What’s my advice for those considering a wine career? How did my biggest career regret happen before I became a wine writer? How has my father’s alcoholism influenced my relationship with wine? How has the pandemic impacted online wine classes? Can you pair ketchup chips with wine?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m sharing my interview on the Wine Blast podcast with Susie Barrie & Peter Richards.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
- Why does Rhône Syrah hold a special place in my memories?
- What’s my advice for people considering a wine career?
- How did my biggest career regret happen before I became a wine writer?
- When was the first major turning point of my career?
- What do you need to know about the Canadian wine industry?
- How is global warming affecting Canadian wine producers?
- Which types of Canadian wines should you try first?
- What should you expect from Canadian Rieslings?
- When did wine find its way into my life?
- How has my father’s alcoholism influenced my relationship with wine?
- How has the pandemic impacted online wine classes?
- What makes food and wine pairing so exciting?
- What’s my top tip for getting started with food and wine pairing?
- Can you pair ketchup chips with wine?
- How do you pair wine with your favourite activities?
- Why did I create the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast?
- What can you expect from my upcoming third book?
- How can you start getting more comfortable with wine?
Start The Conversation: Click Below to Share These Wine Tips
It’s one thing to love wine – and it’s a great thing – but you also need to ensure that you have the skills that would be a fit for one of the many careers that are in wine. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
Even in the last five years, the growth of the Canadian wine industry has been phenomenal. It seems like every week we hear about a new winery opening in Niagara or the Okanagan. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
Now it’s a much broader swath of people taking wine courses online and I think it’s because they had to get over the mental hurdle that they can be not only effective but also as or more enjoyable than in person. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
I think if you know your taste in food, you can start to explore your taste in wine through those flavours that you’re confident of when it comes to eating. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
Try the wine first, then go to the food and then afterwards go back to the wine and see what happened to the wine. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
Wine can infuse so many ordinary activities with a sort of special warmth that I think layers in those memories even more. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
Buy a mixed case of wines instead of always trying to find the one perfect wine or the one perfect pairing. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
About Susie Barrie and Peter Richards
- Connect with Susie and Peter
- My Books:
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 36: Airline Wine: Flights of Wine You Can Drink Without Reservations
- My new class The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner And How To Fix Them Forever
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Natalie MacLean 0:00
What I used to get were a lot of people who couldn’t commit to that one night a week, a physical course, maybe it was because they had kids and they needed the flexibility to stay home or go at their own pace; perhaps it was people who travelled a lot for business, I get lots of people checking in from hotel rooms and using the minibar and taking my courses that way. But now, it’s a much broader swath of people who are looking to take these courses online. And I think it’s because they had to get over the mental hurdle, that taking wine classes online is something that can be not only effective, but it can be as, or more enjoyable, than in person. There’s some things of course, we can’t replace about in person tasting. But there are so many more advantages to online courses, whether it is that flexibility or the ability to connect with people around the world who share your passion.
Natalie MacLean 1:00
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. I’m so glad you’re here. Now pass me that bottle please. And let’s get started.
Welcome to Episode 134. What’s my advice for those considering a wine career? Maybe that’s you. How did my biggest career regret happen before I became a wine writer? How has my father’s alcoholism influenced my relationship with wine? How has the pandemic impacted online wine courses? And, most importantly, can you pair ketchup chips with wine?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, we’re turning the tables, and Susie Barrie, who hosts the terrific Wine Blast podcast with her husband, Peter Richards, is interviewing me. In the show notes, you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class, where you can find me on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm, including this evening and next week. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/134.
On a personal note, before we dive into the show, I was sitting here at my desk this morning, hearing the birds outside my window live tweeting. I’m writing a segment for CTV Television, on pairing books and bottles for summer. That reminded me that I don’t often mention my previous books to you,: so if you are looking for a summer read, might I suggest Unquenchable: A Tipsy Search for the World’s Best Bargain Bottles. This is a romp around the world’s wine regions from Argentina to South Africa, with stories about doing weird things with witty winemakers, like tango dancing and shark diving, as we and you learn about wine. It’s available in paperback or as an e-book from any online bookstore on this planet.
My first book, Red, White and Drunk all Over: A Wine Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass, is also available as a paperback, e-book and audio book. Both books were named one of Amazon’s best books of the year and they both read a lot better when you’re sipping on wine. I’ll include links to where you can buy the books in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/134. Okay, on with the show.
Susie Barrie 4:32
Canadian wine, crisps and communication. That’s what we’re talking about in this episode of Wine Blast with me, Susie Barrie, and my husband and fellow Master of Wine, Peter Richards. And we’ve even got some prizes to give away in the show today, haven’t we?
Peter Richards 4:47
Yes, yes, yes. Hello and welcome everyone. How exciting to be doing something a bit different from our norm again. It all stemmed from our fellow wine expert and podcaster Natalie MacLean getting in touch and suggesting we do a bit of a podcast swap.
Susie Barrie 5:00
Absolutely. And we thought, well, this could be really interesting. So we’ve been on her show Unreserved Wine Talk and now she’s coming on to ours. We had a great chat, which we’ll come on to in a second, about all kinds of things, from how to get into wine as a second career, being a woman in the world of wine, and regrets and challenges, the best Canadian wines to buy; even, even pairing wine with ketchup crisps.
Peter Richards 5:30
How hard is it to say ketchup crisps? Can you say that 10 times in a row?
Susie Barrie 5:34
I have to do it slowly; ketchup crisps; I can’t do it.
Peter Richards 5:38
Even the concept is, I think, especially for you, it’s hard to get your mind around it.
Susie Barrie 5:42
Yeah, comparing wine with; well, it’s hard to get my mind around ketchup crisps, let alone pairing wine to them.
Peter Richards 5:48
So exactly where I want to go.
Susie Barrie 5:50
Yeah, of course. Yeah. Yep. So in this episode, we’re talking to Natalie McLean. Now, Natalie is a globally renowned wine communicator, she describes herself rather modestly, as an enthusiastic amateur. And I suppose that is true in the true senses of both words, and she is a proper wine lover, or amateur. And she’s also a tremendously enthusiastic champion of wine. The amount of things she does and achieves in her working life is enough to make your head spin, even without a glass of wine.
Peter Richards 6:22
Makes me want to have a lie-down.
Susie Barrie 6:23
So does everything; a lot of things do.
Peter Richards 6:29
But Natalie is based in Canada. And she runs that country’s largest wine review website, which is Natalie maclean.com. So she’s at the cutting edge of wine and Canadian wine too; I think it’s fair to say. She’s an award winning writer and author with two books to her name and just working on a third now as far as we understand and she writes exhaustively on food and wine pairings. She runs online wine courses and events, and her newsletter goes out to about 270,000 clearly very thirsty people. And she somehow finds time and energy to appear regularly on TV, on social media, she does Instagram and Facebook Live sessions every Wednesday evening, and she produces her brilliant Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, which we mentioned. Do check that out.
Susie Barrie 7:12
Now, let’s get on with the interview at Natalie from Ottawa and me in Hampshire that I started by mentioning that we’ve just done a Valentine’s podcast and we asked people how and when they first fell in love with wine. So I asked her how she first fell in love with wine.
Natalie MacLean 7:27
Well, there’ve been many memorable bottles. Perhaps the first one was a Brunello that my husband and I tasted at an Italian restaurant. But I also have the memory of this magical Rhône Valley Syrah. We had rented a cabin – that was our version of camping, that’s as much as I was going to do camping-wise – and this storm was blowing across the lake in front of the cabin. And I just remember, the windows were rattling, the rain was hitting the tin roof, it was coming down the chimney and sizzling in the fire. And we opened up this Rhône, full bodied, smoky wine, drinking it in front of the fireplace and I remember thinking: it can rain forever, I don’t care, and the more the wind whipped across the lake and the harder it rained, the more I loved that Rhône. It filled my senses, it was a magical evening, I’ll never forget that wine.
Susie Barrie 8:25
I think sometimes Rhône wines can be overlooked and under-estimated. But the northern Rhone is one of our favourites. So that was your moment – one of our early podcasts was how wine can be a career, or a second career, what would you say to people who maybe love wine and are intrigued and are wondering if they could make a career, or a second career, like you did, out of it?
Natalie MacLean 8:56
Absolutely. Explore it. Sometimes folks think: I love this, as a hobby, but could I get paid to do it? There are so many possibilities to do that, as you know Susie, you and I and Peter have made a living by being writers or commentators. But there are lots of careers: tour guides, tasting room personnel, winemakers. You have to think: what do I love, what skills do I have, what do I enjoy other than drinking wine?! And marry those skills up to a particular career. Because it’s one thing to love wine – and it’s a great thing! But you also need to ensure that you have the skills that would be a fit for one of the many careers in wine.
Susie Barrie 9:48
So continuing that theme, given you moved into wine as a second career, what’s your biggest regret of your career?
Natalie MacLean 9:56
Before I started and jumped into wine, I didn’t have the confidence to go to journalism school. I loved writing, that was my passion, going through elementary school and so on. But I just didn’t have the confidence to think I could ever get paid to write. So I didn’t go to journalism school, I got very practical, and got an MBA. We discussed this when I interviewed you folks on my podcast. There are similar notions – that, as a woman, you feel you need a credential, in my case an MBA, in your case the Master of Wine, to always know that I could be financially independent, could get a good job and so on. I was raised by a single mother in Nova Scotia, small town and she really taught me the importance of being financially independent. So I don’t regret doing the MBA but I just wish I’d had the confidence to go for that journalism degree as an undergrad.
Susie Barrie 10:55
And on a slightly more positive note then, what’s been the high point for you?
Natalie MacLean 11:00
Well, I think getting past that mental block as a woman. I know sometimes, personally, women friends tell me, we often discount ourselves out of a job before we even apply for it. I know I’m generalising. But when I went off on maternity leave for the birth of my son, about 20 years ago, I wasn’t writing, but I’d taken a sommelier diploma programme. But I knew I loved writing and I thought: I’m gonna take a flyer. I’m gonna pitch an article about wine on the internet to a local magazine. So instead of saying: oh no I could never do that. Maybe it was maternity brain that actually made me take that leap. But I was so glad that I did because that led to my career in writing about wine. And that’s why often when I talk with women: take a chance, even if you don’t have all the credentials or everything lined up, just try it. And see where it might lead….
Susie Barrie 1:58
And if you never give it a go, it’s never going to happen, is it?! So before we talk more about you, I’d love to ask you about Canada and Canadian wine. You’re speaking to us now from Ottawa, in Ontario. Now, Voltaire rather unkindly described Canada as, ‘a few acres of snow’… But I’d like to know how you would describe the country and its wine industry?
Natalie MacLean 12:23
Sure! Well Voltaire, my hat’s off to him, he’s great on philosophy but I wouldn’t trust him as a travel guide because no one would ever visit us! So yes indeed we do have lots of snow here but you learn to embrace the weather wherever you are, or you’re just miserable. Personally I enjoy the great indoors, as I tell Miles my partner, so rather than being outside skiing and snow-shoeing, I like to have the drinks ready for when everyone comes back from those activities. So I still love where we are. But in terms of the wine industry, that cool climate has a profound effect on the wines we produce. Our industry is relatively small. Perhaps like the English. We have around 700 wineries, 31,000 acres of vines planted, our main regions are Ontario and BC
Susie Barrie 13:22
And it’s grown quite a lot recently, in the last 30 years?
Natalie MacLean 13:26
Absolutely. Even in the last 5 years, the growth has been phenomenal. It seems like every week we’re hearing about a new winery opening in Niagara or the Okanagan.
Susie Barrie 13:41
Is that to do with climate change? We know it’s a cold country, England is cold so we know about that. Is that having an effect, a positive effect?
Natalie MacLean 13:50
I think it is. For example, 2020 was the hottest vintage here. And that’s happening in a lot of regions. So it was hot and dry. So the red wines we produce struggle to produce here, especially the fully bodied ones like Cabernet, ripened beautifully, so it’s gonna be a banner vintage for big reds. But at the same time, the ice wine harvest, for which we’re famous, dropped 30%. Because winemakers decided not to make ice wine, or it didn’t get cold enough. Of course, COVID has hit duty free sales in airports, and that’s where you buy a lot of your ice wine. But certainly climate change is impacting the decisions, not just about new wineries opening up but which grapes we’re planting and what types of wines we’re making.
Susie Barrie 14:38
We don’t see enough Canadian wines here in the UK. But what we do see can be very impressive. What would your tips be for what we and our listeners should be looking out for and trying to buy?
Natalie MacLean 14:52
I think our specialities are Riesling and Pinot Noir. Ice-wine is a given, it’s what we’re known for. Luscious golden elixir dessert wine. But Riesling and Pinot Noir thrive, as you know Susie in a cool climate. And we do them so well. They have that nervy, edgy acidity, that vibrancy, that aliveness in the glass, that I think makes them wonderful either on their own or as food partners. So those are the wines that I’d look for.
Susie Barrie 15:21
I’m not familiar at all with Canadian Riesling. Do they tend to be dry or semi sweet or a mix of the two?
Natalie MacLean 15:30
They tend to be either dry or slightly off dry. There aren’t really many sweet styles unless you jump all the way to ice-wine. So you tend to get fairly dry versions here.
Susie Barrie 15:42
So coming back to you, Natalie, and your personal experiences. To be fair, wine and alcohol haven’t always been a panacea for you – you mentioned before your father was an alcoholic. How has that experience shaped your approach to wine?
Natalie MacLean 15:59
It’s had a profound influence. I grew up in a Scottish East Coast family where wine wasn’t even part of the table. It was beer and whisky. Not that I was drinking it as a child! But wine wasn’t part of the culture. And it wasn’t until I got into university, even post uni, that I started to get into wine and appreciate it. And knowing that, there is an allure to wine beyond all of the heady topics we talk about, the way it intersects with so many fascinating subjects, there’s also the pure buzz of it. And so I like to say that’s why we don’t have orange juice critics. There’s something magical about wine and it ties everything together, and it illuminates all our senses, including those that love the buzz. So having a father who was an alcoholic really made me acutely aware of moderation and so on, and I believe now what you know and love and truly understand, you don’t abuse. What I mean by that is: if you can gain an appreciation for wine, if you learn about it, you can make your way to moderation through that appreciation. It’s why I teach wine and food pairing classes online as well.
Susie Barrie 17:18
I was going to ask you. Beautifully put. Wanted to touch more on your family – your mother and grandmother were teachers, and a big part of what you do is teaching online, particularly food and wine pairing classes. How has the pandemic changed what you do and how people are engaging with it?
Natalie MacLean 17:36
The pandemic has made many of us search for ways to use our time at home not just more productively but more enjoyably. We’re missing those experiences of travel and restaurants so we want to elevate the food and wine experience as much as we can at home. So what I’ve noticed is a real uptick in overall numbers of people enrolling on my courses. But also different people enrolling. What I used to get were people who couldn’t commit to that one night a week physical course. Maybe they had kids, and needed flexibility to stay home or go at their own pace, or people who travel a lot for business, checking in from a hotel room, using the mini bar and taking my courses that way! But now it’s a much wider or broader swathe of people looking to take these courses online. Because they had to get over the mental hurdle that taking wine classes online can not only be effective but it can also be as or more enjoyable than in person. There are some things of course we can’t replace about in person tastings, but there are so many more advantages to online courses, whether it is that flexibility, or the ability to connect with people around the world who share your passion. So I’m getting a lot more of those people. And the last group I’d say I’m getting a lot more people from the hospitality industry, furloughed or otherwise, who want to sharpen their pairing skills so they are better able to earn a living when they do get back to working in restaurants.
Susie Barrie 19:18
Now on that note, the whole food and wine pairing note. There are people who say: it’s sophistry, smoke and mirrors, a load of old rubbish. What is your response to that?
Natalie MacLean 19:29
Well, I think they are certainly entitled to their opinions, even if I don’t agree with them, obviously. But I think food is a lot less intimidating than wine. We go into a grocery store and we look at roast chicken and we don’t start worrying about which roast chicken to buy, where did it grow up, is it free range etc. Perhaps it’s because the choices aren’t as great as they are in wine. But I think we can bring people to wine through food first. And that’s what I try to do in the courses but also on my website. Because if you know what you love – your taste in food – you can start to explore your taste in wine through those flavours you’re confident of when it comes to eating food.
Susie Barrie 20:22
If you could recommend just one really easy fun food and wine combination for our listeners to try out, what would it be?
Natalie MacLean 20:29
Well, I like to suggest things or pairings that don’t even require cooking, as I’m not a cook myself. There are so many different types of cheeses that go so beautifully with wine and the combinations are almost infinite, so I’d suggest: get three of your favourite cheeses (a creamy cheese, a cheddar, a Brie, a blue, whatever it is you like) and maybe crack open a wine or two, depends on how many people are there, then just mix and match. You’ll be amazed at the flavour combinations you’ll get. And one tip I always say is: make sure you try the wine first, then go to the food, you can have your wine in the mouth at the same time if you want. Afterwards, go back to the wine. And what happened to the wine? And people always say: it’s totally changed, it’s smoothed out or something happened. And of course we know the wine hasn’t changed, but your perception of it has changed, and that’s magical for a lot of people to discover that.
Susie Barrie 21:25
Absolutely. What’s the weirdest food and wine pairing you’ve ever had?
Natalie MacLean 21:31
OkayK, this is a truly weird Canadian pairing. We have ketchup chips here, not sure if you have ketchup chips in England?
Susie Barrie 21:39
We have ketchup. And chips. But not sure about ketchup chips. Also, with chips I mean potatoes cut and cooked. Because I’ve had this experience before: chips are different from crisps.
Natalie MacLean 22:02
Oh it’s crisps! You’re right. So I’m talking about ketchup crisps then. I have a weakness for them. It’s an Achilles heel. I know that commercial ketchup is said to have more sugar than ice cream. So I thought: they will be sweet and ruin any dry wine. But I thought: for the sake of my readers, listeners, students etc, I’m going to try different wines. And what I discovered to my surprise is that these ketchup chips went beautifully with a dry Rosé. And the chips weren’t as sweet as I thought. And the strawberry, berry flavours of the chips went really well with the ketchup…now I don’t advise trying to slaver ketchup over French fries or crisps. That would be just cruel to your mouth. But this combination worked and it was completely weird and I loved it!
Susie Barrie 23:05
Peter’s favourite chips are sweet chilli which is sort of similar. They’ve got a sort of a slightly sweet tomato flavour to them. So maybe I’ll get him to crack open a bottle of dry Rosé and sweet Rosé and see what he thinks
Natalie MacLean 23:16
I want to know how that goes.
Susie Barrie 23:19
So finally: it’s not just food that you pair with wine is it?! Give us a sense of other things you like to pair with wine.
Natalie MacLean 23:26
We love to pair wine with music, especially while Miles is cooking and I’m pulling corks. And I’ll read him bits of the latest newspaper/magazine. We love to pair it with binge-watching Netflix. So we’re binge watching not binge drinking. There are so many shows on, we’ve spent a lot of time doing that during COVID. We love sitting out in the backyard watching the sunset, I know that sounds cliché but wine can infuse so many ordinary activities with some sort of special warmth that I think layers in those memories even more. Like that cabin in the woods. Because you’re touching on so many more senses, not just the visual of watching the sunset but you’re tasting, you’re feeling the wine, it’s seeping through your body, and that’s what makes memories.
Susie Barrie 24:23
You host your own brilliant podcast, we love it, Unreserved Wine Talk. Why did you decide to start a podcast? Was it a long time ago?
Natalie MacLean 24:37
I started near the end of 2018, been almost two years. But my love of the human voice goes back a lot further. It probably starts with my mother reading to me every night, bed time stories. So I was imagining the characters as I got sleepier. Even as a teenager I’d listen to satellite radio and it would blow in and out across the Atlantic, I was listening to the BBC, I loved their reporting and this whole other world they were talking about. So I’ve always loved the medium, of the human voice, it’s very intimate, you’re millimetres away from someone’s brain, it’s like: in the dark, pillow talk. And so that drew me to it. But I didn’t get started until 2018 because I had so many other projects. It was always in the back of my mind. But the driving force was definitely that love of the voice.
Susie Barrie 25:45
And so tell me now, you have your own podcast, tell me something that you particularly love, and equally, perhaps don’t like so much about podcasting?
Natalie MacLean 25:56
I love that it allows me to be nosy. I’m an introvert. And I ask questions on the podcast that I would not ask at a dinner party, even an impolite dinner party. I just wouldn’t open up that way. I love that it allows me into peoples’ lives in a deeper, more meaningful connection. The conversations you can have on a podcast go so beyond the weather etc. I’m also making up for lost time – I was such an introvert as a child, I spent so many hours, years in the corner, not talking, at parties, that now I’m making up for it! In terms of what I found challenging – we’re in a very technical field you could say, you can get a lot of the facts wrong about wine, like the type of oak, whatever. I don’t focus on the technical aspects of wine on my podcast, because I love story telling, but that said there’s a minefield of facts you can get wrong. So what I had to do was get past my own fear of looking stupid or my own fear of what will people think, she’s been writing about wine for 20 years and she doesn’t know that? So I have to retreat into, reassure myself that I’ll always be an enthusiastic amateur and that’s the best service I can be for my listener. A lot of my listeners won’t know those facts either.
Susie Barrie 27:30
Where you’ll probably never be imperfect is when you’re writing your books. And I just wanted to briefly ask you about that. You’ve already written two books and you’re on your third book now, a memoir, how is it different from your previous books and what can we expect?
Natalie MacLean 27:46
Well, a memoir is a different type of animal life. I’ve learned in trying to write this one or as I still progress in writing it in that, of course, it’s very personal. The first two books, I did write, from a first person perspective, they were all stories about gallivanting around the world and meeting odd winemakers and learning about wine through their stories But now, you know, I’m turning the camera on myself. That’s what a memoir is. And it’s very exposing, it can make you feel very vulnerable. But I think that’s a good challenge to try to understand who you are and why you did what you did. And I think people can still learn lots about wine. But now it’s from a much more intimate perspective. And the one thing that I had to learn was almost thinking about it like a movie script. So you have your opening shot, or you’re establishing shot, you have to think in scenes, as opposed to just one long exposition of I did this, I did that, like no one wants to read that. People want to be engaged almost as though they’re watching a movie. So even if they don’t know you, they can identify with conflict. You know, during this book, I got divorced. During this book, I suffered from depression. During this book, I had to deal with alcohol consumption. And so those major themes are just human themes. But trying to shape the narrative, as scene after scene after scene, as opposed to one long explanation is the challenge.
Susie Barrie 29:18
Finally, if you could give one tip to our listeners, what would it be?
Natalie MacLean 29:24
Just keep experimenting. One thing I advise my students to do is: when you go into liquor store, I know it can be intimidating, but just buy a mixed case of wines, rather than trying to find the one perfect wine or the one perfect pairing. And don’t be afraid to ask the liquor store staff. Say: I like this particular Rhône Syrah, what would you recommend in this price range, in this style. And maybe they’ll take you to who knows, an Argentine Malbec and broaden your horizons or maybe different wineries in the Rhône. Just de-risk the whole thing by getting a mixed case and then experiment and find some new favourites.
Susie Barrie 30:08
Natalie MacLean. Thank you so much for talking to us.
Natalie MacLean 30:11
Oh Susie, this was a pure delight.
Susie Barrie 30:17
So a couple of things to pick up on that.
Firstly, we should just clarify about our shows we mentioned at the start of the interview. Our Wine as a Career episode was series one, Episode Two and our Valentine’s podcast was our last one, series two, episode eight, in case you’d like to listen if you haven’t already. And but also, I thought interesting to hear Natalie encouraging women to have the courage of their convictions in terms of a career in wine and to just aim high. I mean, I absolutely agree with that. I really would. I also really liked her take on moderation through appreciation. That’s a really lovely way of putting it
Peter Richards 30:58
It is actually, it is a lovely turn of phrase and contains a very serious truth in there. But on a more lighthearted note, and I it’s hard to know where to start. When Natalie mentioned the Netflix binge watching , it definitely made me think that of your suggestion to Wine GB who’d asked as part of a social media campaign , wasn’t it, for a fun combination of a Netflix show with an English wine and you suggested the Queen’s Gambit with Kit’s Coty Chardonnay.
Susie Barrie 31:26
Well, I think I said they both offer a life affirming story of triumph over adversity
Peter Richards 31:32
It sounds like should be read by a man with a very gravelly voice
Susie Barrie 31:26
I think it was a bit dramatic. But you know, my point was, my point was, that Beth Harmon, the main character in the Queen’s Gambit, who everybody will know if they’ve seen it; It’s a brilliant show, by the way, if you haven’t, do watch it; and but somehow she manages to kind of overcome loss, addiction, and then a lot of patronising men, to become world chess champion. I mean, amazing. And at the same time, what I was trying to say was England is hardly the easiest place to grow great grapes and make world class wine. But people like Chapel Down are doing it. And I think more important than all of that, and my main point was that you can enjoy both of these things without being an expert in either chess or wine. They’re just both very enjoyable and particularly when you put them together.
Peter Richards 32:23
That’s another great, great pairing there. We’ve also talked about pairings; we did want to pick up very briefly on some more specific cheese and wine.
Susie Barrie 32:34
Well this is this is something that we just really love actually, don’t we, so we couldn’t resist actually picking up on it. Just to give you a bit more detail just on some of our favourites. We would suggest trying a really nutty rich, but savoury white wine, or a dry Amontillado sherry; I know they sound different but they work in a similar way; with a really, really hard flavoursome cheese and we personally like aged Gruyère, we love truffled Pecorino and we love Berkswell which is a ewes milk cheese from Warwickshire and it is delicious, or a good Cheddar, a really good Montgomery’s or something like that. But another option would be a very nice fresh goat’s cheese with a great Sauvignon Blanc, which I think is a classic match. And then finally just a bit of decadence, a creamy, salty, perhaps a little bit runny Blue, with Canadian Ice Wine
Peter Richards 33:26
That both terrifies me and excites me. Lovely
Susie Barrie 33:30
Absolutely, but it would it or cure, especially this time of year.
Peter Richards 33:35
So yeah, I think that’s what we got time for on this episode. Thank you very much to Natalie and do check out her Unreserved Wine Talk podcast and our website too. Thanks also to Vinum for this week’s wine and to Mission Hill.
Susie Barrie 33:45
Absolutely. And if you need something fun to do this weekend, don’t we all, why not try an Icewine? It may just change your life. Who knows? Until next time, stay safe and thanks for listening, and cheers.
Natalie MacLean 34:13
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Susie Barrie. In the show notes, you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class, links to where you can buy both my books, or one or the other. And if you do, by the way, I’d be happy to send you a personalised signed book plate. That’s whether you’re buying the books now or you have them on hand at home; just email me. You’ll also find in the show notes where you can find me on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm, including this evening and next week. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/134.
You won’t want to miss next week when I chat with Céline Bossart, a New York based freelance writer, editor, photographer and digital media specialist in the wine and spirits spaces, and particularly their socio-political dynamics. She’s a smart cookie, and she’s been published in Eater, Wine Enthusiast, Billboard, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, and many more.
Now, in the meantime, if you missed Episode 36, go back and take a listen. We’re starting to get back into travelling; Yay! And in this episode, I chat about airline wine, flights of wine that you can drink without reservations. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
Getting a wine to taste delicious at 30,000 feet isn’t easy. After a few hours, we get dehydrated, alcohols dehydrating effect compounds this and we lose up to 30% of our ability to taste, wines’ aromas are flattened, and any element that’s out of balance such as tannin or acidity is emphasised. The wine hasn’t changed. We have.
My dream flight begins with the wine selection. We’d like to direct your attention to the wine list in the seat pocket in front of you, says the airline attendant. You’ll note that we have a fine selection of first growth Bordeaux at the rear of the plane and a 40 year vintage of port is being decanted in the middle aisles. And for our first class passengers we have a vertical Château d’Yquem, 1945 through 1960, at the front of the plane.
Natalie MacLean 36:51
If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the tips that I shared. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week; perhaps a wine that pairs beautifully with ketchup chips.
Natalie MacLean 37:16
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 Nataliemaclean.com/subscribe. Meet me here next week. Cheers