How did my first sip of “fancy wine” jump-start my thirst for wine knowledge and experiences? Why is this a perfect time for you to take an online wine course? Why is it hard to pair certain vegetables, like asparagus, with wine? What juicy, behind-the-scenes insights will you read in my upcoming third book? What’s it like being a woman in the wine world?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m being interviewed on The Connected Table with Melanie Young and David Ransom.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
- Why did my first sip of “fancy wine” start my thirst for wine knowledge and experiences?
- How did I get started with Highland dancing?
- Which aspects of dancing have helped me to develop as a wine writer?
- Can wine help you to connect the various aspects of a liberal arts education?
- Why is this a perfect time for you to take an online wine course?
- Why will you find it hard to pair certain vegetables, like asparagus, with wine?
- Which wine should you choose to perfectly complement difficult to pair vegetables?
- How can my online food and wine pairing course help you to improve your wine skills?
- What juicy, behind-the-scenes insights will you read in my upcoming third book?
- What’s it like being a woman in the wine world?
- Which amazing Canadian food and wine pairing do you have to try?
- Which iconic Canadian wineries should you visit on your next trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake?
- What wine regions would make the ultimate cross-border pairing in wine travel?
Start The Conversation: Click Below to Share These Wine Tips
When I took that first taste of Brunello, I thought I need to know more about this, I need to know at least how to talk about it. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
I wanted to find out more because it seemed to me that wine could be the hub of liberal arts education with its link to science, religion, the arts and commerce and so on. It had an encyclopedic fascination for me. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
Online learning can overcome so many obstacles that you would encounter with a physical course. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
Vegetables, especially like asparagus and artichokes, they have natural compounds in them that make wine taste sweeter than it is. So they can really wreak havoc on the taste of the wine and the pairing overall. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
You can have just one instrument or you can have a whole orchestra playing in your mouth if you are pursuing or experimenting with some great food and wine pairings. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
About Melanie Young and David Ransom
Melanie says her first wine education event was at the age of 15. “My dad was a wine educator in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for more than 30 years and taught me to taste and drink both well and responsibly. For a public speaking class at my high school, I decided to teach fellow students how to open and serve a bottle of wine. I came to school that day wearing my tastevin around my neck and carrying a bottle of wine. A lineup of teachers stood in the back of the classroom watching me with interest as I started to demonstrate my special skill. The thing is, being underage, they would not let me open the wine!”
Melanie’s articles on wine, spirits, food and travel have been published in Wine4Food, The Epoch Times, Wine Enthusiast, Seven Fifty Daily, Jewish Week and several food industry trade outlets. Melanie is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, the Wine Media Guild. She has spoken and/or moderated panels on career reinvention, building your brand and women in the industry.
David’s story in wine began with his father’s love of wine leading to the family buying a winery in New York State in the 1980s. “We all jumped in together and started Rivendell in 1987,” says David, “and I got to name it.” Rivendell, named after the House of the Elves in J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings, went on to become New York’s top award-winning winery while the Ransom family owned it, getting top honors from critics, as well. Outside the winery business, David has been involved in the education, promotion and marketing of wines and spirits across the country for over 30 years.
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Transcript & Takeaways
Welcome to episode 103!
How did my first sip of “fancy wine” spark a passion for it? Why is now the perfect time for you to take an online wine course? Why is it hard to pair certain vegetables, like asparagus, with wine? What juicy, behind-the-scenes insights will you read in my upcoming third book?
That’s exactly what you’ll discover in this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. I’m being interviewed on The Connected Table with Melanie Young and David Ransom. The couple interviews those around the world whose work has helped shape the food and beverage industry, such as chefs, artisan producers, vintners, master distillers, authors, farmers, food/beverage industry thought leaders, and in this case, yours truly.
You can find links to where you can find me on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm, including this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published — we’re tasting some terrific wines to pair with turkey and all the sides dishes plus a link where you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class — that’s all in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/103.
Now on a personal note before we dive into the show…
Last week’s episode took me back to my childhood home of Nova Scotia. I chatted with Jean Benoit Deslauriers, Head Winemaker at Benjamin Bridge in the Gaspereau Valley.
I remember summer afternoons, playing on the beach, running into the water, then letting the sun’s rays warm and dry my body as I fell asleep on a blanket that my grandmother had made…
… it smelled like her and I loved nuzzling in it. The water plays just as big a part of the growing and maturing of the wines we explored last week so go back and take a listen if you missed it.
Okay, on with the show!
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my chat with Melanie and David.
I won’t recap my own observations because that would be weird.
You won’t want to miss next week when we chat with the Godfather of Zin, Joel Peterson, founding winemaker of Ravenswood Winery in California. He is a rakish story-teller, provocateur and sometimes a heckler of the wine industry. But he also helped make Zinfandel the runaway phenomenon it is today.
In the meantime, if you missed my Secret Book Club Reading of Red, White and Drunk All Over in episode 6, go back and take a listen. You’ll hear a few more stories from my mysterious wine past. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wine tips that I shared.
You can find links to where you can find me on Facebook live every second Wednesday at 7 pm, including this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published — we’re tasting some terrific wines to pair with turkey and all the sides dishes plus a link where you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class — that’s all in the show notes at nataliemaclean.com/103.
Thank-you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week, perhaps a wine that brings back a great memory for you!
Natalie MacLean 1:01
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? 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 103. How did my first sip of fancy wine spark a passion for wine in general? Why is now the perfect time for you to take an online wine course? Why is it difficult to pair certain vegetables like asparagus and artichoke with wine? And what juicy behind the scenes insight will you read in my upcoming third book? That’s exactly what you’ll discover in this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast. I’m being interviewed on the Connected Table with Melanie Young and David Ransom. The couple interviews those around the world whose work has helped to shape the food and beverage industry such as chefs, artisan producers, vintners, distillers, authors, farmers, food and beverage industry thought leaders, and in this case, yours truly.
You can get the link to where you can find me on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at 7pm including this evening if you’re listening to this podcast on the day it’s published, or tasting some terrific wines to pair with turkey and all the side dishes. Plus there’s a link where you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/103 .
Now on a personal note, before we dive into the show, last week’s episode, took me back to my childhood home of Nova Scotia. I chatted with Jean Benoit Deslauriers, head winemaker at Benjamin Bridge in the Gaspereau Valley. I remember summer afternoons in Cape Breton, Baddeck to be specific, playing on the beach, running into the water, and then letting the sun’s rays warm and dry my body as I fell asleep on a blanket that my grandmother had made. It smelled like her and I loved nuzzling in it. The water plays just as big a part of the growing and maturing of the wines we explored last week. So go back and take a listen if you missed it. Okay, on with the show.
Melanie Young 3:50
Welcome to the Connected Table live. We’re your hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom, your insatiably curious culinary couple. Each week, we bring you the dynamic people who work front and centre and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. We lead a pretty delicious life and we love sharing in all of your listeners. We’re gonna dive right in. And we’re really excited about our guests. David and I just spent the last almost three weeks up in northern New York, near Buffalo and Niagara and the Finger Lakes; just gorgeous. Well, Canada was like, a fingertip away. So close. And we so wanted to go there and everybody who follows us said “Did you get to Canada? Did you try the Canadian wine Did you get to Canada?” And the answer, of course is No. Because
David Ransom 4:36
the funny thing is we’re in a pandemic. We kept saying we’re going to Niagara and everybody said “Oh, the Niagara Escarpment it’s such a great wine region!” But it was actually the Niagara County region we went to, which is also part of the Niagara Escarpment, but it’s on the US side in northwestern New York. So we were there but on the US side.
Melanie Young 4:51
So we decided to bring a taste in the spirit of Canada to our show today, and we’re excited about it because our guest is someone that I’ve known for a really long time. Back in the day when I started the James Beard awards, and we are on our mailing list and follow her all the time, but we’ve never connected with her on the Connected Table live. And it’s kind of an honour because she has one of the top rated wine podcasts in North America, according to the New York Times, and she is a multi award winning wine journalist. In fact, she is the only wine journalist to have won both the M.F.K Fisher distinguished writing award for the James Beard Foundation and Les Dames d’Escoffier International. I’m a member. She also has one of the top, if not the top, online wine courses in North America. That’s pretty good. Right? We’re talking about Natalie MacLean, who joins us from Canada today. We’re going to talk about our favourite topic, wine, but also her amazing career. And I think Natalie is one of the pioneers in what I call online education in wine, don’t you, David? I do. Yeah, yeah. She’s been doing it longer than everybody. But you would never know it if you looked at her. So Natalie, welcome to the Connected Table live.
Natalie MacLean 6:07
Melanie and David, it is so good to be with you and to connect with you again here.
Melanie Young 6:12
Yeah, it’s been you know, I hadn’t been in touch with you for a long time; you were constantly in my radar when I was running the James Beard awards; because you were always being nominated or winning an award.
Natalie MacLean 6:21
And that was a fun time; back in the Palaeolithic age of online wine.
Melanie Young 6:29
Back in the day, back in the day, yeah. So we’ve been listening to one of your books, Red, White and Drunk All Over; the audio version. It’s so much fun because you have such a sybaritic, sensual way of talking about wine. We want to know this, like that first kiss of true love; not the sloppy date one. What was that first sip of wine that made you realise you want to pursue a career in wine?
Natalie MacLean 6:51
Well, it certainly wasn’t the first sip I ever had, which was behind the high school portable and gave me a searing sugar headache the next day. That was some sort of Baby Duck or Donald Duck or whatever. But it was it was the first fancy wine I had after graduating from school. So my husband to be at the time, and I, started to go out for dinner. And we went to a small Italian restaurant in Toronto around the corner from our apartment. And the waiter said, “Would you like to try the Brunello?” And we thought, yes, that sounds like a great pasta dish. And he brought over this gorgeous, ruby red, full bodied Italian wine. There was no sniffing and sipping, none of the ceremony of wine, he just poured it into tumblers. andan I just remember taking it up; you know, raising the glass and thinking, “Oh, my gosh, what’s this?” Because I was smelling it. And then I tasted it. And it was like, oh, my goodness, like this is just, I need to know more about this because I grew up on the East Coast, Scottish family, beer and whiskey. So wine wasn’t part of my world. And when I took that first taste, I thought I need to know more about this, I need to know at least how to talk about it. And that sort of drove me to drink. And I’ve never turned back since.
Melanie Young 8:05
It was like your Julia Child moment, remember? and Julia, Julia and Julia had what was that? She had this fish dish. And she just went Ah, and that was it. Right? So it was your Brunello?
Natalie MacLean 8:18
Yeah, everybody has that, you know, whether it’s food or wine, it’s just that moment that fills your senses and you’re overwhelmed. And I think we always try to recapture that in every article we write and every taste that we take, but it’s that heightened sensory experience that just never leaves you
David Ransom 8:38
You’re so right. And you couldn’t have obviously had a better wine to have that moment with. Melanie and I are both huge fans of Brunello and made a number of trips over to the region in Italy, in Tuscany, to tour the vineyards and talk to the producers of Brunello; it’s just a great spot and they make fabulous wines.
Melanie Young 8:53
Yeah, I’m interested that you come from Scottish roots because you also dance the Highland fling; you trained in a very classical education. And I read somewhere in one of your bio’s that you are a Highland dancer. Is that true?
Natalie MacLean 9:07
Yes, it is. Although I’ve traded in my dancing slippers for tumbler glasses, but I trained throughout my childhood, I went very early to the Gaelic College in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where I learned mostly to pick strawberries, but in between times how to do the Highland dancing, the various dances, the sword dance, the sling, and so on. And it was very much part of my Scottish culture. And so wine just wasn’t on the family table. It came much later in life, but the dancing days I think, imparted a certain discipline that I was able to carry over into the writing once I was able to harness those feelings and words around wine.
Melanie Young 9:47
It’s interesting you actually said your Dad, you know, was a drinker and that was hard for you to reconcile. So I think it’s interesting you went into it and you have such a great approach and you know, it’s not always a break into the business and you actually you were told that when you said you wanted to get into it, “Can you make a living doing this? Or do you have to have another day job?” Did you have a day job for a long time before you broke into the business and started to make it sustainable for yourself?
Natalie MacLean 10:13
I did. I did. Well, first of all, I went to the University of Western Ontario where I got an MBA and a husband. And then I went into packaged goods marketing at Procter and Gamble on the food brands like Crisco and Kringles, and so on. Then I went into high tech, and I worked for a supercomputer company, I was based out of Canada, but their headquarters is now the headquarters of Google in Mountain View, California. And so I had no intention of writing, there was no wine writing school, but my husband and I were both A type personalities. We tried golf, we tried Spanish, nothing worked. It was like, we’re gonna kill each other with golf irons, but we could drink. And so we started taking wine courses at night, and that we enjoyed. And that, again, drew me in further. I wanted to find out more about this, because it just seemed to me that wine could be the hub of liberal arts education, like it’s linked to science and religion and the arts and commerce and so on. It had an encyclopaedic fascination for me. So I kept going with that, went on maternity leave, and needed to keep my brain alive. So I pitched some local newspapers and wine on the internet. That was actually news back then. And it went from there. I had a year off. And by the time I was done, I thought, I don’t want to go back to high tech. I love this. And I just carried on with it.
Melanie Young 11:36
Wow, that’s interesting. You know, when we were travelling around Niagara, we met a lot of vintners who came from the high tech world and decided they were done and they wanted to follow their passion and start making wine, didn’t we?
David Ransom 11:48
We did actually, it’s kind of interesting, you know, some are still in it. But some have actually made the transition to do it fulltime. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 11:52
You know, it’s a second career for a lot of people..
Unknown Speaker 11:55
So is “cheffing”. But I think wine is a little more fun and easier. How long have you been teaching your online course because back in the day, people like Kevin Zraly and the classrooms were the way it went. Even my dad was a wine educator in the 70s, believe it or not, and you went to the school room, and you had your wines in front of you and that’s a very traditional way. Of course, as you know, and we know, the pandemic has changed everything and online education is the norm. When did you start teaching your online programmes? It’s been quite a long time.
Natalie MacLean 12:28
Right. So I established the website back in 2000. And then I had e-newsletters and so on. And that’s always been, you know, part of wine education. The courses that I teach today are very interactive, video driven, live tastings, and that sort of thing. That aspect of it, or that evolution of it I’ve been doing for about five years now. So the pandemic changed everything. And what happened when we all went into lockdown is people started looking for things to do from home, from the safety and comfort of their home. And until then, I think people, they had to make a mind shift that, you know, wine is such a sensory subject, “What are you going to do? Text me the wine, and then we’ll learn together online somehow?”. It’s like, how does that work? But I see that online learning can overcome so many obstacles that you can encounter with a physical course. So I get students who are in small country towns, and of course, big cities too. But, you know, maybe they don’t have a wine course in their town. Or maybe they have mobility issues. Or maybe they can’t be at a certain wine course, every Wednesday night at 8pm, you know, downtown, finding parking and a babysitter. You know, the world online is so much more flexible, and I think, less intimidating, I think a lot of people can, you know, get into their yoga pants and taste along with me and not have to sit in a classroom and ask the questions or not, they can just watch. So I just think there’s so many advantages. And online learning can be so inclusive and engaging. It doesn’t have to be like this sort of Zoom meeting that never ends. I mean, you can engage people through all their senses, through an online course if you’re actively looking for those different aspects so that they can acquire the knowledge that they’re seeking.
Melanie Young 14:16
Well, it’s true. I’m curious, where are your students? Mainly? Are they all over North America? Are they all over the world?
Natalie MacLean 14:22
They’re all over the world, but the majority come from the United States and Canada. So we do have like New York, Toronto, Amsterdam, through I mean they are just from all over. But it’s kind of neat, because it’s, it’s a little bit like a geek convention. And that’s not to say that they’re connoisseurs and you know, masters of wine. This is pitched for entry level up to intermediate. But they all have a passion for wine and we love to talk about it. And when we get together for regular tastings online, I mean it’s just such a great conversation. You know, they’re learning lots, but they’re having fun and they’re just meeting their soulmate, so to speak, who shared that passion.
David Ransom 15:04
Well, I think it’s interesting that you do have people that are calling in from all over the place or zooming in from all over the place, whatever it may be. And I like what you said earlier that people could be in their yoga pants, because online wine learning, in a lot of ways is like yoga. It’s a practice, shall we say, and people, you can take from it what you want, and you can give to it what you want. So it makes it all very user interactive, and very easy for everybody.
Natalie MacLean 15:28
Exactly. And online, people love to join me live and ask questions or chat, and so on. But there’s also the component that everything is recorded. And so some people want to take it at a slower pace. So they’ll watch the recorded sessions. One student of mine did something really innovative. He streamed one of my modules on the big television, invited his friends over, this was pre-Covid. And they stopped and started the video. And each time they stopped it, they would talk amongst themselves. They got all the wines that I was tasting and they kind of did it together. And he made it into like an informal guided tasting with friends. And I also have like a lot of husband -wives or husband-husbands, etc. who do it as date night, which is a lot of fun, or you know, sons and daughters or whatever, with their parents. drinking age, of course. It’s more fun than Monopoly!
Melanie Young 16:24
Why it’s like fork play, you know, it’s like fork play beforehand. My dad taught me, he was an educator, and I learned on his knee, how to sip and be responsible and appreciate. In fact, when I was in high school, I tried to teach all my friends how to open a bottle of wine as a public speaking class.
Natalie MacLean 16:41
Melanie Young 16:42
So, so making sure we get this in; How can our listeners learn more about signing up for your classes? let’s make sure we get that in.
Natalie MacLean 16:49
Sure. My website is my name; nataliemaclean.com, but I do offer a free intro class, called the five wine and food pairing mistakes that can ruin your dinner, and how to fix them forever. Because I believe in happy endings. So they can find that at nataliemaclean.com/class and they can pick a time and date that works for them. That will also tell them about the more in depth course.
David Ransom 17:14
And I think we have to do that ourselves Melanie.
Melanie Young 17:16
Well, I actually have already downloaded; Yeah, I’m on the mailing list, I’ve downloaded etc.
David Ransom 17:21
So Natalie, I have a question for you. Speaking of wine and food pairings, obviously some work and some don’t. And you’ve gone on record and said the ones that you think do and which don’t. And people can actually see clips of it on your website from TV pairings you’ve done. What, in your estimation is one of the hardest pairings to do? And how do you fix it? Yeah, sure.
Natalie MacLean 17:43
Yeah, sure, so I think vegetables, especially like asparagus and artichoke, they have natural compounds in them that make wine taste sweeter than it is. So they can really wreak havoc on the taste of the wine and the pairing overall. This is just one of many kinds of pairings we dive into in the course. But what you want to look for them is a steely bone dry kind of, I think preferably white wine. Because you’ve got a whole other thing going on if you’ve got tannins and red wine and asparagus, that can really ruin your party too. But if you get a really ultra dry white, like a Sauvignon Blanc, or a very, very bone, dry Riesling, it can work, it will still alter your perception of the wines, the asparagus, but the pairing can actually work and we do a lot of that sort of thing in the course. We’ll always start with the wine, taste it, what do you think of it, go to the food, whether it’s a little piece of asparagus, or some cheese or some chocolate or whatever we happen to be diving into. Go back to the wine and what happened? What does it taste like now? What are you perceiving? What happened? The wine didn’t change, but your perception of it did. And why is that? Because there’s different reasons for different changes. It’s not all that compound and asparagus. Sometimes it’s the saltiness of the dish or it’s the lemon zest on the dish. And how can we make these two things work together? Because I think the pleasure of food and wine pairing is the best aspect of wine when it comes to consuming it. And that you can have just one instrument or you can have a whole orchestra playing in your mouth, if you are pursuing or experimenting with some great food wine pairings.
Melanie Young 19:26
Josh Weston once told me he always thought wine was a condiment to your meal. It was what complemented your meal but it was essential to add a dimension of flavour and I kind of agree with you on difficult pairings. One of my go tos with something like artichokes or asparagus where you get that weird sweetness; I go to a no dosage Franciacorta or sparkling wine and go that way because your bubbles go with everything but no dosage does the same thing as like a super dry Riesling; we tasted some pretty good ones, by the way. We really did taste some really good dry Rieslings. You’ve written two books, we can’t wait for you to tell us what the third one’s gonna be; Red, White and Drunk All Over – A Wine Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass and Unquenchable- a Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines are both among Amazon’s best books of the year. And really fun reads, really terrific reads. Are you working on another book?
Natalie MacLean 20:19
I am. I’m just about wrapping up the manuscript stage for Book Three. And it’s more of a memoir of my years in the wine industry, rather than a sort of travels to different wine regions. So it’s quite a departure from the first two. And it still takes place in the world of wine, but it kind of goes into the not so genteel world of wine. So kind of like the secret biases and conflicts of interest in how wine is marketed to us as consumers, the more blatant sexism in the industry, from how women are treated, to how wine is sold to them, and the unrelenting thirst of the social media mobs that you know, can never be quenched. So it’s a very much a behind the scenes journey with me.
Melanie Young 21:07
That’s going to be a really, I can only imagine how difficult a cathartic memoir to write, because you’re going to be writing about pain and pleasure. And I’m working on a memoir, also, and I know that feeling. I’m curious, do you feel that as a woman in the industry have you felt much discrimination? You know, we’re in the United States, it’s everywhere. I always felt Canada was better than that. But what are your thoughts on that?
Natalie MacLean 21:29
It is everywhere. It’s not as obvious perhaps in the wine world. I think the wine world is one of the last bastions, so to speak, to start telling its’ stories about what is happening. And you know, I don’t know if you have heard about the excellent memoir, Wine Girls, that was just published by Victoria James, the New York sommelier. She gets into that. My memory will be from a wine writers perspective, which is a different ballgame from being a sommelier in a restaurant. But the issues certainly are there. And I think, the more we start telling these stories, and I don’t know, like, I hope that just telling the stories will help to some measure. But I think it is good for both men and women, to hear the stories and to know that, if that’s happened to you, you’re not alone.
Melanie Young 22:23
Very good point. I haven’t read Victoria’s book. It’s on my long reading list. I have so many books, and I’ve had her on my other show. She’s terrific. She really also laid it out. We’re curious. We just went to the Niagara Region in New York, and were pleasantly surprised by the wines up there, which I always thought would be like tutti-frutti, but boy, they have some beautiful Cab Francs. We love East Coast Cab Francs. But everybody kept saying, when you go into Canada, we would be remiss if we didn’t ask you to share a little bit of information, enthusiasm for Canadian wines when we all want to go there and try them.
Natalie MacLean 23:00
Oh, awesome. I’d love to, you know, one of my favourite ever pairings was Niagara Pinot Noir with Niagara raised quail that was sort of marinated first in maple syrup and then barbecued on an outdoor grill. And it was around about this time or maybe October. So I do remember that the leaves were changing colour. But I don’t think you can get more Canadian than that. But the really juicy quails, this sort of seared barbecue note, and they were such a beautiful match for Malivoire, that’s the wineries name, Pinot Noir because it had a smoky character to it. And it had these notes of sort of Damson plums and pepper grass, berry. I just loved how the flavours were intermingling. And then even like the fiery reflections, if you will, in the glass of that Pinot Noir were just such a gorgeous contrast to the chilly fall air. I’ll never forget that. So Malivore should be on your list; it is a gravity flow winery and organic. Another one is Henry of Pelham, which is renowned for their Baco Noir which is a hybrid. And it’s a very full bodied smooth sort of barbecue wine as well but it’s worth trying, especially if you’re in Niagara, along with their sparkling wine, which is just a steal. It’s made the in same method of Champagne, same grapes and so on, but you know, a quarter of the price especially for you folks. And then there’s Reif Estate winery. They have some wonderful wine and cheese pairings and they will also pair cheeses with ice wine, another other iconic Canadian wine, along with Riesling, it’s terrific. And then we have the Clos Jordanne Pinot and Chardonnay. And on my list I would also include Southbrook Vineyards, which makes wonderful biodynamic wines. And Ann Sperling the winemaker there, established the world’s first appellation for orange wines. It’s the first in the world. Yeah, she’s a real rock star of a winemaker; gotta try her wine.
David Ransom 25:02
Well, Melanie, well if they don’t open the border soon so that we can drive across the Peace Bridge soon
Melanie Young 25:07
David Ransom 25:10
or the other four bridges between Niagara on the Lake and Buffalo, then I’m going to swim.
Melanie Young 25:14
Well, it’s hard because we can’t get that many wines in the United States. I don’t know what’s going on with tariffs and borders and whatnot. I just know that we want to try more Canadian wines. And we want to get across the border. We really, really do. You’ve travelled the world. And we all are eager to travel again, is there a wine region that you have not yet visited that you’re curious about?
Natalie Maclean 25:36
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but New York.
Melanie Young 25:38
No way. You’re kidding!
Natalie MacLean 25:43
It’s mostly because we don’t get a lot of New York wines here. So you know, I’ve been to lots of regions because of the wines we get here in Ontario. But I want to get back to Niagara. But on the same trip, I hope, to go to New York. I think that would be the ultimate pairing in wine travel. Because I’d love to sort of do some cross border tasting and see the differences, because there’s got to be some climatic and soil similarities.
David Ransom 26:09
There are a lot of them. If you do come down, we’ll have to do that trip together. Melanie and I just spent two weeks in the Finger Lakes and Niagara region of New York, and just tasted some fabulous wines. And,
Melanie Young 26:17
And you could tell the differences. The climatic changes just along Central to West, and even Lake to Lake from Seneca to Cayuga. Very, very different. And the range of wines was astoundingly good. I have to say from the bottom of my heart, the Finger Lakes is one of the prettiest wine regions that I have ever been to and it was my first time and I’ve lived in New York State since 1985. So you haven’t popped over the border. I hadn’t popped up the way, up the highway.
Natalie MacLean 26:52
So it’s a great idea; I feel like it’s, like, it’s close it’s the closest to here. I’ve been to California. I’ve been to Oregon. I’ve been to Washington. But New York, our neighbour here. I’ve got to get there. I’ve been to New York City, of course. But that’s just not the same.
David Ransom 27:03
That’s barely New York.
Melanie Young 27:05
No, but you know, as my mom always says the little Bluebird travels all over the world and finds out the beauty in her own backyard. We also want to give you a shout out and let our listeners know the name of your wine podcast, which is called Unreserved Wine Talk. And Eric Asimov of the New York Times who has been on this show, named it one of the seven best podcasts about drinks. Congratulations, because that’s pretty impressive. How long? How long have you had your podcast?
Natalie MacLean 27:34
It’s been just over a year doing the podcast. I absolutely love it. It was in the Sunday Times about a couple of weeks ago, with actually Emma Dibden, who writes in the arts and leisure section. But Eric has been kind enough to review my books in the past. Well, so shout out to him too, because he’s a great wine columnist. But yeah, no, I love the podcast. I don’t know if you folks find this too. But I find podcast listeners are so loyal. They love long form narrative. They just sort of, I don’t know there’s a deeper connection. It’s almost the same as readers of books, there’s just that intimacy of being you know, few millimetres away from someone’s brain with your voice. I just love that connection.
Unknown Speaker 28:17
Well, we’ve been doing ours, this will be our sixth season starting in another month. And you know, we have our followers, it takes a lot of work because you know, because you saw the newsletter and we’re always working it, but we enjoy it, because we like to talk and have conversations with people and do the storytelling.
David Ransom 28:32
And it’s a different type of communication..
Melanie Young 28:34
You don’t need to be in front of a screen you can be like at the gym or on a walk and just pop your headphones on. Listen, so we always tell that is our is our sales tool. Natalie, it’s been so great chatting with you today. I want to make sure before we sign off that you give our listeners again, the website to learn more and sign up for your school and classes.
Natalie MacLean 28:54
Sure, so thank you very much. Love this conversation. So the website itself, it’s just my name nataliemaclean.com. And again, if they want to sign up for the class it’s nataliemaclean.com/class. And if they want to get a free wine and food pairing guide, I have also created one just for your listeners. And it’s Nataliemaclean.com/connected for the Connected Table.
Unknown Speaker 29:21
Well, we will make sure we include that in our social media as well when we repost this show on I Heart, etc, etc, etc. Natalie; A toast to you! and hopefully we’ll be able to toast with you in Canada unless you pop over when we can cross borders again and clink glasses together.
Natalie MacLean 29:37
Exactly. Well. Cheers. I raise my glass to both you Melanie and David. This has been terrific.
Unknown Speaker 29:45
Thank you so much.
Natalie MacLean 29:51
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Melanie and David. I won’t recap my own observations because that would be just weird. You won’t want to miss next week when we chat with the godfather of Zin, Joel Peterson founding winemaker of Ravenswood Winery in California. He is a rakish storyteller, provocateur, and sometimes a heckler of the wine industry. But he’s also helped make Zinfandel the runaway phenomenon it is today. In the meantime, if you missed my secret book club reading of Red, White and Drunk All Over in Episode Six, go back and take a listen. You’ll hear a few more stories from my mysterious wine past. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
In the fermentation room, Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy explains that the large wood vats infuse the wine with a circular energy of the cosmos. I nod in agreement, which seems to be the safest thing to do. I hate technology. It produces fake wines. She says with the same disgust my sixth grade teacher had for dangling participles if Chablis tastes like Chardonnay, it means no good. She claims the biodynamic preparations increase the vineyards, lifeforce, and as a result, strengthen the plant’s vitality to naturally fight disease and pests. However, mixtures such as stinging nettle tea, and cow’s dung berry during the equinox, sound less like viticulture and more like stage directions for Macbeths Witches. Wine is the inspiration of the cosmos Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy says offering me her Nuits St Georges.
If you liked this episode, please tell one friend about it this week, especially someone you know who’d be interested in the wine tips that I shared. You’ll find the link as to where you can find me on Facebook Live every second Wednesday at seven, including tonight. We’re talking turkey, as well as a link to where you can join me in a free online wine and food pairing class. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/103. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a wine that brings back a terrific memory for you.
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 . We’ll be here next week. Cheers