Are you curious about trendy new wines like pet-nats and piquettes? Which lesser-known Croatian wine should you try? What are comfort wines and what do you pair with them?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m chatting with Kate Dingwall who writes about food and drink for Forbes, Toronto Life, The Toronto Star, Wine Enthusiast, among others.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
Join me for the debut Watch Party of the video of this conversation that I’ll be live-streaming for the very first time on Zoom on Wednesday, September 29th at 7 pm eastern.
You can save your spot for free right here. I’ll be jumping into the comments as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.
I want to hear from you! What’s your opinion of what we’re discussing? What takeaways or tips do you love most from this chat? What questions do you have that we didn’t answer?
- How have restaurant wine lists been impacted by the pandemic?
- Why have many restaurants had to sell off their cellars?
- What does the increased consumer wine education mean for restaurants?
- What are pét-nat wines?
- Why are pét-nat wines a fun, casual option?
- Which North American pét-nats does Kate recommend?
- Why should you try Piquette?
- What’s Kate’s approach to wine tasting?
- How can you pair shrimp chips with wine?
- What’s the weirdest food and wine pairing Kate’s ever had?
- Which Croatian wine does Kate believe deserves more attention?
- What’s Kate’s favourite wine book?
- Why would Kate love to share a bottle of wine with Salvador Dali?
- Which type of wine does Kate identify with the most?
- What’s Kate’s top wine tip for you?
- What is a fall comfort wine?
- Which comfort wines best suit fall comfort activities?
- Kate gave a great overview of trendy new wines like pet-nats and piquettes. I also enjoyed her take on Croatian wines to try.
- Restaurant lists and wine service are changing post-pandemic, from a reduced selection from having to sell off their cellars, to more educated consumers who know what they want.
- I loved her suggestions for weird wine pairings and look forward to trying shrimp chips.
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At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw lots of restaurants selling off their cellars to be able to keep the lights on. - Kate Dingwall Click to tweet
If you’re curating your wine programme smartly, you’re having limited allocation bottles that aren’t available to the regular consumer so people are excited and willing to pay for that. - Kate Dingwall Click to tweet
Pet-nats are not something you want to think too deeply about. They’re not something you want to overly criticize. They’re just fun, fresh, and very affordable. - Kate Dingwall Click to tweet
Historically, Piquette was what the winemakers and the field workers would drink. - Kate Dingwall Click to tweet
About Kate Dingwall
By day, Kate Dingwall is a seasoned writer and editor covering the intersection between spirits, business, culture and sustainability. By night Kate is a working wine professional. She’s a food and beverage business contributor at Forbes.com, the drinks writer at Toronto Life and The Toronto Star, a columnist at The Whiskey Wash, wine writer at MAXIM, and a regular contributor to Liquor.com and The Spruce. Her work also appears in Elle InsideHook, The Spruce, Liquor.com, Toronto Life (print + online), Eater, MAXIM, Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants (print + online), Porter Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Foodism (print + online), VinePair, DuJour, CultureTrip, and The Bourbon Review (print).
Outside of writing, she finished her Masters of Brand Management program with a thesis on innovation in the American wine world. She spent a large chunk of her career working in New York City and consulting with a variety of beverage and hospitality powerhouses in the realm of brand development. She is currently based in Toronto and is a wine server at one of Canada’s top restaurants.
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Kate Dingwall 0:00
It’s busy, it’s fresh, it’s low alcoholic. Historically Paquette was what the winemakers and the field workers would drink. Back in the day, you didn’t really have access to fresh water and people wanted to sip something while working, the fields are at lunch. So they make the catch. They handle everything around. It’s just made with the leftovers and re fermenting that. So because nothing for the wineries to make looking to today, it’s sustainable. He would have just thrown that out composted those leftovers, that’s why it’s having a bit of a moment right now. So it’s slightly sparkling refreshing, very aromatic, very easy to drink.
Natalie MacLean 0:43
Do you have a thirst to learn about wine, the love stories about wonderfully obsessive people, hauntingly beautiful places, and amusingly awkward social situations. 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 147. Are you curious about trendy new wines like pet gnats and bigots? Which lesser known Croatian wines should you try? And what are comfort wines? And what do you pair with them. You’ll get those answers and more wine tips in part two of our chat with Kate ding wall who writes about food and drink for Forbes Toronto life the Toronto Star and wine enthusiast among others. You don’t need to have listened to Part One last week before he listened to this one. But if you missed it, go back and take a listen after you hear this one. The interview portion today is a bit shorter than usual. So I’m including some bonus content on comfort wines at the end of this episode. in the show notes, you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation, links to both of my books and how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. And where you can find me on zoom Instagram, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm. That’s all in the show notes at Natalie MacLean comm forward slash 147. And just a side note, I will be hosting two very special wine tastings coming up ones on October 21. This is 2021. And it’s going to be on scary good pairings for Halloween it’s going to be a mix of Red, White rosy and sparkling wines and desserts Of course, so that you get lots of great pairings for those Halloween treats but also for savoury snacks like pretzels and chips and so on lots of fun. And then on December 2, I’ll be talking about holiday wines, whether it’s for gift giving, entertaining, or pairing wines with different courses, your turkey dinner, your cranberry sauce, and so on. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s free, it’s on zoom. And you’ll find the links for those tastings as well in the show notes addley mcclain.com forward slash 147. Now on a personal note, before we dive into the show, my mother and I just binge watch the chair on Netflix starring the wonderful Sandra Oh, as the first woman of colour to become Chair of the English department at a fictional us University. I absolutely love the inside look at academia. But even more her caustic one liners were just drop dead funny. Sandro’s performance is so onpoint as it is in several of my other favourite shows where she’s the star, especially killing Eve. Now if only someone would make a series going behind the scenes of the wine writing world. Oh, wait, that’s what I’m writing now with my memoir. Stay tuned. Okay, on with the show.
Natalie MacLean 4:15
As a sommelier, you’re now engaging with more educated consumers did COVID or the lockdown change your physical wine list or inventory in certain ways or not just a Dreyfus, but perhaps at other restaurants that you’ve noticed.
Kate Dingwall 4:29
There has been major shipping delays due to COVID due to that kind of entire supply chain. So I’ve seen a lot of restaurants, well, maybe things from Sicily are six months late or champagne is a certain amount late or so we’re seeing kind of a shortage in a line almost across the country. Well, probably across the world from just shipping general shipping delays. We’re not getting things as quick as we can. We’re not able to replenish lists as
Natalie MacLean 4:58
quick as we can So how do you fill that gap? That sometimes you’d
Kate Dingwall 5:03
have to look local, or make other solutions? It’s kind of a, you have to take it in stride and see what’s available. There’s not much we can do about a ship getting stuck in a canal around the world, which limits our champagne stock, etc. So kind of like everything has had to be over the last year taking things in stride.
Natalie MacLean 5:25
Absolutely. And I read where you wrote somewhere that, sadly, some restaurants that had fabulous deep lists of different vintages of particular wines had to sell some of that stock off just to stay in business. Were there many restaurants having to do that?
Kate Dingwall 5:42
We saw that a lot in major Real Property across North America at the beginning of the pandemic, when everything was kind of in flux. And no one knew how long this was going to last. Without in person guiding and some restaurants weren’t able to switch swap the takeout, we saw lots of restaurants selling off their sellers to be able to keep the lights on, which is a harrowing situation for them to have to go to. Although it was a very exciting opportunity for the home collector, because all of a sudden, we have access to fantastic like bottles that were have either been sitting for years, or were limited allocation in the first place. So you may have never even had the chance to own a bottle of that outside of drinking it at the restaurant. So if you’re a collector, it was an absolute free for all you probably were able to stock up on some fantastic bottles, but the restaurants, well, they did what they had to do to get through the last
Natalie MacLean 6:33
year. Sure. And because consumers are more educated, has there been any pushback or commenting on prices? Because now they’re very much aware of how much those bottles cost on the restaurant list and what the markup
Kate Dingwall 6:46
is. I’m interested to see how that plays out. I definitely aware of what things cost, although, if you’re curating your wine programme, smartly, you’re maybe having limited allocation bottles that aren’t available to the regular consumer. So people are excited and willing to pay for that. But I was thinking that recently, even I went out for a beer. I was like, I’m paying $12 for this beer, which I know costs $2 at the store. So that was a little, I guess I’m paying for the service. And I was happy to have that experience. But there’s that awareness. Now. We had to buy all our own wines for the last year. So we know how much everything costs.
Natalie MacLean 7:24
Right? Absolutely. And as they say, well, you probably know this adage. I’ve said it before but customers will eat you pour and drink you rich, the margins are all in the the beverages. All right, so let’s turn now to some trendy wines that you’ve written about. Tell us about pet Nat, pet net whines What are they? What does that stand for? And take it away. Let us know what those are.
Kate Dingwall 7:50
Well, pet night you could consider like a young baby version of champagne rather than the second round of fermentation happening outside of the bottle pet nets bottled while it’s undergoing that first round of fermentation. So also
Natalie MacLean 8:03
the first so it’s going to do the first and second in the bottle.
Kate Dingwall 8:08
Yeah, so it all happens in bottle which means it’s very kind of unrefined. It’s not as methodical a process as champagne but it’s very unrefined, loose, fresh, it’s quite an exciting category because rather than stick to the kind of palette of champagne, those you know your Chardonnay manye Pinot Noir avant winemakers are making Patna out of everything so we’re seeing sparkling happen across the board any grape variety you can ever imagine. It’s a very kind of low effort wine. I love popping one open like at a dinner party on a hot summer night. It’s not something you want to think too deeply about. It’s not something you want to overly criticise. It’s just fun, fresh, very affordable. I would never pay over maybe 25 bucks for a bottle of Patna, but it’s very fun. Over the last year of the stress, we had a wonderful kind of low effort option.
Natalie MacLean 8:57
Okay, and it stands for Petula natural or the natural ancestral method or something like that if I remember correctly, yeah. petiole natural. Okay, there we go. And do most wine regions make these pet mats or are they really mostly focused in wine regions that would do sparkling wines normally,
Kate Dingwall 9:18
you’re seeing a lot of really everywhere the style has been made similar style has been made in Diack so forever it for decades and decades and decades now, but it’s sorry, where’s kayak? South of France. Okay, the more historic like wine regions down at the bottom. I believe we’re right south of Bordeaux there. Okay. Yeah. So we’ve seen kind of similar style has been made for decades, but it’s kind of come to a bit category has really had a little bit of a moment over the last maybe decade and we’re seeing pets pop up everywhere. North America is having a big moment with it, but I’ve had some really fantastic ones out of Oregon out of the finger. lakes regions as well. Ontario has a few producers.
Natalie MacLean 10:04
Who would you recommend in Canada and the US just a couple of winery names that come to mind.
Kate Dingwall 10:10
I love the marine it’s a project out of Oregon I believe eautiful like dark red pet now it’s like a lot of kind of texture and character to them. trail estates has one that’s always really fun out of Ontario as well. And trainer, right to our county has some fun options. Very low effort, affordable bottles, great introductory to the category.
Natalie MacLean 10:32
Oh, that’s great. And you were saying earlier you know, the first fermentation happens inside the bottle are there actually two fermentations or just one and that first one takes place inside the bottle or even it’s just the one? Just the one Okay, great. So therefore, they’re not disgorging all the dead yeast cells, so it’s probably there’s lots of little floaty bits in these things. Are
Kate Dingwall 10:53
there lots of floaty bits?
Natalie MacLean 10:55
Okay, nothing to be afraid of. That’s the stuffing. That’s the taste. I always say it’s kind of like the pan where you’re trying to get the last bits of fat or onion after you’ve been frying. It’s all the umami and the flavour is in the floaty bits. Yeah, exactly. texture. Yeah, exactly. And so are they usually closed with a? What do they call it a crown cap versus a mushroom? cork as well?
Kate Dingwall 11:19
Yeah. These are very much not meant for ageing. Okay, so they don’t really need that cork.
Natalie MacLean 11:26
Okay, let’s talk about another wine that’s new and trendy. I believe it’s a still wine. I haven’t written about either of these two yet. So I’m relying on you and asking very basic questions here. Okay, but what is p cat?
Kate Dingwall 11:41
So he can actually another one having a moment right now it’s a low ABV. I don’t even know if you can technically call it wine because it’s so low alcohol. It’s made by re fermenting the extra kind of dredges and palmaz of that winemaking process. So all the seeds, the skins and the pulp that’s left after the juice has been pressed. So you’re re fermenting that it’s fizzy, it’s fresh, it’s low alcoholic. Historically, Paquette was what the winemakers and the field workers would drink. Back in the day, you didn’t really have access to fresh water and people wanted to sip something while working the fields are at lunch. So they made the catch. They had everything around. It’s just made with the leftovers and re fermenting that. So because nothing for the wineries to make looking to kind of today it’s sustainable, you would have just thrown that out composted those leftovers, so it’s I think that’s why it’s having a bit of a moment right now. So it’s slightly sparkling, refreshing, very aromatic, very easy to drink.
Natalie MacLean 12:42
Kind of like nose to tail cooking, using all the parts of the wine.
Kate Dingwall 12:45
Exactly. What a winemaker I really like Martha Stewart out in California actually was saying that yesterday, there composting didn’t arrive in time. So she’s like, I guess we’ll make some big hat. Rather than throw everything out.
Natalie MacLean 13:00
That’s great. And so it’s the grapes and the skins and the leftovers. Would that make the wine taste a little bitter?
Kate Dingwall 13:07
red tail out in the county sweetens there’s But no, it’s just not very concentrated. It’s just like light and refreshing. So it’s not as concentrated as you would get. So not really better.
Natalie MacLean 13:19
Okay, and so alcohol wise, would it clock in around? I don’t know, five 6%? Or what would it be?
Kate Dingwall 13:25
It depends on the producer anywhere between three and 10.
Natalie MacLean 13:29
Okay, okay, but definitely lower than average table wines of 12 to 14%. So that is refreshing.
Kate Dingwall 13:36
It is nice if you’re kind of conscious of your consumption. Or if you’re drinking during the day. It’s a really nice alternative.
Natalie MacLean 13:42
Awesome. So let’s talk about your tasting process. Your home must be filled with wine bottles, how do you approach tasting wine with all the samples and things that you must receive?
Kate Dingwall 13:52
I kind of try and mark a day by week where I do everything at once, just so I can have kind of comparative options. I try and do things with friends as well. My partner doesn’t drink. So I’ll usually have a drink with friends and I love to have another palette weigh in on things just to remove any bias I may have. So I try and kind of have friends also in my wine circle, try things.
Natalie MacLean 14:15
And do you just process wise? Do you taste whites first then reds or do reverse those are? Are there any sort of approaches you use?
Kate Dingwall 14:23
I try and group everything together. So if I am, I need to look at whites. I’ll try and just do all the whites in one day and reds in another.
Natalie MacLean 14:31
Okay, great. Yeah, that is good for comparison. Do you ever find it hard to turn off the critical mind when you’re drinking wine like just even for pleasure?
Kate Dingwall 14:40
Absolutely. I was with one of my friends last night and he’s making wine. And I obviously thought it would be a lot worse what it was but immediately My mind goes to like oh, like going through my own tasting notes. So it’s definitely hard to turn off sometimes, but I can
Natalie MacLean 14:56
do it. That’s good. So let’s just do some sort of quick answers lightning round. Is there something that you believe about wine that there might be others who would disagree with you on that point? One of
Kate Dingwall 15:11
my dear family friends is a firm believer that he will only drink Old World wine. So we’ve had a continuous conversation where I bring bottles from a region that isn’t France to try and get him interested. We’re still going back and forth on this. I haven’t really had a win on that one. But to be excited about we’ve continued to have that kind of new world versus old growth. discussion.
Natalie MacLean 15:38
Oh, that’s good. Keep trying. Do you have a favourite childhood food that you love that today you might enjoy? And which wine would you pair with it?
Kate Dingwall 15:49
Growing up I love shrimp chips. Oh, shrimp chips, bags and bags and bags of them. So today still on a Sunday night if I’m kind of watching movies or get in my pyjamas and open a bag and I really love pairing them now with like a super oxidative dura white really well and balances out that kind of like shrimp umami. Nature’s
Natalie MacLean 16:12
Oh, that’s great. Darrelle why is that the name of the winery or region? Oh, Jura. Sorry, didn’t pick it up. Okay, dry in France, right? Yeah, okay. And shrimp chips. I’ve never heard of those. I’m gonna have to look for those. Sounds delicious APL. Cool. What’s the weirdest wine pairing you’ve ever had?
Kate Dingwall 16:32
I was in China in well, Macau for work a few years back and we were doing a big hot pot dinner with some friends there and they insisted on pairing everything with like blonde blonde champagne. And I was really weird move, but it works. So well. A cutthroat like the fattiness and the richness so perfectly and I now I’m such an advocator well for champagne bubbles with everything but that was a really nice one.
Natalie MacLean 16:58
Oh, awesome. There wasn’t any that did not work like any of their dishes that did not work with bla bla bla.
Kate Dingwall 17:03
It worked really well through everything. It was nice. We got everything the full spread of it. And it just worked so well through everything we were throwing in that Hall pod.
Natalie MacLean 17:14
Oh wow. And blonde blonde just for those who are listening who may not know is white wine made from white grapes. So usually if we’re talking champagne, it’s 100% Chardonnay grapes. Okay, and so do you have a memorable wine that you were ever given as a gift? That’s that
Kate Dingwall 17:31
Panetta story. I had a I was going on to travel throughout Europe for a couple different trips so I wasn’t able to bring any wine home I just had so many internal flights would have ended up costing me a hilarious amount of money to bring wine home through checking bags so I wasn’t able to bring any home so I had a friend recently Find me a bottle from that. That winery I had mentioned earlier a bottle of Kava from them and managed to track one down and gave it to me for my birthday and I was very excited.
Natalie MacLean 18:02
Oh nice, very thoughtful. What is your favourite wine that probably few of us I’ve ever heard of.
Kate Dingwall 18:10
I’ve been really loving Sterling recently from Croatia refreshing and bright but it takes on skin contact really well to it gets this really beautiful herbaceous like salty like savoury nature to everyone that sits on the skins for an extended period of time. So does both things very well.
Natalie MacLean 18:27
Oh, well. Is that Scarlet? Did you say
Kate Dingwall 18:29
Scarlett SK Rl et out of Croatia?
Natalie MacLean 18:33
Okay, and that’s the name of a grape.
Kate Dingwall 18:35
It’s the name of a great Okay, there
Natalie MacLean 18:37
we go. Um, what would you pair with it?
Kate Dingwall 18:39
That seafood? like okay,
Natalie MacLean 18:41
Kate Dingwall 18:42
what grows together goes together I’ve also been absolutely Florida two out of Spain like a really kind of true so but not at a true so price silky light red. Nice. We’re kind of like these in between late summer days.
Natalie MacLean 18:56
And what do you mean by trousseau?
Kate Dingwall 18:58
It is the Spanish version of yourself.
Natalie MacLean 19:00
Okay, okay. Yeah, great. Do you have a favourite wine book?
Kate Dingwall 19:06
I really loved Italian wine grapes by Ian diganta. It’s a massive honking book. Like there’s so many beautiful stories about producers, grapes, and something you can continue reading for years and years and years and always find some new information outside of Mm hmm.
Natalie MacLean 19:20
And he’s a marvellous writer. He’s also a doctor by training and a Canadian. Yay.
Kate Dingwall 19:25
I know there’s that nice little connection.
Natalie MacLean 19:28
You find them everywhere you go, Kate. If you could share a bottle of wine with anyone living or dead? Who would that be in which wine would you share?
Kate Dingwall 19:40
I think Salvador Dali. I know you’re familiar with this, but he has a series of wine and cookbooks and they’re absolutely wild. He’s written an entire book online, which not a lot of people know I actually have. I have the cookbook. I have not been able to track down the wine book and it’s just fast. It’s really, really interesting. So I’d love to, I’d let him bring the wines. He clearly knows some stuff. But yeah, he has just very odd. Salvador Dali esque recipes. It’s a very fascinating read. And I’d love to hear what he has to say about wine. So Salvador
Natalie MacLean 20:17
Dali, he was, I don’t know if you call them abstract, but he had the sort of melting clocks and things right realist. Yeah. surrealist. There you go. There’s your art background. And where was he from? Was it Spain? Oh, okay. Interesting. I have to look for that book. All right. And if you could be any wine, Kate, which wine would you be? And why?
Kate Dingwall 20:41
Probably some sort of sparkling pet not I’m very bubblies. Yes.
Natalie MacLean 20:47
Perfect. Great choice. And not to be a downer or anything. But I always find this an interesting question. Which one would you like to be served at your funeral? Which is a long time from now? Yes.
Kate Dingwall 21:00
bubbles in everyone’s hands in the gap. And funerals should be a place of celebration of life. So my want everyone’s drinking bubbles.
Natalie MacLean 21:09
Awesome. And what’s one wine tip you could share with us now something for us to try this week. Piece of one advice you find useful or helpful.
Kate Dingwall 21:19
I kind of really back on that like the started true. So situation, I kind of look at where grapes are produced outside the region. Like you can get some really beautiful kind of true SOS outside of gerar traditional trousseau areas. So just think about regions. Think about where wines are made. And think about kind of different, where new ones are made. It’s
Natalie MacLean 21:42
great. Terrific. All right. Well, this has been fabulous. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to mention, Kate?
Kate Dingwall 21:50
No, I think we’ve had a really kind of interesting, Chad was an absolute pleasure to finally get to meet you and find them chat through line.
Natalie MacLean 21:58
Absolutely. Kate, this has been wonderful. Where can people find you online?
Kate Dingwall 22:02
My website, Kate. hyphen. demo.com is a great place to kind of read through some of my old work and will direct you to my social media as well, which is at my name. Very creative
Natalie MacLean 22:14
at Kate doing well. And so your website, Kate hyphen, ding well, calm wants it. Awesome. Well, thank you, Kay. I really appreciate this. Some great stories and tips. Can’t wait to chat with you again soon. I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you so much. Thanks, Kate.
Natalie MacLean 22:35
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Katie. Well, here are my top takeaways. Number one, Kate gave a great overview of trendy new wines like pet nets and P cats. I also enjoyed her take on Croatian wines to try. Number two, restaurant lists and wine service are really changing post pandemic from reduced selection because the restaurants had to sell off their sellers, to more educated consumers who know what they want, and have experienced ordering wine directly online. And three, I loved your suggestions for weird wine pairings and look forward to trying those shrimp chips. We heard.
Natalie MacLean 23:16
Since this is a shorter interview than usual, I’m going to chat now about comfort wines. Finally, I had the assignment that will Give full vent to my scientific mind to define and recommend for comfort wines that would suit our comfort activities. The research would be vast, a breakthrough in this field would be bigger than cold fusion. I could envision my glorious future, publishing my seminal book uncomfort wines, with a foreword by Dr. Sarah Renaud, the famous French scientist whose French paradox studies established some of wines health benefits. snapping out of my reverie I went down to my laboratory, the wine cellar to begin investigation. The hypothesis to prove first was whether or not there were wines that were not comfort wines. After some experimentation I concluded there were no uncomfortable winds or winds for discomfort. Since I found them all have great comfort, which itself was discomforting How would I narrow the field. Next I turned to the previous papers put forward in the comfort wine research community with titles such as the winds of winter and what to drink when the temperature drops and the incisive warm Tipples for cold nipples. leafing through these articles I spotted several hypotheses that had to be explored before reaching firm conclusions. The first was that it seemed all fall winds were best consumed while chatting with friends and cable knit sweaters by crackling fires with Irish setters at your feet. The repeated references to these prerequisites could Not simply be a coincidence, or a collective lack of imagination. So I decided to simulate this first fall comfort activity. Since I had dropped all science courses in grade 12, choosing to take more marketable courses such as Russian literature and comparative world religions. My scientific method was admittedly a bit rusty. I ended co opting a couple of neighbours who are raking leaves outside. After insisting they first go home and put on snuggly sweaters. We all sat glowing radiantly in front of the fireplace. The temperature in the house was already 29 degrees, and the fires heat started to blast us in waves, not unlike those in the movie backdraft. While I poured, I explained that we were searching for wines that were familiar to us, as often we turn to the familiar for comfort. I also mentioned that these wines wouldn’t be described as intellectual, nor would they have aromas of wet violets, yet they were not bland or unchallenging. They resonated with deep, warm layers of fruit. my neighbours looked at me with curiosity, but they were appreciative of the free drinks. We found a number of wines fitting this description, especially those from Australia, where it’s several regions of warm climate results in concentrated wines with lots of fruit. By this time, we had peeled off our layers down to our T shirts, but we’re finding great comfort in the wines. Thus, my first apotheosis was proven fleshy ripe wines from Australia can be considered Vall comfort wines, whether you’re wearing a lopi sweater or not, and a fluffy cat is an adequate substitute in the absence of an Irish setter. After the neighbours trooped off, I placed a bottle of Valpolicella the quintessential easy drinking wine from Italy on the table. My next hypothesis to prove was that not all comfort wines have to be heavily extracted with high alcohol, especially when you want to sip them over an entire evening, the fall equivalent of coughing on the patio in the summer. I concentrated on the bottle and whispered my observations into a small dictaphone, which for comfort activity would best suit sipping the wine. I became unsettled with the strangeness of this activity, so I decided to call the local newspapers movie critic, whom I do not know. But who happened to answer his phone that day, I wanted to get a movie recommendation. Turns out he likes il postino. The postman happy coincidence, since I happened to be tasting a northern Italian read. These wines complimented the film’s warmth and intimacy with their rounded flavours of black cherries and plums and a smoky finish. My second hypothesis was correct. low alcohol wines are suitable comfort wines, and the bonus is that you do not end up believing yourself to be a minor character in the movie. Next, I started wandering around the house in search of more comfort activities. My eyes glazed over looking at the books on the shelves. Again, I decided to call someone I didn’t know especially since one is always better turning to experts for leisure matters. The reason why why writers are spreading faster than phylloxera. A local bookstore owner suggested 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which follows several generations of a Latin American family. Time to test my third hypothesis, anyone can pair wine with food, but only those with too much time on their hands, try to pair wine with literature. To do this, I searched for wines that were made in South America by several generations of the same family, preferably from the small northern Colombian village called Macondo, the novel setting However, after several hours of scouring the shelves at the local liquor store, a product consultant was kind enough to tell me the village was fictional, and gently pointed me in the direction of Chilean wines. I picked up several Chilean reds hoping to find aromas that would trigger the novel’s subtext like Marcel Proust’s memory enhancing Madeleine. They didn’t help with the textual analysis, but they did have a subtle texture with lots of ripe fruit. Though it was feeling pretty pleased with myself by this time, I had to press on in the name of science. There was one last hypothesis to be tested. Whether mirlo was the only wine mellow enough for jazz music. a staff member at the local music store answered my phone and suggested I listened to all for you a dedication to the Nat King Cole trio by British Columbia native Diana Krall girls music call for something luscious compliment the singer sultry voice so I started with him or her Whoa. And it worked. But could a cab or a zoom be equally jazzy? Turns out they went just fine too. I even tried a little fizz with my friend Fram sauce, some sparkling wines from California, BC and Ontario. I knew now, I had just opened up new vistas of Venus possibility for jazz lovers. After a long day in the laboratory, it was time to write up my findings. I had discovered that while there are no uncomfortable wines, there are certainly those that work especially well when you want something warmly familiar. But don’t take my word for it, prove it to yourself.
Natalie MacLean 30:38
So that’s my tongue in cheek take on a topic that seems to come up every fall. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. in the show notes, you’ll find a link to the full transcript of my conversation with Kate, how you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. links to both of my books, and where you can find me on zoom, Insta, Facebook, and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm. And that’s all in the show notes at Natalie maclean.com forward slash 147. And don’t forget about those extra special tastings coming up. Save your spot soon for scary good pairings on October 21 and holiday hosting and gifting on December 2. Next week, you won’t want to miss our chat with the witty and wise Elizabeth Schneider host of the wine for normal people podcast. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 38 go back and take a listen. I chat about getting hammered a wine auction guide to survival, especially since many auctions take place in the fall. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite. Wine auctions are about more than investing or collecting or even fundraising, smelling and sipping your wine may satisfy your civilised nature, but only hunting and competing for a bottle can quiet those deeper, atavistic urges. It’s the difference between buying frozen couplets at the grocery store and tracking your kill on the Serengeti. I’m out for big game tonight. I lays there a shaft of concentration between the auctioneer and me my hand becomes a pack animal with which I hunt side by side rising and falling. A hot primal fluid swells up into my reptile brain willing me to snatch that bottle and run it back to my lair. If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who be interested in the tips Kate shared or in the whole scientific field of comfort wines. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a comfort wine.
Natalie MacLean 33:00
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 comm forward slash subscribe. We’ll be here next week. Cheers