in Beaujolais wines?
  • Why are Beaujolais wines so versatile when it comes to food pairing?
  • How do carbonic maceration and other techniques often used in Beaujolais winemaking work?
    How did Beaujolais develop a reputation for “bubblegum and banana” aromas?
  • How are younger producers and innovative approaches driving the current vibrant and dynamic atmosphere in Beaujolais?
  • What is indigenous fermentation, and how does it contribute to the complexity of Beaujolais wines?
  • Why are stories the best way to share your love of wine?
  • How would Natasha pair wine and snails?
  • Who’s on the guest list for Natasha’s dream dinner party and why?
  • What’s Natasha’s top temperature-based wine tip?


Key Takeaways

  • Why are Beaujolais wines so versatile when it comes to food pairing? As Natasha observes, these are crunchy wines, you take them on a picnic, you open them with charcuterie and salads and don’t take them too seriously. You can chill them lightly in summer. Really easy to drink. If they’ve got a little bit more presence and character, you can pair them with a barbecue. They can take on a smoky, slightly caramelized character that you also get from barbecued meat and fish. You can pair them with the kind of fish that you pair with Pinot Noir like salmon and tuna. The heavier, richer styles of Beaujolais from some of the crus work really well with a big winter stew.
  • How are younger producers bringing renewed optimism to Beaujolais? Natasha says they’re revitalizing the region with new approaches and experimenting with indigenous yeasts. There is a renewed optimism with a focus on producing high-quality wines that can compete in the market.
  • What is indigenous fermentation, and how does it contribute to the complexity of Beaujolais wines? Yeast populations in the winery and on grape skins are allowed to take over the fermentation process, resulting in more complex wines. It requires winemakers to be scrupulously hygienic and do a lot of monitoring to ensure undesirables like Brettnomyces don’t take over.


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About Natasha Hughes

Natasha Hughes MW graduated as a Master of Wine in 2014, winning four out of the seven prizes awarded that year, including the Outstanding Achievement Award. Natasha began her wine trade career as deputy editor for Decanter’s website but left in 2001 to begin freelancing as a journalist, specialising in wine and food. She is currently a columnist for Vinosity, the website of the Academie du Vin Library, and has written for numerous publications, including Decanter, Club Oenologique, Square Meal, Imbibe and Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine. Her online work has been published by GuildSomm, Psyche, jancisrobinson.com, timatkin.com and wine-pages.com, among others. Natasha has contributed material for a number of books, and is currently working on her first solo effort, a book on Beaujolais, for the Wine Library series.

Natasha is a co-founder of GLOWw (Global Women of Wine), an initiative established to support and promote the work of women in all aspects of the wine trade. In addition, Natasha has judged at wine competitions around the world, and was a long-term panel chair at both the International Wine Challenge and at Imbibe’s Sommelier Wine Awards. She consults for restaurants, private clients, wine producers and generic bodies. She also hosts wine events, seminars and tutored tastings for both consumers and members of the wine trade, teaches tasting and theory to Master of Wine students and leads trips to wine regions for private clients. She is currently a member of the Institute of Masters of Wine’s Council, chairs the Institute’s Trips Committee, and is a long-term member of its Education Committee.

Prior to her career in wine, Natasha ran a catering company part-time while at university. She is an acknowledged expert on the on-trade and on the relationship between wine and food, and has written extensively about food and wine pairing. She was a section editor for Square Meal’s annual restaurant guide for many years, worked with Wine Magazine to develop the magazine’s Sommelier Challenge.




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Natasha Hughes (00:00:00) – Asian foods with spices can be really difficult to find, wines to pair. And quite often we fall back on white wines. White wines have lower alcohol, often have a bit of residual sugar that can help. They have an aromatic character that might work, and typically they’re not heavily oaked. Beaujolais can do some of this. You don’t want to put a Beaujolais with a really fierce vindaloo curry or a very hot Thai seafood salad, but if you’ve got the Thai red curry with duck and lychees or a Moroccan tagine or an Indian Rogan Josh Beaujolais can cope with, it’s got enough personality to stand up to the flavours without getting into a fight. Red wines often fight with spices. Beaujolais is adaptable, flexible enough.

Natalie MacLean (00:01:04) – Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? Do you love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations? Well, that’s the blend here on the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. I’m your host, Natalie MacLean, and each week I share with you unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the wine world, as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject.

Natalie MacLean (00:01:37) – I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle, please, and let’s get started. Welcome to episode 279. Why are Beaujolais wines so versatile when it comes to food pairing? How are younger producers bringing renewed optimism to the Beaujolais region? And what is indigenous fermentation and how does it contribute to the complexity of Beaujolais wines? In today’s episode, you’ll hear the stories and tips that answer those questions. In part two of our chat with Master of Wine Natasha Hughes. You don’t need to have listened to part one from last week first, but I hope you’ll go back to it if you missed it after you listen to this one. One of you is going to win a copy of the terrific new book, to which Natasha is a contributor. It’s called On Burgundy From Maddening to Marvelous in 59 tales. All you have to do is email me at Natalie at Natalie MacLean dot com and let me know you’d like to win a copy. I’ll choose one person randomly from those who contact me. In personal news, I appreciate the good wishes from podcast listeners about the Wine Industry Champion Award that I mentioned last week.

Natalie MacLean (00:02:55) – I believe it’s important to slow down and celebrate the wins in your life so that you are not relentlessly, hopelessly driven toward the next one. Guilty. At the same time, I think it’s just as important to me to talk about failures rather than have the Instagram perfection filter on my life. I’d estimate that my batting average is about 20 to 1 or worse. So for every 20 times I go up to bat, whether it’s entering my book in a writing competition, pitching a TV station on a segment idea, or trying to convince a newspaper editor to run an article, I get a no, not right for us. Wrong timing. Essentially, I get the crap kicked out of me. Or at least that’s how it feels. But that feeling not only keeps me humble, it keeps me humane. With a deeper empathy for others going through life’s dumpster fires. Speaking of life’s dumpster fires, have you read whine which on fire, rising from the ashes of divorce, defamation and drinking too much? If yes, well then, have you bought a copy for a friend? Please do that.

Natalie MacLean (00:03:59) – If you’d like to support this podcast that I do for you on a volunteer basis to ensure continues, you can order it for yourself or anyone else from any online book retailer, no matter where you live. It usually arrives in a day or two. And of course, the e-book is instant and the book itself is a fast read. Every little bit helps spread the message in this book of hope, justice, and resilience. You can send a copy directly to a friend or family member and make their day when a gift arrives in the mail, rather than another bill. I’ll put a link in the show notes to all retailers worldwide at Natalie MacLean dot com. Forward slash 279. If you’ve read the book or are reading it, I’d love to hear from you at Natalie at Natalie MacLean dot com. Okay, on with the show. The food pairing element is very important to sommeliers. I mean, I’m sure there’s a wide range of dishes, but what are some of your favorite food pairings for, say, the cruise?

Natasha Hughes (00:05:01) – So I think that, broadly speaking, Gamay can do what Pino does.

Natasha Hughes (00:05:08) – So pinos advantage as a. Food friendly wine is that it has tannin, but not too much of it. The alcohol levels don’t tend to be high. There tends to be good acidity. They’re not usually overly oaked. There’s always a distinctive fruit character, and Gamay can do all of that. So typically Gamay is not oaked. Or if it is oaked, it’s aged largely in old oak. There are some producers who are oking the games. I’m not always 100% convinced by these wines, but, you know, I think oak as a sport is fine with Gamay, but I don’t think it’s, you know, a really oaky Gamay is weird thing. Now that you get warmer vintages, alcohol levels have risen. The need to chapter lies in the region has disappeared.

Natalie MacLean (00:06:06) – To add sugar during fermentation. Yeah.

Natasha Hughes (00:06:10) – , wines that used to be typically 12, 12.5% alcohol. It’s now more usual in Beaujolais to fine wines between 13 and 14%.

Natalie MacLean (00:06:20) – Wow, that is hefty for Beaujolais traditionally.

Natasha Hughes (00:06:24) – Well, so 14%.

Natasha Hughes (00:06:27) – You tend to get that in the more concentrated crus, and as long as the balance is there, it’s fine. I have seen wines up to 15% whole and that just looks wrong to me. I like the grace of freshness but makes Gamay gamay. So in terms of food pairing. So I think the advantage is that depending on the style of Beaujolais you’ve got, you can do a whole range of things. So lighter styles of Beaujolais, you know, fresh, crunchy Beaujolais, Beaujolais nouveau.

Natalie MacLean (00:07:06) – What do you mean by crunchy? I like that term. But what do you mean by it?

Natasha Hughes (00:07:09) – So not too right that it’s got that freshness and brightness. Often the floral character. I like tannins that have a little bit of raspy ness to them. You don’t want that kind of gloominess of sort of.

Natalie MacLean (00:07:25) – Crunchy and gloopy. That’s great. Yeah, I get you.

Natasha Hughes (00:07:29) – So these crunchy wines, you take them on a picnic, you open them with, you know, charcuterie and salads and you know, you don’t want to take wines too seriously.

Natasha Hughes (00:07:39) – They’re brilliant, but you can chill them lightly in summer. Fantastic. Really easy to drink. If they’ve got a little bit more presence and character, bring them out with a barbecue. They can take on that kind of smoky, sort of slightly caramelized character that you get from barbecued meats, barbecued fishes. You can pair them with the kind of fish that you pair with Pino. So, you know, salmon, tuna bring out your Beaujolais. Fantastic works really well. And the heavier, richer styles of Beaujolais from some of the crews will work really well with, you know, a big winter stew, right?

Natalie MacLean (00:08:20) – Wow, that is versatile. Yeah.

Natasha Hughes (00:08:22) – They are really versatile wines.

Natalie MacLean (00:08:25) – Absolutely. I’ve heard it. I don’t know if not sure of this quote, but it’s the only white wine that’s red or the only red wine. That’s why it’s a good transition wine if you’re trying to get into red wines as well. Because as you said, it doesn’t have heavy oak and alcohol and all the rest of it.

Natalie MacLean (00:08:38) – Do you agree with that?

Natasha Hughes (00:08:40) – There’s actually one more sort of food pairing I’d like to throw your way. If you’re eating Asian foods with spices can be really difficult to find wines to pair with these foods. And quite often we fall back on white wines. But because white wines have lower alcohol, often have a bit of residual sugar that can help. They have an aromatic character that might work with Asian foods, and typically, with a few exceptions, they’re not heavily oaked. So I think Beaujolais can do some of this. You know, you don’t want to put a Beaujolais with, you know, a really fierce vindaloo curry or a very hot Thai seafood salad. But if you’ve got, you know, for instance, a Thai red curry with duck and lychees or a Moroccan tagine or something like that, or an Indian Rogan Josh Beaujolais can cope with, it’s got enough personality to stand up to the flavours without getting into a fight. Red wines often fight with spices because of the alcohol, because of the oak, because of those.

Natasha Hughes (00:09:55) – And then I think Beaujolais is adaptable, flexible enough.

Natalie MacLean (00:10:00) – It’s good. The dinner party guest you always seed in the middle of the table. Let’s talk about back to sort of nouveau. One thing that I’d love to just clarify is it’s synonymous with carbonic maceration. Whole bunch fermentation. Can you differentiate that from quote unquote regular fermentation without us going down too technical a rabbit hole.

Natasha Hughes (00:10:25) – So the whole carbonic maceration fermentation thing is kind of another one of these Beaujolais myths. So you go through your official wine education, you get told that in Beaujolais, gamay is verified through carbonic fermentation or maceration. And the whole idea of that is what they tell you is that you put the bunches of the grapes, you don’t distend them red wines. Usually you distend the berries and you put them in the fermentation tank. And the idea is crush them and you express the juice, and that’s how fermentation happens. Beaujolais is different. So the story that you get told is that these bunches with their stems are put in the tanks and they’re covered in a blanket of carbonic gas.

Natasha Hughes (00:11:18) – So CO2, which is inert gas more or less. And what happens is that the grapes ferment intracellular. So it’s not a true alcoholic fermentation in which yeasts act on the sugars in the juices to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. What happens is this enzymatic reaction that’s going on inside the grapes, and it transforms the sugars in the pulp into alcohol and softens the skins. And then at some miracle moment, I don’t know, hey presto, you get from these bunches of grapes to you’ve got wine. And that’s kind of the story that you get told. So the first thing is you go down to Beaujolais and you start asking questions about unification with the producers. Actually, the more questions that I ask every time I go down to Beaujolais, I love this. You know, I’ve talked about these kind of myths that you get told about Beaujolais, and you go to Beaujolais and you start asking questions, and there’s always this kind of pause and this bit of chin stroking, and then the wine will say,, I say compliqué.

Natasha Hughes (00:12:36) – It’s complicated. And it turns out that this carbonic maceration thing is complicated. So first of all, most producers do not do carbonic maceration. First of all, you’ve seen big wine, wine tanks big. You put loads and loads and loads of grapes in a tank. What’s going to happen to the bunches at the bottom?

Natalie MacLean (00:13:00) – Yeah, they’re going to get squished.

Natasha Hughes (00:13:02) – They’re going to get squished. The juice is going to come out. So this idea that everything is fermented interestingly, not because you’re always going to get a certain amount of liquid at the bottom. So you talk to most producers and they go see compliqué what we have here, what we work with and this is most of them is semi carbonic maceration. So they will put the bunches in the tank. They may or may not top it up with CO2 gas, or they might just let the juice that gets expressed by the grapes at the bottom ferment and release its own CO2 to provide this protective cap. There are some producers who do pure dry carbonic maceration, which means that they open up the bottom of the tank once, twice, several times a day, and draw off.

Natasha Hughes (00:13:59) – All the juice accumulates at the bottom of the tank, and they will put it in a separate tank to ferment on its own, so that the whole bunches in the other tank can get on with their intracellular maceration. The trouble is, regardless of which path you follow, sooner or later you’re going to have to press those whole bunches. And when you do, you release juices that still have sugars in them because intracellular fermentation isn’t going to carry you through to dryness. So they press off the grapes. And if they’ve done the drying carbonic maceration thing, which teeny tiny percentage of producers do that? It’s a really complicated technique to handle. Most of them work with this semi carbonic maceration. So gradually what they’ll do is they’ve got this juice at the bottom of the tank. They’ll spray it over the cap to help keep the cap moist. And then at a given time they will press off all the bunches and they will rack the wine off and let it continue to. Finish its fermentation in kind of a normal way.

Natalie MacLean (00:15:11) – Okay, so they’re transferring it from one tank to another when they rack.

Natasha Hughes (00:15:15) – So they’ll press it off, and then all the juice and some fine leaves will go to a tank or a big old barrel to finish the fermentation.

Natalie MacLean (00:15:26) – Okay. That’s clear.

Natasha Hughes (00:15:28) – The point at which they do that is going to depend on the style of wine they want to achieve. And let’s go back to, you know, our simple, juicy Beaujolais Nouveau. Most of that wasn’t carbonic maceration.

Natalie MacLean (00:15:47) – , okay.

Natasha Hughes (00:15:47) – A lot of that was thermo vilified.

Natalie MacLean (00:15:49) – Which I hesitate to ask, but what is that?

Natasha Hughes (00:15:53) – So it’s a technique at which you kind of superheat the grapes, and it’s a really complex, technical kind of thing. But basically it means that you can extract juice, alcohol, very soft tannins very, very quickly. And then you add your yeast. So we get told that Beaujolais traditionally smells of bubblegum and banana. Yeah. If you look at this, turns out that is not what carbonic maceration smells like. That is what’s a cultured yeast that was very frequently used in Beaujolais.

Natasha Hughes (00:16:33) – Smells like it’s.

Natalie MacLean (00:16:34) – Producing those aromas.

Natasha Hughes (00:16:36) – It’s producing those aromas. So most of the better producers in Beaujolais these days ferment using indigenous yeasts, regardless of whether they’re semi company, full carbonic or even some producers. DSM everything and vilify a label Guinean in the same way that you would vilify Pinot Noir in Burgundy. So there’s a whole range of techniques being used in the region to make the wines, and none of them smell of banana and bubblegum.

Natalie MacLean (00:17:09) – Those are not considered desirable. Surely people don’t want that.

Natasha Hughes (00:17:13) – So it’s not necessarily that it was considered desirable, it was just considered for a long time to be very typical of Beaujolais.

Natalie MacLean (00:17:22) – Okay, that fresh grapey bubblegum, that.

Natasha Hughes (00:17:26) – Kind of really to be really geeky about it, it’s esters. It’s this kind of almost so banana and bubblegum, but also, you know, the flavor of strawberry flavoring rather than real strawberry and cherry flavoring rather than real cherry. Those are the kinds of things that you typically found in the cheaper, mass produced Beaujolais.

Natalie MacLean (00:17:51) – That we’re using that particular yeast.

Natasha Hughes (00:17:53) – Yes, there was a lot of very clumsy vilification going on in the region and one of the really interesting things. So I talked about how 20 years or so ago, I went down and people had these bush vines and you know, how on earth could you make money being asked to sell your wine really cheaply when you had these bush vines? But also this was a region that was frankly, depressed. You know, it was clear that the Beaujolais Nouveau phenomenon was tanking. Producers didn’t really talk very much to each other, share things with each other, share their experiences, share their knowledge, very little experience of what was going on outside Beaujolais. And you go to the region now and it’s really vibrant and really dynamic and really optimistic. There are a lot of younger producers. So in the same way that in many regions in the New World, people who couldn’t afford the really established regions, they’ve kind of gone and found some region somewhere else that has really cheap land and really cheap vines and often some really old vine material.

Natasha Hughes (00:19:01) – And they’ve set up and they’ve reinvigorated or re dynamited the whole region with this approach. And this is what’s going on in Beaujolais. You’ve got a bunch of largely younger producers. There are some of the older generation as well. They’ve been singing this song for a very long time, and people are sitting up and paying attention now. But there’s a lot of younger producers who have come in. They’ve worked elsewhere in the world. They drink wines from elsewhere, they share their experiences, they share their knowledge, and there is a renewed optimism in the region that you can produce really high quality wines, and that there is a market out there for these wines, which is fantastic.

Natalie MacLean (00:19:46) – Absolutely. Especially with the move toward low and no alcohol, you’d think more and more consumers would be seeking out wines that tend to be lower in alcohol, yet give lots of flavor. So I can see that as a reason. The young people coming in, the sommeliers liking it on their restaurant list, the food versatility. You’ve also mentioned in your piece for the anthology on.

Natalie MacLean (00:20:07) – Australia is leading the way in natural winemaking. There’s a lot of amphorae, those old clay vessels being used for fermentation.

Natasha Hughes (00:20:14) – Not a lot, no.

Natalie MacLean (00:20:15) – Okay.

Natasha Hughes (00:20:16) – But whatever it is, the people feel free to experiment because there was no value placed on Beaujolais. You could kind of experiment because, you know, didn’t really matter. So there is a little bit of amphora, there’s a little bit of concrete, eg there’s a lot of old oak down there, there’s a lot of cement tanks, very little stainless steel tanks. But there’s a flexibility of approach. There’s a lot of as I said, I talked about the use of indigenous yeasts rather than cultured yeast. So instead of adding a yeast that, you know, will express a certain kind of flavor, you let the yeast that come in on the skins of the grapes and that are present in the winery. To. Once you’ve done your intracellular fermentation bit and you’ve pressed off your grapes, you let the indigenous yeasts get to work, because that means there is a suite of yeasts that basically manage the fermentation at different temperatures and different stages of the fermentation, different alcohol levels.

Natasha Hughes (00:21:33) – You get more complexity in the wines.

Natalie MacLean (00:21:36) – Oh well. So different yeasts in the same fermentation are taking over at different points.

Natasha Hughes (00:21:40) – So when we talk about indigenous fermentation, that’s what we’re talking about. This is why it’s become such a big thing, why people talk about using indigenous yeast. It’s because there’s a whole population of yeast everywhere. There’s yeast in the air that you’re breathing right now. There was a sourdough Christ during lockdown around the world. Loads and loads of people making sourdough. How do you get that sourdough starter? You mix flour and water and you leave it sitting in your kitchen. And what you’re waiting for is the indigenous yeast in your kitchen to come and eat the sugars in the flour and ferment the starter. So in a winery where you’ve had, especially wineries, where you’ve had years and years and years of fermentation, you’ve got a whole population of yeast living all around the winery, and you’ve got more yeast that come in on the skins of the grapes. And at the start of the fermentation, you’ll get certain yeasts doing their best work.

Natasha Hughes (00:22:44) – And as you rise up in alcohol and the sugar level drops and the temperature goes up, different yeast come in and take their place. The danger with wild ferment is that you get undesirable yeast taking over the fermentation, and they can produce really nasty aromas. So Brettanomyces, for instance, is a yeast species and it can take over the fermentation and make wine taste pretty revolting. Yeah.

Natalie MacLean (00:23:12) – Is there any way to control for that? Or a wild ferment has to be wild and you just have to take what you get.

Natasha Hughes (00:23:18) – So there are different ways of you can’t control it. Absolutely. What you can do is be scrupulously hygienic in the winery. So the cleaner the winery, the less likely you are to get nasty sort of microbial infections. You can control temperature, you can monitor your fermentations naturally. When you speak to a lot of the producers in Beaujolais, the ones that use the indigenous yeast talk about tasting from each tank or each barrel a couple of times a day, and following a lot of chemical analyses.

Natasha Hughes (00:23:56) – And a lot of some of them even do microscopic surveys on a daily basis to make sure that the ferments aren’t being taken over by the bad guys.

Natasha Hughes (00:24:07) – Wow.

Natalie MacLean (00:24:07) – That’s a lot of work. That’s really cool. I didn’t know that. I can’t believe how the time has flown. Natasha. I’d love to move to the so-called lightning round of quick answers. Is there anything that you believe about wine with which some people would strongly disagree, other than what we’ve, of course discussed about Beaujolais? But it could be anything.

Natasha Hughes (00:24:29) – So I don’t know that this is this controversial, but I believe that the best way of sharing your love and knowledge of wine is not to ram technical knowledge down people’s throats, but to tell stories. Yes, and to make it fun.

Natalie MacLean (00:24:50) – Agreed 100%. Do you have a favorite childhood food and what would you pair with it as an adult today?

Natasha Hughes (00:24:57) – Oh, God.

Natasha Hughes (00:24:58) – I was such a greedy kid and I am such a greedy adult. So I used to run a catering company part time when I was at university.

Natasha Hughes (00:25:06) – I’ve cooked professionally, food was my first love and I love flavor. So my chief kind of wine and food dry is trying different combinations of flavors.

Natalie MacLean (00:25:20) – And is there anything that stands out as a kid, you know, a particular doesn’t even have to be a meal.

Natasha Hughes (00:25:26) – But one of my earliest memories is of sitting in a restaurant in the Loire with my father, between me and my sister, and he was trying to convince us to taste snails by telling us, but basically it was garlic and parsley and butter. My family were always really adventurous in terms of exploring food. My dad loved France and sent me and my sister to a French school, and we would go to France every year. So, you know, I grew up eating great French food, but I spent six years in Australia, so I love the way they cook in Australia. I love that combination of bright, fresh ingredients and the influences of Asia and the Mediterranean combined.

Natalie MacLean (00:26:25) – Well that’s great. And what would you pair with snails, by the way?

Natasha Hughes (00:26:28) – I think just a plain go to.

Natalie MacLean (00:26:31) – Okay, one of the white wines from Burgundy.

Natasha Hughes (00:26:33) – One of the white wines from Burgundy, something zesty and fresh that you’re not going to worry if it gets dominated too much by the butter and the garlic.

Natasha Hughes (00:26:42) – Yeah.

Natalie MacLean (00:26:42) – All right. Do you have a useful wine gadget that you’ve come across over the years?

Natasha Hughes (00:26:47) – Books.

Natalie MacLean (00:26:48) – Oh, books are your favorite gadget okay.

Natasha Hughes (00:26:51) – It’s always a book.

Natasha Hughes (00:26:52) – I’m not much of a gadget person. I don’t sort of I so my dad was big technology head. My husband is very good at technology. I tend to leave the technology to them. My favorite gadget at the moment is my new phone, because it’s got a really, really good camera on it and I can take videos of winemakers talking about what they’re doing, and I can take vineyards and regions, and it brings everything back to life. When I’m trying to sit down and try and find the words to describe things.

Natasha Hughes (00:27:26) – Absolutely.

Natalie MacLean (00:27:27) – That’ll be a wonderful supplement to your book when it comes out as well, that you can use on social media.

Natalie MacLean (00:27:32) – Do you have a favorite wine book?

Natasha Hughes (00:27:34) – The one that I’m currently writing?

Natalie MacLean (00:27:38) – , okay. Yes. Dance with the one who brung you. All right. Yeah, okay. Fair enough. And that comes out in June 2024.

Natasha Hughes (00:27:45) – Is it.

Natasha Hughes (00:27:46) – 2525?

Natalie MacLean (00:27:48) – Gotcha. Okay.

Natasha Hughes (00:27:49) – I have a little bit.

Natasha Hughes (00:27:50) – Of time to write it.

Natalie MacLean (00:27:51) – I don’t want to panic you here by moving up your deadline. If you could share a bottle of wine with anyone outside the wine world, living or dead, who would that be and which bottle of wine would you open?

Natasha Hughes (00:28:03) – Ooh.

Natasha Hughes (00:28:04) – So I’m going to start with a bottle of wine first, because I can choose any wine in the world. Right?

Natalie MacLean (00:28:09) – Absolutely. Expenses. No consideration. Yeah.

Natasha Hughes (00:28:12) – Okay.

Natasha Hughes (00:28:13) – So I would like a bottle of La Tache because they named it after me.

Natasha Hughes (00:28:17) – Hahaha. Okay.

Natalie MacLean (00:28:18) – How convenient. How nice of them.

Natasha Hughes (00:28:21) – Very convenient.

Natasha Hughes (00:28:22) – Yes, it was going to be the wine that I opened to celebrate getting my MWh until I saw the price tag.

Natalie MacLean (00:28:29) – Oh yes, which was what? Just to give us a sense of how much a bottle of LA can go for. That’s Domaine Romani Kante, is it not?

Natasha Hughes (00:28:37) – It’s the Mendel of Romani County, and it’s in the thousands rather than the hundreds and per bottle. So the bottle that I actually opened to celebrate getting the MWh was a bottle of Filipinas Clothing was 1999, which is a champagne, and it is delicious. It’s one of my favorite champagnes.

Natasha Hughes (00:29:00) – Sounds great.

Natasha Hughes (00:29:01) – So who would I share this with? Oh, there are so many people. But okay, I’m going to go for something really obscure.

Natasha Hughes (00:29:13) – Okay.

Natasha Hughes (00:29:14) – Actually, no, maybe not.

Natalie MacLean (00:29:16) – But you can have a number of people at the table if you want if you’re having a hard time deciding here.

Natasha Hughes (00:29:22) – So yes, I am going to go for I think William Shakespeare has got to be there because I really want to find out. Well, I’m pretty convinced that he wrote those plays, but I want to know where a boy from Stratford got the inspiration for all these stories and that those insights into humanity.

Natasha Hughes (00:29:44) – Absolutely.

Natalie MacLean (00:29:44) – He’d be a great conversationalist, too.

Natasha Hughes (00:29:46) – I think that would be great. I think I would like Germaine Greer.

Natalie MacLean (00:29:51) – , the feminist author, the.

Natasha Hughes (00:29:53) – Strongest.

Natasha Hughes (00:29:54) – Author. I think she might be quite. Difficult to handle, but I understand that she likes her food and she likes her wine, and I think she’d be really Sparky. So yeah, I think that and I think also, yeah, I’m going to go down the chef track and I think I’m going to have Elizabeth David there as well.

Natalie MacLean (00:30:19) – Oh, consider the omelette was it.

Natasha Hughes (00:30:21) – Yes. Yes.

Natalie MacLean (00:30:23) – Quite the dinner party you’re having there.

Natasha Hughes (00:30:25) – Yeah I think she would be great on. Well, she could give me a hand in the kitchen. Yes. To begin.

Natasha Hughes (00:30:32) – With, that’s.

Natalie MacLean (00:30:32) – Convenient.

Natasha Hughes (00:30:34) – Which would be very, very convenient. But also this kind of transition period between that period immediately after the Second World War, when people were beginning to explore the world of food and move, they were beginning to travel the world.

Natasha Hughes (00:30:52) – And it was a democratization of travel as well. So I think she’d be really interested. And yes, I think. I quite like a comedian as well, but it’s difficult to choose which comedian because quite often it turns out that they have really angry personalities.

Natasha Hughes (00:31:13) – Oh right. That’s true.

Natasha Hughes (00:31:15) – But it would be good to have somebody who is really fun, who could kind of keep the whole thing going.

Natalie MacLean (00:31:21) – Lighten the mood. Yes, because you’ve got some quite serious people there. That sounds great. Sounds like you could keep going on this dinner party, too. And maybe to wrap up, Natasha, can you give us one wine tip to make us more wine savvy? It could be anything. Again, doesn’t have to relate to Beaujolais, but just one wine tip from any tips you like to share.

Natasha Hughes (00:31:43) – Don’t drink your red wines too warm and don’t drink your white wines too cold.

Natalie MacLean (00:31:47) – You’re absolutely right. What happens to a warm red? What does it taste like?

Natasha Hughes (00:31:52) – Oh, it gets really soupy.

Natasha Hughes (00:31:54) – I get really upset when I see people kind of going, oh, this bottle’s really cold. I’m going to put it on the radiator for a quarter of an hour.

Natalie MacLean (00:32:01) – Soupy and gloopy, not to use another one of your terms. And what happens to a white that’s too chilled.

Natasha Hughes (00:32:09) – You don’t get any flavor out of it.

Natalie MacLean (00:32:11) – That’s true. You only want to do that at cheap weddings.

Natasha Hughes (00:32:14) – We warm up in the glass at least.

Natasha Hughes (00:32:16) – Yes, yes.

Natasha Hughes (00:32:18) – So better to chill than to warm.

Natalie MacLean (00:32:20) – Right? If you’re going to have the lesser of two evils. Yeah, that is great. Natasha, is there anything that we haven’t touched on that you’d like to mention before we wrap up?

Natasha Hughes (00:32:30) – No, I think I’m done.

Natasha Hughes (00:32:32) – Are you okay?

Natalie MacLean (00:32:34) – In more ways than one.

Natasha Hughes (00:32:35) – I think I’ve probably talked enough. Oh, yes.

Natalie MacLean (00:32:37) – No, this has been wonderful. How best can we find you online? You and your books.

Natasha Hughes (00:32:43) – So, you know, I’m available for weddings, parties, bar mitzvahs.

Natasha Hughes (00:32:48) – But seriously, if anybody needs to contact me, I can be found via the Masters of Wine website. There’s a really handy page called finding M.W. and you can contact me via there if you want to. I’m also online. I’m on insta as Latasha w Tash spelled Tash. Yeah, that’s pretty much how you find me.

Natalie MacLean (00:33:13) – Okay, great. And probably we can go to academy to find the on Burgundy book. And eventually the one that you will publish on Beaujolais on your own? Absolutely, yes. We’ll put all those links in the show notes so that people can find this easily. Well, Natasha, this has been fascinating. Really opened my eyes up to Beaujolais. I mean, I have to preface, I was pretty ignorant about it, but thank you so much for sharing these interesting tips and stories and wonderful conversation.

Natasha Hughes (00:33:39) – Well, I’m.

Natasha Hughes (00:33:40) – Glad that you enjoyed it, and I hope that I’ve convinced you to go and open a bottle of Beaujolais sometime soon.

Natalie MacLean (00:33:47) – You have done your job, Natasha.

Natalie MacLean (00:33:49) – All right, I will say cheers for now. Bye bye. Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed our chat with Natasha. Here are my takeaways. Number one, why are Beaujolais wines so versatile when it comes to food pairing? As Natasha observes, these are crunchy wines. I love that descriptor. You can take them on a picnic, you can open them with charcuterie and salads, and you don’t have to take them too seriously. None of that decanting stuff, etc. you can chill them lightly in the summer. They’re really easy to drink, and when they take on a smoky, slightly caramelised character, you can even pair them with barbecued meat and fish, especially the kind of fish that you would pair Pinot noir with like salmon or tuna. The heavier, richer styles of Beaujolais from some of the crew areas really work well with a big winter stew. Number two. How are younger producers bringing renewed optimism to Beaujolais? Natasha says that revitalizing the region with new approaches and experimenting with indigenous yeasts, there is also a renewed optimism, with a focus on producing higher quality wines that can compete in the market.

Natalie MacLean (00:35:05) – And number three what is indigenous fermentation and how does it contribute to the complexity of Beaujolais wines? Yeast populations in the winery and on grape skins are allowed to take over the fermentation process, resulting in more complex wines. It requires winemakers to be scrupulously hygienic and do a lot of monitoring to ensure undesirables like Brettanomyces or Brett don’t take over. That gives you that barnyard smell. In the show notes. You’ll find a full transcript of my conversation with Natasha. Links to her website and books, the video versions of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube live, and where you can order my book now online no matter where you live. You’ll also find a link to take the free online wine and food pairing class with me, called the five Wine and Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner and How to Fix Them Forever at Natalie MacLean. Com forward slash class. And that’s all in the show notes at Natalie MacLean dot com forward slash 279. Email me if you have a sip. Tip question. Would like to win a copy of the book on Burgundy.

Natalie MacLean (00:36:11) – Or if you’ve read my book or in the process of reading it at Nathalie at Natalie MacLean dot com. If you missed episode 270, go back and take a listen. I chat about creative wine pairings with Vanessa Pryce, author of Big Macs and Burgundy. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite. The circus peanuts, which are those neon orange marshmallows which just look ghastly. But where’d you go with those?

Vanessa Pryce (00:36:38) – I did orange Muscat, something that people might not have had very often, but that’s a literal orange and orange. You typically find them in California. The circus peanut. It’s round, it’s fluffy, it’s orange. It’s simple. Definitely sweet. Sometimes foods can be a great conduit for introducing us to wine, so we might not have ever given a chance previously.

Natalie MacLean (00:36:59) – Absolutely. Always less intimidating. You won’t want to miss next week when we chat with Wink Lauch, author of two award winning books about Jura wines and the wines of the French Alps. If you liked this episode or learned even one thing about it, please email or tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in learning more about the wines of Beaujolais.

Natalie MacLean (00:37:26) – It’s easy to find my podcast. Just tell them to search for Natalie MacLean wine on their favorite podcast app, or they can listen to the show on my website. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your class this week. Perhaps a Beaujolais that pairs well with.

Natalie MacLean (00:37:43) – A Big Mac?

Natalie MacLean (00:37:50) – You don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full bodied bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media.

Natasha Hughes (00:38:00) – So subscribe for.

Natalie MacLean (00:38:01) – Free now at Natalie MacLean. Com forward slash subscribe. Meet me here next week. Cheers.