Horizontal and Vertical Tastings with Wines to Find Sandy Dawkins and Michelle Lester



What’s the single best thing you can do to improve your tasting skills? How can you discover some unusual but delicious food and wine pairings? How does music change the taste of wine?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m interviewing by Sandy Dawkins and Michelle Lester, hosts of the Wines To Find podcast.

You can find the wines we discussed here.


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  • When did Sandy and Michelle discover their love of wine?
  • How did a trip to European wine country inspire Sandy and Michelle to start the Wines To Find Podcast?
  • How do the sisters use YouTube to give their audience added value?
  • Where did the name “Wines To Find” come from?
  • How do Sandy and Michelle choose new wines to try in each podcast episode?
  • How does the Wines to Find scoring system work?
  • Which online systems does Michelle use to find new wines and wineries she might like?
  • Is there a grape style over which the sisters disagree?
  • Who have been Sandy and Michelle’s favourite Wines To Find guests so far?
  • Can music affect our perception of wine?

Key Takeaways

  • I love their approach to learning about wine through vertical and horizontal tastings, whether that’s picking maybe one grape, but it’s grown in different countries, or perhaps go with one region. It’s that side-by-side comparison that is so illustrative of the differences between wines.
  • They share some interesting tips on how you discover some unusual but delicious food and wine pairings.
  • I found their insights into how music can change the taste of wine fascinating.


Start The Conversation: Click Below to Share These Wine Tips


About Sandy Dawkins and Michelle Lester

The Wines To Find Podcast was created after the two hosts, sisters Sandy and Michelle, travelled together to France and Italy in 2019. Both sisters are wine enthusiasts that have tracked their wine purchases, palates and pairings for years. As a way to continue the thrill of their European trip and to document their wine journey, they created the Wines To Find Podcast with the goal of spending time together, further growing their palates, and sharing wine stories from guests. Wines To Find features two new wines tasted for the first time by the sisters & guests, who span the spectrum of the wine industry from winemakers, owners, growers, sommeliers, fellow enthusiasts and more.

Sandy Dawkins is a consultant in the public safety communications industry, licensed realtor and former teacher. Wife and mother of 3, avid reader and podcast listener, boating enthusiast and traveler. Sandy has a proclivity for cooking with a focus on fresh, natural, and healthfully sourced ingredients. Wine enthusiast with focus on food pairings and cooking with wine in mind

Michelle Lester is the director of operations for a back office services/asset management company. Wife and mother of two, avid reader, podcast listener, college sports and travel enthusiast, expert Yelp and travel review consumer. Michelle has an inclination to cook with focus on ethnic foods and dishes that hearken back to travel destinations. Wine enthusiast with focus on region specificity and terroir.

Together, Sandy and Michelle take the WTF out of picking a great wine.




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Natalie MacLean 0:00
I love your approach. Picking maybe one grape but it’s grown in different countries or perhaps go with one region. It’s that side by side comparison that is so illustrative of the differences between wines.

Sandy Dawkins 0:14
That really has opened up our eyes doing verticals and horizontal tastings.

Natalie MacLean 0:19
Yes. And we mean the wines not the people when we say horizontal and vertical. Horizontal is like Shiraz from different wineries or different regions, but vertical would be Shiraz from one winery, but going back to older vintages,

Michelle Lester 0:35
We actually did a vertical tasting Pinot Noir from a specific producer and tasted Four different wines. It is interesting to see how the grapes grown in the same location with the same winemaker, everything’s the same, still turn out different. It’s very eye opening when you taste them side by side like that.

Natalie MacLean 0:59
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? Oh, 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. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started. Welcome to Episode 198. What’s the single best thing you can do to improve your tasting skills? How can you discover some unusual but delicious wine and food pairings? And how does music change the taste of wine? You’ll hear those tips and stories in my chat with sisters Sandy Dawkins and Michelle Lester who co hosts the podcast Wines To Find. Now on a personal note before we dive into the show with the continuing story of publishing my new wine memoir Wine Witch on Fire: Rising from the Ashes of Divorce, Defamation and Drinking Too Much. Well, now things are starting to get so exciting. My publisher has just sent me two concepts for the new book cover. Although the designs aren’t hugely different, I definitely prefer one over the other. Cover design is second only to the title in attracting prospective readers. We do judge a book by its cover. It’s the face of the book and it’s meant to convey the genre a style of writing the books personality, and hint at the story that we’ll discover. Bookstores are like a crowded party where everyone, every book is shouting from the shelves read me read me. So designs have become bolder and brighter, almost art objects. Online book cover design matters even more. A cover has to stand out in a sea of flat 2D images on book retail websites, On Instagram, bookstagrammers pair a book with lifestyle artefacts from steaming coffee to cosy blankets. So the more photogenic a cover is, the better it does on visual social media channels. These days the greatest risk for cover design is that it’s safe and boring. The two designs for my memoir both feature a wineglass and fire, but the fonts, colours, images, and formats are different. I’d love to know which one you like best. You’ll find images of the covers in the show notes at NatalieMacLean.com/198. I’ve also posted a link to a blog post called Diary of a Book Launch in the show notes and this is where I share more behind the scenes stories about the journey of taking this memoir from idea to publication. If you want a more intimate insider seat beside me on this journey, please let me know you’d like to become a beta reader and get a sneak peek at the manuscript. Email me at Natalie@ NatalieMaclLan.com. Okay, on with the show.

Natalie MacLean 4:25
Sisters Sandy Dawkins and Michelle Lester co-host the fabulous podcast Wines to Find. Sandy is a consultant in the public safety communications industry and a former teacher. She’s also a wife and mother of three, an avid reader, a podcast listener, boating enthusiast and traveller. Michelle is the director of operations for an asset management company. She’s a wife, mother of two, avid reader, podcast listener, college sports and travel enthusiast. Welcome Sandy and Michelle. It’s so great to have you with us.

Michelle Lester 4:58
Thank you so much. Well we’re happy to be here.

Sandy Dawkins 5:00
Yeah, we’re thrilled. It’s a bucket list item for me.

Natalie MacLean 5:05
A spittoon bucket or a regular bucket. Let’s be specific, ladies.

Michelle Lester 5:10
One of the podcasts she avidly consumes is yours. So definitely bucket list. Yes.

Natalie MacLean 5:15
Well, thank you. I appreciate that. And I’ve been enjoying yours too. Now that we’ve connected, and I’m listening to your back catalogue so to speak. They’re terrific.

Michelle Lester 5:23
Thank you.

Natalie MacLean 5:24
Yeah, absolutely. So let’s start off and the two of you can decide who’s fielding the questions. But I’d like to hear from both of you on most of these. Was wine part of your family dinner table when you were growing up?

Sandy Dawkins 5:35
So typically, we did not have wine sitting at our dining room table, but we were not teetotallers. Mom would have like an Asti Spumante you know, an Italian night. Her main drink was like a margarita on the rocks was her favourite. Our stepfather drank beer. And our dad, he was more of a spirit sky or a beer guy. So there was no true wine lover that we could follow in the footsteps.

Michelle Lester 6:04
We did not grow up appreciating wine.

Natalie MacLean 6:07
Okay. And you correct me if I’m wrong here. But you grew up and now live in South Carolina?

Sandy Dawkins 6:12
Yes, we did not grow up in South Carolina. But we’ve been here a long, long time. Will she be longer? I was younger. So we’ve been here for 30 years. 30 years.

Natalie MacLean 6:25
It’s home now at least. And did one of you get into wine before the other?

Michelle Lester 6:29
I was probably tardy to the party because I’m younger. That’s Michelle. Yes, yes, me. Sandy thinks she started at age 23ish. And so I would have been 19. So I think really, for me, it was more late 20s early 30s. But I do remember us talking about wine and journaling. And you know, especially when the kids were younger.

Sandy Dawkins 6:51
We were both avid journalists, recording what our wines tasted like, which ones we liked, which ones we wanted to taste. And we both did that early on.

Michelle Lester 6:59
I thought I had it right here in this drawer, but I don’t. I was gonna pull it up. Because when we did our first episode, we gave our wine story. And we both brought our journals that went back to gosh knows when.

Natalie MacLean 7:12
Oh, wow. That’s great. So that must be part of the motivation and creating your own podcast Wines To Find, but tell me about the moment when what really triggered the decision to say yes, let’s start a podcast together.

Sandy Dawkins 7:25
Well, Michelle’s oldest daughter was on a maymestre in Europe. And she said, do you guys want to come over? So we were like, sure. And we were going to France and Italy. And we both looked at each other and we were like, we kind of, you know, as life goes, you don’t keep up with learning about wine. We just kind of let it, you know, kids and everything life got in the way. So we were like, oh gosh, we really don’t know enough. So as we were sitting on the train going from Paris to, which was our next stop, we were like, we have got to do a better job of keeping up and learning and expanding about wine. Here we are in wine Mecca and we really don’t know as much as we really wish we did. So we decided then in there that we were going to start to record and expand our journey. And then we were like, wou know what, I like podcasts. Well, I like podcasts, too. Let’s do a podcast.

Natalie MacLean 8:23
That makes sense. But did you ever contemplate doing like a YouTube show instead? Or why were you drawn to podcasts specifically?

Michelle Lester 8:29
So we started out with a podcast because the audio experience really does appeal to us. And we do listen to podcasts, especially working, exercising, you know, a video based is just requires you to kind of be tied like a TV, whereas, or at least you want it to be. Yeah, because you want to see the interaction, but the audio experience, you know, you can do it anywhere while you’re exercising, whatever. And so, you know, buds in the ears is just kind of what appealed to us, because that’s what we consume. But now we’re going video. Yeah, we did about a year in we started a YouTube channel. We did that for the summer because what turned out happening was we really had so much in that first year that we were experiencing and doing, we were like, we wanted to focus on white wines, but best on the editorial scout calendar that we had, we couldn’t fit it in. So we’re like, we’re gonna YouTube. And we didn’t want to add a second day to our drop. We drop on Thursdays an episode every Thursday. So we thought, well, let’s see if we can do it on YouTube. And that way it can be as needed. Yep. So now what we’re gonna do, we did that for that summer. Now what we’re gonna do is we’re just going to combine and get that video and the audio and do the audio podcast, and then the video podcasts.

Sandy Dawkins 9:37
And we think that’ll be beneficial to the consumer so they can see the wine. See some resources that we have, so we thought that may be beneficial. Yeah.

Natalie MacLean 9:45
Oh, yeah. That’s great. Now, I like the dual aspect. Because I mean, as you know, we work so hard in terms of trying to produce a podcast, the research and booking guests and so on to make it a valuable experience for the listener. You know, it can sometimes be a different video audiences who said it’s like being tied down to a TV, but some people find that relaxing. And so you might tap into two very different audiences that way. I find that’s the case for this podcast because of course, it goes out as a video on social media, in addition to this audio version.

Michelle Lester 10:16
Well, and you have your visual learners and you have your auditory learners and you want to be able to appeal to both. So, but one thing, when we’re talking about the content for the podcast, one thing that we do every podcast is we try two wines we have never had before, that helps us grow our palate and expand our knowledge bases and taste range.

Sandy Dawkins 10:36
Because that’s really the way you learn is you have to taste taste taste. Yeah,

Natalie MacLean 10:40
Yes, exactly. And you’ve inspired me. I mean, I love interviewing people like you. But I had gotten away from wine tasting during the podcast. So as a result of our previous conversation, where I’m talking to you on your podcast, we are doing that today. And I’m going to make it a regular feature going forward on my podcast where I won’t be at the top of the podcast like yours is but midway down we’ll at least the guest, and I will each pick wines and taste them together. So I really appreciate the nudge toward doing that again. Yeah, absolutely has, we’re the wine lovers, we want to know what to get or buy or whatever. Cool. So tell us about the name of your podcast, how you came up with wines to find?

Sandy Dawkins 11:24
Well, I have to give credit where credit’s due, my husband named it. We were all sitting around the table. Our sound guy is John, who’s Michelle’s husband. My husband really doesn’t do much with this. He’s a little laid back. But that night, we were all together and we were having dinner and over wine, what should we name the podcast? And he ended up saying, well, one of your goals is to eliminate any issues with picking out wine whenever you go to a wine store, so you basically take the WTF out of finding a wine. And so we said Yeah, so Wines to Find. We help to take the WTF out of finding a great wine.

Natalie MacLean 12:08
I love that double entendre because we all know what WTF stands for which we will not say the other one. So we don’t get marked as explicit. But I love that, a little cheeky. Exactly, as you said. So how do you choose the wines that you’ll taste? You’ve already mentioned you choose those that you haven’t tasted before. Generally, but I mean, there’s an ocean of wine out there, how do you choose?

Michelle Lester 12:31
So a lot of it will be guest or topic dependent. Depending on so if we have a certain topic that we’re exploring, obviously, the wine is going to fall into that topic if it’s a region or a taste profile or something. If it’s a guest, generally, our podcast has a lot of winemakers or vintners themselves so we’re talking with the people making the wine are involved in making the wine. So generally, they’re sending us the wine.

Sandy Dawkins 12:57
That they want to showcase their best features. So that’s how we ended up coming with that. Or, for example, we just did an episode about Australian wines, because Michelle said, I really have not been able to do a deep dive into Australia. So we added that as one of our personal growth options. So we try at least one episode a month where it’s just us where we’re growth. And then three episodes. The other three generally are a winemaker or wine enthusiast, something to be able to further that aspect of the podcast, right?

Natalie MacLean 13:31
Sure, and that’s great idea. I love your approach as I’ve been listening to your episodes like, and you know, picking maybe one grape, but it’s grown in different countries, or perhaps go with one region, but with different wines or whatever. I think it’s that side by side comparison that is so illustrative of the differences between wines that people sometimes miss. And why they get intimidated by wine is because you’re only having one glass at a time, whereas it’s that side by side tasting that really will show the differences.

Sandy Dawkins 14:00
It really has opened up our eyes doing verticals and horizontal tastings.

Natalie MacLean 14:06
Yes. And we mean the wines not the people when we say horizontal and vertical alright. So I should just define that for somebody who may not know. But horizontal is like Shiraz from different wineries or different regions, but vertical would be a Shiraz from one winery, but going back to older vintages from 19. Yeah, okay, great. All right.

Michelle Lester 14:27
We actually did it vertical tasting. the guys join us for Valentine’s Day. They have in the last couple years. So we did a vertical Pinot Noir from a specific producer and tasted three or four different wines to see because it is interesting to see how the grapes grown in the same location with the same winemaker. Everything’s the same still turn out different. It’s very eye opening when you taste them side by side like that.

Natalie MacLean 14:52
It is and how certain grapes tend to show more differences going back in time than others. Like I mean, there’s so many variations. Or the winemaker allowing that to happen. Yeah, that’s true by intervention or not. Yeah, exactly. Yes. And how do you score the wines you taste? You have an interesting scoring system.

Sandy Dawkins 15:15
We do. Since we do have winemakers on and we taste a lot of different wines. We don’t want to judge the quality, because we aren’t wine experts.So we’re not going to judge the quality.

Michelle Lester 15:27
And wine is very subjective. Just because we think it’s the one thing doesn’t mean that’s the same thing for someone else.

Sandy Dawkins 15:35
So we started off with that premise in mind when we came up with the scoring system. And we wanted to be able to have it scored. So that way, we would know what bottled go purchase again if we really liked it or not for ourselves. So we have five corks. One cork is fine the kitchen sink. It just wasn’t good. Two corks is you’ll finish the glass because it was pretty good. You’re being polite. Really, you’re just being polite. Because two is still. Then three corks is you will go get another glass. It was interesting enough, it was pulling you in. Four corks is oh, that was an interesting bottle. I need to go ahead and find it and explore it more try it on a different day with a different food. Five corks is you really enjoyed it. You want to buy a whole case, or give it as a gift.

Natalie MacLean 16:24
I like that it’s very consumer friendly and relatable, too, because sometimes those scores out of 100. I mean, I score out of 100. But sometimes they can mean very different things to different people. Like you know, when you’re in school didn’t 89 mean wow, that’s a great score or today. And often in the wine market, the 89 its like, oh, you didn’t make it. People only buy 90 and above.

Sandy Dawkins 16:48
Right. Well, and that’s originally how we started looking at wines was looking at those scores. And now we kind of are like, we don’t use that as much.

Unknown Speaker 16:59
Right. Right.

Natalie MacLean 17:00
Yeah. And with great inflation. Yeah, everything seems to be over the 90s anyway these days. But that’s very practical the way you approach it. Now, when we’re talking about scores and scoring, Michelle, you’re an expert, Yelp and travel reviewer. What does that mean?

Michelle Lester 17:14
So I am an expert Yelp and travel review consumer, which means that I Yelp everything, or I like to see what other people think about things. I crowdsource which makes sense, because that’s what we’re doing with the podcast. So basically, what I do is I’ll you know, especially like for wine, I have tools and resources that I’ll go and look and see what others say about it to kind of help direct me with a restaurant. Wine apps. Yeah, I’ll look at restaurants and see, you know, because, again, somebody might really love something that’s just not my taste. I’m never going to love it. So if I can look at their other different reviews and say, okay, well, their taste just isn’t similar to mine, then that tells me that that’s not really I have to weight that star down, you know.

Natalie MacLean 18:01
On Yelp.com. It’s a site that reviews. What did they review restaurants? Do they review wineries, like all kinds of different destinations?

Sandy Dawkins 18:09
They review a lot of different things? Yes, it’s wide. And she also was able to find the best croissants when we were in Paris using Yelp. Very handy.

Michelle Lester 18:19
We had to go a little bit to get on but it was worth it. It was.

Natalie MacLean 18:24
I’ll bet. Oh, that’s great. And so you often taste wines for the first time during your podcast. What happens if you really really don’t like the wine?

Michelle Lester 18:38
You do this one, Michelle. So we’ve really not had very many. Some people have very specific music tastes, and they only listen to certain music and some people have a broad tastes and music and lots of different music. And we’re wine lovers of all broad spectrum wine lovers. So it’s really difficult to find those that are you know, find the sink. I will say that there have one in particular that as soon as I tasted it, I was like, Oh my gosh, I don’t even know that I can drink it enough to do this. One in the history of 100 plus episodes, two wines per episode minimum. That’s very few wines that really strike us that way. But we’re generally what we do then is we look at well who would it appeal to? What taste profile and then when we talk about that review, we will say it’s not our particular taste, but if you like this and this I can see where this wine would appeal to you.

Natalie MacLean 19:25
If you like tasting by the kitchen sink. That wine sounds like it’s Liquid Drano. Okay, cool. Fair enough. Have you ever heard from a winemaker whose wine he or she felt you did not rate as highly as warranted?

Michelle Lester 19:42
Not not on that. No, never. Now I will say that same wine that I just did not particularly enjoy. And I had to say it was from. He was not on the podcast. He’s not ever been on the podcast, but we were in a Clubhouse when Clubhouse was like really the thing and we were doing a lot of Clubhouse things. And I ended up in a chat room with him, like a Clubhouse room. When I texted Sandy, I was like, oh my gosh, this guy is here. I think he doesn’t know.

Natalie MacLean 20:08
Well that was a near miss.

Sandy Dawkins 20:10
Most of the things that we do have on the podcast are good boutique, solid, solid wines. I mean, we have been exceptionally blessed in that. Because, I mean, sometimes I feel like, gosh, we just keep giving fours and fives, but these are really good. Yeah, yeah. Sure. We had our fair share of twos and threes. And like you said, I think maybe one or two ones.

Michelle Lester 20:34
Yeah, not very many. I really I can think of one for me and one for you that were ones and the rest of them were definitely worth revisiting in some way.

Natalie 20:43
Is there a region or grape style over which the two of you disagree palate wise? Like, does one of you like a big, full bodied Chardonnay and the other just really loves her Riesling or something like that?

Michelle Lester 20:56
Wow. So starting out, there were two wines that a varietals that we either agreed or disagreed on. I preferred Chardonnay at the beginning. Sandy’s not a big Chard fan, and Sandy preferred Pinot Noir. And I’m not a big Pinot Noir fan. But over the course of doing this, we’ve opened each other’s eyes up. I do believe there’s a wine out there for everybody. And I believe there’s a variety out there for everybody. So you might not like the way it’s done in this winemaker’s hands, but in this winemaker’s hands and from this region, you might really enjoy this varietal. And that’s what we’ve exposed ourselves to.

Sandy Dawkins 21:30
Right. And just trying more wines like that. I think I probably had a couple of bad Chardonnays and that turned me off. So then therefore, I stopped trying them. But now there are several that are really just fabulous. And I’m like, well, I don’t know why I didn’t like it before.

Natalie MacLean 21:49
Sure, Yeah. But you’re right. I mean, Chardonnay, especially is just the, I don’t know, it’s like the most versatile grape it seems among all of them, you know. Oaked unoaked. Cool climate warm climate. Full malolactic giving it buttery notes or none with an edgy sort of racy acidity. I can imagine if you didn’t have a good first experience with a grape like that you’d assume others would be similar and yet they can be so dramatically different. Very different. Very different. Yeah. Sandy, who has been your favourite guest on the podcast so far?

Sandy Dawkins 22:21
I know exactly who my favourite guest is. Her name is Nicola with Spanish palate. believe she’s on episode 36. I believe it was.

Natalie MacLean 22:31
And Spanish palate is what? Is it a winery.

Sandy Dawkins 22:35
She’s originally from England, but she lives in Spain now. And she’s an advocate for the grower. And she’s taken these growers and helped promote Spanish wines throughout the world. So that’s called Spanish Palate. So we actually had her on three different episodes, but on her first episode, which is episode 36, she tells a story about her mentor that has really helped her and developed her wine journey. That he is so fabulous. He has a wine cellar that was started that takes an elevator and goes down to the bottom like 30 stories or something like that down into the earth. And then within that wine cellar that’s, you know, down in this true cave that you have to go 30 stories down. That his family has owned for generations yet. Yes. And he’s an old, old, old generation celebrated his 100th. Yeah, he just celebrated his 100th birthday I believe it was last year. He has a barrel that was on Santa Maria. Oh, my goodness, that is now in his wine cellar. This is one of this ships Christopher Columbus. Yes, exactly. And I just was like, wow, that the mind blowing. That hit home to me of how history and wine is just all connected in the stories that you can hear. And that’s just my favourite one.

Natalie MacLean 24:03
Oh my gosh, I can imagine going down in this elevator and just seeing that barrel in a spotlight or something. I’m envisioning it like a painting. That would be awesome. Wow. Cool. And Michelle, do you have a favourite as well?

Michelle Lester 24:16
I do. We did an episode with. There’s a winemaker in California that we love. His name is Grant Long. He does not do media. He does very few appearances. He is a very close friend of a friend of ours who’s really John’s wine mentor. And it’s a family that we’ve known forever. And so we were able to bring Grant on the episode plus have our two friends on that introduced us to Grant and then Grant’s wines therefore, and Grant is the best storyteller. Our friends to say he’s the most interesting man in the World instead of a guy for the beer. It’s really Grant. It was just such a treat because it just illustrates the relationships and then the stories that we tell, that he tellsthroughout the episode. Really illustrate how wine connects people and makes lifelong friendships. And it’s just a great episode, yeah. Heartwarming.Yeah.

Natalie MacLean 25:08
And was there one story he told that stands out in particular?

Michelle Lester 25:11
Well, there’s one that there’s a famous restaurant here in St. Charleston called Halls. And the proprietor actually just passed away recently, but it’s very well known for its wine list. And Brent, who is on the episode, never goes and buys off the table or the wine list. He always brings his own wine, and generally it’s Grant’s wine. So Mr. Hall came up and he said, oh, we don’t do that here. And wine steward had to go and ask permission to let them go out that yes. And so he comes over and he looks and he says, oh, you have that wine. Yes, you can do this. In turns out he knew Grant from a position that Grant had had that he had had when he was in California. So again, it’s just so it’s all the connections relationship relationship. Yeah. So anyway, so Grant’s wine is Mr. Hall approved.

Natalie MacLean 25:57
That’s great. Now on another episode, you talked with some folks about how music can affect the taste of wine. Tell us more about what you discovered during that chat?

Sandy Dawkins 26:07
That was very interesting, because Michelle and I both had separately heard that wine does or music does affect wine. I actually even saw it with like a chocolate tasting. And how whenever you’re listening to different music the frequency can change if it’s bitter or if it’s sweet. So we ended up speaking with a couple more podcasters Music In A Bottle. Yeah, Music In A Bottle is the name of their podcast. And so we did a collaboration with them where they chose music for two of the wines that we had. We had like a sparkling Riesling and we paired music to that sparkling Riesling and tasted it to see how it would change. And then we had a Cabernet and had music to see how it changed. And if it made it more mellow, if you played something that was soft or smooth or heavy metal and what it sounded like, if there was any difference in the taste of it. And it definitely does affect. Yeah.

Natalie MacLean 27:04
It did. Wow. That must be our perception of the taste. I guess maybe obviously not the actual taste.

Sandy Dawkins 27:10
Yes, I think it’s the way it all interacts.The senses.

Michelle Lester 27:12
And what you taste isn’t what I taste because it is subjective. So what is consistent in the research and there’s research on it is that there are taste points along the tongue and I guess certain audio experiences then enhance certain placements on the tongue. So if you hear something in the food that you’re having has this element, it can either enhance it or dull it depending.

Sandy Dawkins 27:35
And then some new age people say it has to do with the frequency too that will change it. And that’s episode 68.

Michelle Lester 27:43
We actually built the playlists that you can search. Its Wines To Find on Spotify music Music in the Bottle so you can do your own little tasting with it. Yeah.

Natalie MacLean 27:53
Yeah, that is great. And, you know, I’ve also read research where sometimes the senses can cross wires, like some people hear music as colour. Like, I don’t know if it’s synesthesia or something like that. So who knows what’s happening with our brain wiring, but I can see it like that, you know, one sense can impact the other. Taste and sound. Makes total sense to me. Yeah. Very interesting.

Natalie MacLean 28:22
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Sandy and Michelle. Here are my takeaways. Number one, I love their approach to learning about wine through vertical and horizontal tastings, whether that’s picking maybe one grape, but it’s grown in different countries, or maybe go with a particular region. It’s that side by side comparison that is so illustrative of the differences between wines. Number two, they share some really great tips about how to discover unusual but delicious food and wine pairings. And number three, I found their insights into how music can change our perception of the taste of wine really fascinating. In the shownotes, you’ll find my email contact, the full transcript of my conversation with Sandy Michelle, links to their podcast and website, and where you can find the live stream video versions of these conversations on Facebook and YouTube Live every Wednesday at 7pm. You’ll also find a link to my free Ultimate Guide to Food and Wine Pairing. That’s all in the show notes at NatalieMacLean.com/198. Email me if you have a sip, tip, question, or would like to become a beta reader of my new memoir Natalie@Natalie MacLean.com. You won’t want to miss next week when we continue our chat with Sandy and Michelle. In the meantime, if you missed episode 11 go back and take a listen. I chat about the world’s best wines with Forbes columnist Katie Kelly Bell. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.

Unknown Speaker 29:52
One of the most fascinating stories is 10 years ago somebody based in Épernay, a Frenchman, he snuck into the vineyard at night and injected two of the vines with pesticide and poison. Oh wow. Then three weeks later he sent a letter. And the letter basically had a map of a vineyard and he circled the two vines that he poisoned and said obviously you’re trying to protect your vaunted reputation. So if you don’t give me a million euros then the game is over. That is amazing. David Lane, of course is not concerned about his reputation. So he contacted the investigators and they made fake euros. And the guy said, I want you to put my million euros in the cemetery nearby. So of course, they put the million fake euros in the cemetery and staged police officers and he walked by and picked it up and they nabbed him not long after and he said yeah, I just got a prison and this was a way to make some money.

Natalie MacLean 30:55
If you liked this episode, please email or tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wines and stories we discussed. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a wine that tastes even better with your favourite song.

Natalie MacLean 31:20
you don’t want to miss one juicy episode of this podcast, especially the secret full body bonus episodes that I don’t announce on social media. So subscribe for free now at Natalie MacLean.com/subscribe. Meet me here next week. Cheers.