Why did I resist scoring wines for the first three years I wrote about them? How do you go from submitting an article to a local publication to publishing your first book? Why aren’t press trips to wine regions all they’re cracked up to be?
In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I’m being interviewed by Vanessa Conlin on the Wine Access Author Series.
You can find the wines we discussed here.
- How did I go from writing an article for a local publication to publishing my first book?
- Why do stories make such a great medium for you to learn about wine?
- How did I get access to prestigious vineyards and wineries while researching my first book?
- What’s it like to interview A-listers in the wine world like Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson?
- How can you choose the right wine critic for you to follow?
- What’s it like working undercover in a wine store and as a restaurant sommelier?
- Which undercover moment transformed my understanding of service?
- Which wine regions am I looking forward to experiencing?
- Who are some of the most fun and interesting people I’ve interviewed so far?
- Why do I avoid going on press trips?
- What types of stories can you look forward to in my upcoming book?
- Which tip can you use to find great bargain wines?
- How can food and wine pairing help you to get more comfortable with wine?
- Which food is the most difficult to pair with wine?
- What type of wine is the easiest to pair with a wide range of foods?
- Do you need to be an expert to enjoy wine?
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I’ll always think of myself as an enthusiastic amateur. I’m always learning and I always remember my initial anxiety about wine. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
At first, I resisted scoring wines but then I came over to that way of thinking because that’s the way I feel, even today, I can be of the greatest service. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
I consider myself a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage. I want to be with someone like their best friend at the kitchen table, talking over a glass of wine. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
For me, it’s the stories that will tell you about the wine rather than just me tasting the wine and telling you about it. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
I am a wine cheapskate at heart. I always love finding wines that taste twice as expensive as they cost. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
Food and wine pairing is the most fun I have with wine. I think for those who are new to wine, it’s the best way to bring them in. - Natalie MacLean Click to tweet
About Vanessa Conlin MW
Vanessa Conlin MW is the Head of Wine for Wine Access, a national direct-to-consumer e-com wine retailer where she oversees all wine curation and wine content. Vanessa has served as the Director of Sales and Marketing for several of Napa’s most prestigious luxury estates including Arietta Wines and Dana Estates. Previously she was the wine buyer for two prominent Manhattan wine retailers and the Wine Director for a Manhattan-based wine bar. As an avid supporter of charitable causes, Vanessa is the President of the Board for Jameson Humane, a Napa Valley-based animal rescue and sanctuary, and has chaired the organization’s annual charity wine auction four times, raising over 7 million dollars. Prior to falling in love with wine, Vanessa worked as a professional musician, performing internationally and on Broadway, and holds a Master’s Degree in Music. She is an instructor for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and was the recipient of the Niki Singer Memorial Scholarship from the International Wine Center. Vanessa became a Master of Wine in 2020.
- My Books:
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 23: Randall Grahm: A Californian Blend of Wine, Wit and Wisdom
- Connect with Vanessa
- Unreserved Wine Talk | Episode 13: Blending Humour and Wine in South Africa with Charles Back, Fairview Wine
- My new class The 5 Wine & Food Pairing Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Dinner And How To Fix Them Forever
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- You’ll find my books here, including Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines and Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
- The new audio edition of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass is now available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and other country-specific Amazon sites; iTunes.ca, iTunes.com and other country-specific iTunes sites; Audible.ca and Audible.com.
Natalie MacLean 0:00
Give them something they understand, a score, because we know that. And at first I resisted because I came over to this way of thinking because that’s the way I feel I can be of greatest service, and that’s why I score wines, in addition to those, I hope, elegant extra tasting notes.
Vanessa Conlin 0:13
How would you recommend someone who’s trying to figure out which critic to align with or who to listen to? How should a consumer make that decision?
Natalie MacLean 0:23
I think it’s finding someone whose palate lines up with yours. Also, someone who can guide you a little bit further, take you out of your comfort zone. I think it comes down to palate taste, but it can also be a preference for personality, like the way they write about wine, or they make it interesting or fun. There’s just so much out there these days with the internet and social media and videos and everything else. I think there’s a critic for everyone. These days, everyone is a critic, but there’s so many ways to be guided. I think that’s an easy choice these days.
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? 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 139. Why did I resist scoring wines the first three years I wrote about wine? How do you go from submitting an article to a local small newspaper to publishing your first book, and why aren’t press trips to wine regions all they’re cracked up to be? You’ll get those answers and more wine tips in my chat with Master of Wine, Vanessa Conlin; she’s actually interviewing me for her podcast, and I spill lots of secrets and stories from my wine life. In the show notes, you’ll find a full transcript of our conversation, links to both of my books, 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 Nataliemaclean.com/139.
Now on a personal note, before we dive into the show, I’m writing the script today for my first guest appearance on CHCH’s Morning Live show next week; we’ll be chatting about great wines for weddings and anniversaries. I think wine is an ideal gift because one size fits all; doubles are okay and it’s easy to regift if you don’t like it. I’d rather have two bottles of the same bubbly than two sets of identical tea towels. But that’s just me. I love actually creating gift sets of wines for newlyweds. So, give them a wine to drink now, a wine to drink say in five years time and a wine to drink on their 10th or 15th anniversary. And I do hope that the marriage lasts longer than the wine. I also like to include a note about the wines and pair it with a book say like, Red, White and Drunk all Over or Unquenchable. Yes, those are my books. Even better when I buy the wine from a winery or it’s local, I like to get the winemaker to sign the bottles to the happy couple, just as I send bookplates signed for those who purchase my books. I hope this gives you some gift ideas for the anniversaries, weddings, birthdays and other special occasions in your life. Okay, on with the show.
Vanessa Conlin 4:00
Welcome to the Wine Access Author series. I’m Vanessa Conlon, Master of wine and Head of Wine for Wine Access and it is a real thrill and honour to be here today with Natalie MacLean, author of two books we’re going to discuss but also a podcast host and multitalented wine professional. Just a little background on Natalie. She was named the world’s best drinks writer at the World Food Media Awards and has won four James Beard Foundation journalism awards. Wow, very impressive. She is the only person to have won both the MFK Fisher distinguished writing award from the James Beard Foundation and the MFK Fisher Award for Excellence in culinary writing from Les Dames d’Escoffier International. Natalie studied the Romantic poets at Oxford University with Jonathan Wordsworth. She graduated with honours from the Masters of Business Administration at the University of Western Ontario.
Welcome Natalie. Thank you so much for being here.
Natalie MacLean 4:96
Vanessa, it’s is great to be back with you.
Vanessa Conlin 5:02
Thank you. Well, let’s start at the very beginning about getting into not just wine but getting into writing about wine. What made you think I really need to write a book?
Natalie MacLean 5:16
What made me think? I think it was a sleep deprived state. I started writing when I went on maternity leave, because of course, we can’t have any downtime for our brains Myrna. But as I know, you know that study nerd yourself. I thought, you know, motherhood is pretty full time but I just yearned to, as I say, keep my brain alive and I had been working in high tech for a supercomputer company based in California. And so I’d started making all my visits up to Napa Valley, and Sonoma on the weekends; developed a passion for wine, took a diploma programme as a sommelier, didn’t work, though, as one, I didn’t think of writing about it. But then I thought, okay, I’m home here; I can write about wine on the internet. So I pitched a local magazine about that topic. And they said, Sure, you’ve been published before. And I’m thinking Yes, in my high school newspaper, don’t ask me for samples. And they took that; that lead to a full time column and that gave me the confidence to approach other publications
And so fast forward, I started entering writing competitions and so on, as you mentioned, because I’ve always been competitive, shall we say; I was a dancer, highland dancer, Scottish dancer, so it was Highland Games. So competitions are in my blood, if I sniff a competition, I’m there. Anyway, keeps me on my toes, literally. So after winning a couple of those, an editor from Penguin, emailed me and said, Have you ever thought about writing a book? And I thought, No, but that sounds interesting. And so that sort of got me on the journey, I sort of backed up from that initial contact, got an agent then went to publishers. And that’s kind of to answer your question how the book came about, the first one.
Vanessa Conlin 7:00
And the first book, I think, Red, White and Drunk all Over, was 2006. It covers quite a broad range of topics. I mean, the history of Burgundy to bottle service as a sommelier. I mean, there’s a lot of content in here. So how did you decide what stayed in the book and how much great stuff actually ended up on the cutting room floor as they say?
Natalie MacLean 7:23
Well, I guess it was so wide ranging, because I’ll always think of myself Vanessa as an enthusiastic amateur, always learning and I always remember my initial anxiety about wine. I didn’t come from a family who loved wine, East Coast, Nova Scotia, Scottish beer, whiskey. So we thought wine was really just for fancy people. And that was not my history. So I always keep that in mind when I’m writing, but also when I’m learning, and that’s lifelong as you know, yourself. So I cover this broad swath of topics, because I’m really just searching for others who share my passion for wine, so for their stories. So that’s why I didn’t and will never write the complete history of Burgundy. Because there’s a place and a person to do that and for that. But for me, it’s about who can I find that’s really passionate about wine, let’s learn about their story. And through their story, let’s learn about wine that way, sort of the other way around. My mother used to put the peas in the mashed potatoes, because I’d love mashed potatoes, but I did not like vegetables. So the stories are like the mashed potatoes, but I hope I’ve hidden in the mashed potatoes, some wine education, whether it’s learning about the kind of glassware you should use, or food pairings and so on.
Vanessa Conlin 8:45
So I have a question about, well, it’s partly selfishly motivated, because there’s some pretty amazing experiences that you have in this book that I’d like to know how you were able to have these some of these opportunities, like I believe you were hosted by Aubert de Villaine at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. And this is writing your first book. So how did that happen? And how can I use that experience for myself?
Natalie MacLean 9:10
I’ll put you in touch, no problem. Just kidding. You know, I was once, Vanessa, at a book reading for Red, White and Drunk all Over and they said, Well, how did you get in there? And I said, it actually wasn’t me. It was you; in that my readers and this is again, sort of keeping perspective. It’s never What am I doing? It’s who do I represent. Who do I bring with me when I go to talk to Aubert de Villaine, and that’s all the readers who can’t get into his tasting room because he can’t accommodate them. I mean, it’s, as you know, prestigious, one of the world’s best Burgundies, and they don’t even have an open tasting room. But he said Yes, come talk to me, because of the wine lovers and readers I brought with me or I represented, so reaching out to him or via a long chain of people I can’t even remember and I was surprised he even said yes, but he did. He was so gracious. But I think, you know, the yes was not yes to me, but yes to a lot of wine lovers who came with me.
Vanessa Conlin 10:08
Well, and I think you had some other pretty incredible experiences like interviewing Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson about Bordeaux, I believe, and their various takes. So tell me about those phone calls or those emails. How did that happen?
Natalie MacLean 10:23
Thank God, they were phone calls, they couldn’t see me just sweating and turning beet red as I do whenever I’m excited. So they were really interesting calls because, of course, famous American critic Robert Parker really popularised the 100 point score as you know. Jancis Robinson is kind of the queen of wine writing, author of the Oxford Companion of Wine, they have such different sensibilities. And what I was writing about is they really clashed big time over this one Bordeaux wine, you know, Robert Parker loved it, she hated it. Anyway, he said, she said, But really, the point of it was just this clash of cultures, and taste in wine. And I was intrigued by that. I loved it, you know, and as a Canadian, we’re always apologising, and we’re always trying to stay somewhere in the middle so I consider myself kind of mid transatlantic kind of girl for diplomatic reasons. But I do love sort of the refinement and the, I don’t know, there’s something about the British sensibility, on the one hand, because I don’t know who it was, but it’s got to be a Brit who said, you know, wine is one of the elegant extras of life, and they wouldn’t rate it any more than they would rate their lovers. And then on the other side, you have Robert Parker, who is really a consumer advocate who says, Hey, people don’t want to spend more time choosing wine, then they do a lot of them choosing toothpaste. So give them something they understand, a score, because we know that, and at first I resisted, but then I came over to his way of thinking, because that’s the way I feel, even today, I can be of greatest service and that’s why I do score wines, in addition to those, I hope, elegant, extra tasting notes.
Vanessa Conlin 12:08
And how would you recommend someone who is trying to figure out which critic to align with or who to listen to? How should a consumer make that decision?
Natalie MacLean 12:19
I think it’s finding someone whose palate lines up with yours. Also, someone who can guide you a little bit further, take you out of your comfort zone. So I think it comes down to palate tastes. But it can also be a preference for personality, you know, you like the way they write about wine, or they make it interesting or fun. I mean, there’s just so much out there these days with the internet and social media and videos and everything else. I think there’s a critic for everyone. I think these days, everyone is a critic, but there’s so many ways to be guided. I think that’s an easy choice these days.
Vanessa Conlin 12:54
So throughout both books, and I mentioned from 2006, Red, White and Drunk all Over and then I believe 2011 you followed with Unquenchable. But throughout both you have a very sort of conversational, accessible tone of voice. Is that something that comes naturally? Or is that something that you had to study?
Natalie MacLean 13:13
No, that’s just the way I talk. I come from Nova Scotia, as I mentioned, small town where if you put on any airs, you are labelled uppity, so no one was getting fancy back there. I mean, I still believe say it like it is, say what you feel, be open, be vulnerable, admit when you don’t know things. And I think people relate to that much more than cold hard perfection or the expert who is way up here. As I say someone else said this, but I consider myself a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage. I want to be with someone, like their best friend at the kitchen table, right and talking over a glass of wine. And again, I go back to my own anxieties, which were many. They were locally grown and 100% sustainable over my lifetime. I’ll always remember just being so uptight about wine and thinking I can’t do this. I mean, they’re gonna know, I don’t come from this world. And yet here, I was plunked down in the middle of it, or I’ve put myself there. But then being fascinated by it, and just letting myself go with that curiosity and that passion.
Vanessa Conlin 14:21
So you went undercover in both retail and as a sommelier in the book. So which was more difficult?
Natalie MacLean 14:30
Hmm. I think they both tapped into different types of anxiety. This is going to be a therapy session. You didn’t know it, but so I think that working in a wine store was a marathon and working as a sommelier was more of a sprint. And what I mean by that is that the long days that I spent in a couple of wine stores in New York and San Francisco, really, were a test of stamina and staying power and trying to answer questions and so on. But the sommelier, really for me was moments of high peak performance when you were tableside trying to still answer questions, but pour wine and get it all together, especially if there was a group of people. And that appealed to me more, I think, because I was a Highland dancer, Scottish dancer, and those sort of peak performances, and then you get to rest and like regroup is my kind of test or whatever.
Vanessa Conlin 15:31
And were there any particularly humorous or excruciating moments in either retail or working in the restaurant that you still remember?
Natalie MacLean 15:41
So many, I wore inappropriate footwear in the wine store. I mean, don’t wear heels when you’re working a 12 hour day, as you know, Vanessa, you’ve had experience with that. But I think being a sommelier brought out the most memorable moments. Because, I mean, I had some great ones. But this one woman stood out. She was so perfectly coiffed, and I was there, they’ve chosen an expensive bottle, I decided to work at this four diamond restaurant and I don’t know why, but just let’s up the ante. And it was such an expensive, it was California wine. And I dribbled a little bit of red wine on the white tablecloth. And she just looked at it and didn’t even look at me. And I said, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m really sorry. And she just kept talking to her girlfriend. And I was just mortified. But what was worse was, she wouldn’t even acknowledge anything had happened. And I felt what it would be like to be dismissed, like to not even be considered. And I think that really drove home for me the difference between service and servility, I guess, and that it’s a tough job. It’s secret, whatever, you don’t see how much work is going on behind the scenes, and I can’t even do it properly as a sommelier as this was just for writing purposes. And then just to be like, okay, off you go kind of thing, was just it really drove it home. It made me a better restaurant diner for sure.
Vanessa Conlin 17:18
Oh, I think everyone should have to work in restaurants at some point in some capacity. So you’ve travelled extensively, but is there a region that you haven’t that maybe you’d like to go and do some research for an upcoming book?
Natalie MacLean 17:34
Well, yes, and no. The yes is there are lots of regions that I haven’t been to that I’d love to get to. One big missing gap in my repertoire is Spain, then to Portugal, then to lots of European countries, but Spain and just to have some tapas and sherry, I don’t know, go to Barcelona, I have heard that is such a beautiful city. I’d love to go there. My third book, though, will be more memoir and less travelogue into different regions of wine and wine is still going to be the main central theme of it, but it’s more of a behind the scenes or underground, if you will, of the glossy world of wine and what goes on there.
Vanessa Conlin 18:17
And in addition to travel, you’ve of course, interviewed some pretty incredible people. I’ve mentioned of course, Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, Aubert de Vilaine, but of all the many people that you’ve interviewed, was there a favourite subject?
Natalie MacLean 18:29
I think so. And I think many people might be familiar with Randall Graham of Bonnie Doone in California. I mean, he is zany. I think he’s hosted a funeral for cork, in Grand Central Station, New York, right? You’ve probably heard some of these stories Vanessa. But he had an open casket funeral, and he filled it with corks. Jancis Robinson was there. They had a full funeral service for cork, because he hates cork because it can impact wine, as you know, it can give it cork taint, but he’ll do these crazy things. But he’s making a really serious point or really important point. And you know, he’s done all kinds of things. He’s had an asteroid named after him, and he’s the Rhône Ranger and he’s dressed in purple spandex for the cover of Wine Spectator magazine, and it goes on and on. But when you talk to him, you realise that behind all of that craziness, is a lot of wisdom, a lot of kindness, and a lot that I think we can learn about wine. It’s just he has a way of putting it out there that draws attention in a great way; it makes us laugh, and I think we need to laugh. We need to be entertained, before we can be educated. People are not going to stay with you if you can’t keep them enraptured with a story or a joke or something that draws them in.
Vanessa Conlin 19:49
I couldn’t agree more, by the way, but staying on the subject of interviewing people. Are there any interviews that you can recall where you left and thought Oh, gosh, I wish I had asked this question.
Natalie MacLean 20:03
That’s a good question actually, going meta here. You know, I’m not sure if there was a question I left out, just sometimes I’ve been to a region where I felt I didn’t have enough time with the person, because there was a certain schedule to keep up. And I think some of the best conversations you have are, after you’ve hung out with the winemaker for a long time, like hours and hours, if not a day or two or longer, and they’ve let down their guard. And you know, their PR person has gone for the day. And you get some off script, free range kind of comments. And so that’s why I’ve always resisted going on a lot of media tours, it’s not an uppity thing, it’s, I just can’t get a great story if we’re moving from winery to winery every half hour or hour. Because for me, it is the stories that will tell you about the wine rather than just tasting the wine and telling you about it. So I guess that would be my long winded answer to that.
Vanessa Conlin 21:06
Great. So in your second book Unquenchable, you highlight some lesser known but very high quality regions, but this was published in 2011. And some of these regions now, I guess you were right, have become quite popular. These regions or styles; Provence Rosé, Mendoza, Argentina. Do you have any plans on the follow up to highlight what those regions would be today in 2021?
Natalie MacLean 21:31
Well, I think book Three will be more memoir. There’ll be a lot of great bargain wines in there because you know, I am a wine cheapskate at heart. I always love finding the wines that taste twice as expensive as they cost and my tip for that, by the way is go south. So often you get premium beautiful luxury wine, say in Napa or Sonoma, go south to Paso Robles, same with Tuscany, Piedmont go south to Sicily; Bordeaux, Burgundy go south to you know, the south of France Languedoc. But the memoir itself, although it will have lots of inexpensive wines, will be more about life in the wine world, like behind the scenes. And as someone who is in the industry, as a woman who is a writer, that sort of thing. It’s more that well, not a tell all, but a tell you something kind of thing, but with lots of wines. Got it?
Vanessa Conlin 22:23
Well, I look forward to reading that. Something that you write a lot about also, particularly in your second book, is food and wine pairing. So where did you learn this and what made you so passionate about writing about that?
Natalie MacLean 22:38
Food and wine pairing is the most fun I have with wine. And I think for those who are new to wine, it’s the best way to bring them in, in addition to storytelling, of course. But generally most people are not as intimidated with food as they are with wine. So you know that roast chicken doesn’t come with a vintage chart. It’s just not as complex. We don’t get as uptight about food. Yes, I can pick my head of lettuce, I can pick my asparagus, but give me a wall of Bordeaux it’s like Oh, no. So I think if we can bring more people into wine through food, and food and wine pairing, that’s a great thing. Plus, I think we can have so much more pleasure with wine. When we pair it with food. I think there are some flavour combinations, some magic that happens in your mouth, that just does not happen with wine alone. And the third reason is that we can satiate out of wine just like anything else. If we just go to the wine, go to the wine, go to the wine, like that’s why that combination of like champagne and potato chips is so smart, right? You don’t get tired of chips, you don’t get tired of the bubbly, you just keep going back and forth and finish the bag. You finish the bottle with someone else of course.
Vanessa Conlin 23:51
So what do you think is the most difficult food to pair with wine?
Natalie MacLean 23:56
I think the problem children of the wine world, or the food world I should say are asparagus and artichoke. And you know they have that natural compound called Cynarin. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing Cynarin right, but it makes everything taste sweeter as a result. So you have asparagus or artichoke, and then you go to a bone dry wine, it’s going to taste sweeter. So that can really wreak havoc on a lot of wines. Especially if that’s not the style of wine that you want to drink; something that tastes much sweeter than it is. So for that, for those foods, I usually recommend a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc. It’s not going to taste sweet, but it’s not going to taste as austere as it might on its own. Again, the two are interplaying and making each other better; like any good relationship
Vanessa Conlin 24:46
And do you have a recommendation; a wine that you think is sort of very universally easy to pair with many different types of food, where it’s sort of a Don’t worry about it wine?
Natalie MacLean 24:56
Why yes, yes. Rosé, dry Rosé, just goes with everything. To me it’s a hedonists’ dream because good dry Rosé has all of the flavour and interest of a great red wine but none of the heavy alcohol or tannin or oak. Like I love dry Rosé from Provence or even the Rhône Valley. Those are amazing and then it’s got this acidity, this juicy acidity that just cuts like a silver knife through anything rich or fatty like a creamy cheese. But it can go both ways you know. It can handle so many different foods
Vanessa Conlin 25:34
I completely agree; that and Champagne.
Natalie MacLean 25:36
Yeah, I don’t need to rule one out, it’s not this or that; it’s both please.
Vanessa Conlin 25:41
Right. Exactly. Exactly. So on any given night you’re just home, put your slippers on and don’t want to spend too much thinking of it, but really want to drink something delicious. What’s your go to bottle?
Natalie MacLean 25:53
You know I keep trying to come up with a new go to but I just keep going back to that comfort. It’s like favourite pair of jeans or pyjamas but it’s Pinot Noir and I know it’s many people’s favourite but I just love Pinot; especially you know when it’s colder. It’s just so lovely and luscious like satin pillows on your mouth, but again, not heavy or alcoholic or tannic generally. I I like cool climate Pinot, whether it’s from Carneros or from Niagara or from Burgundy, if somebody else is buying it. Pinot is just a lovely, lovely relax all evening kind of wine.
Vanessa Conlin 26:33
And is there one myth about wine that you wish you could dispel?
Natalie MacLean 26:40
We talked about this, Vanessa, when I interviewed you on the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, and that is that you have to be an expert before you can enjoy it. And I don’t think you do. I think you can jump right in, I think you know, your own palate. And at the same time, I think you can become more informed and enjoy it even more. But I think some people hesitate and just default to that same bottle over and over because it’s safe, they know they like it. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s such a wide world of diversity of taste with wine that you got to explore. I also compare it to dance, because I trained as a Highland dancer, so anyone can go and watch the Highland Games or a ballet and say, Oh, look at the dancers, aren’t they nice, like, Oh, look, they’ve got nice pointy toes. But as someone who trained in Highland dancing, when they’re dancing over the swords, I have a muscular response. And I’m holding my breath, you know, the swords. So I think that range is there for everyone. Sure, just go and enjoy a glass of wine and leave it at that. That’s fine, if that’s what you want. But you can also take it up a level if you want to dig in even deeper.
Vanessa Conlin 27:53
Well, thank you so much, Natalie, this has been such a pleasure, the time has flown by. But I’d love for you to let everyone know where they might find you; whether that’s to purchase one of your fascinating books, or to follow you on social media or to listen to the podcast. How can we do that?
Natalie MacLean 28:09
Thank you, Vanessa. This has been terrific. I’ve so enjoyed our time chatting. So they can find me on the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast wherever they listen to podcasts. Nataliemaclean.com, my website, is where you’ll find just about everything, including a link to the podcast. I teach online wine food pairing courses; that’s mainly what I do these days while trying to finish that third book.
Vanessa Conlin 28:53
Well, thank you again so much for joining us, Natalie. Thanks for everyone watching at home the Wine Access Author series, and we hope to see you back here soon. So with that, cheers.
Natalie MacLean 29:09
Thank you so much, Vanessa, this has been terrific.
There you have it. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Vanessa Conlin. 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 both of my books, where you can find me on Zoom, Insta, Facebook and YouTube Live video every Wednesday at 7pm. Eastern. That’s all in the show notes at Nataliemaclean.com/139.
You won’t want to miss next week when I chat with Nikki Goddard, a wine writer and educator based in Oakland, California. She’s written for Delectable, Wine Folly, the Spruce Eats, Edible East Bay and many more. Nikki fell in love with wine while studying textiles and apparel at Cornell University. We chat about wine faults, the rising popularity of fruit wines and newly emerging wine regions that should be on your radar. In the meantime, if you missed Episode 13 go back and take a listen. I chat with Charles Back, winemaker and owner of Fairview Wines and Goats Do Roam in South Africa. We chat about blending humour and wine. He’s got some great stories. He’s so witty. I’ll share a short clip with you now to whet your appetite.
Charles Back 30:30
When the farmers have a altercation in France, what they normally do, they drive into Paris with big truckloads of manure and dump it on the Champs-Élysées. So I thought being African we’re going to be a bit more sophisticated than that. And I vacuum packed some goat droppings gave that to the ambassador because they’ve got beautiful garden, and I thought there could be fertilized with some perfect goat droppings, and I presented to him with a beautiful Brie that we make at Fairview and obviously a magnum of Goats Do Roam. And it all ended in a good spirit, and they stopped pursuing the trademark infringement. And today I own the trademark Goats Do Roam
Natalie MacLean 31:08
That is fabulous and did the publicity help at all?
Charles Back 31:12
I think that’s the reason why they stopped, we should have carried on carried on because I subsequently registered goat roti, which is a roasted goat. Then we also had Bored Doe (https://grapeoccasions.com/wine/2010/10/bored-doe-goats-do-roam/). A doe is a female goat who grows very bored because she’s only permitted to grow five varieties of grape which is terrible.
Natalie MacLean 31:34
If you like 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 something that reminds you a great story.
Natalie MacLean 31:57
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.