Nova Scotia doesn’t just produce great wines, it has also produced some scintillating wine writers. One who has made a major splash on the national scene is Natalie MacLean
Like Nova Scotia wines, she is unique, sparkling, fresh and full of interesting layers.
While other wine writers bore you with descriptions like “This Cab Franc is delicious with plenty of smokey tobacco and cocoa notes on the nose followed by luscious fruit, cracked pepper and cigar on the palate.” Natalie has been known to write up her experience of a wine with “Yes, oh, yes! is not really a tasting note and might be interpreted as something else. However, it was sheer ecstasy to drink this Chardonnay with its rich layers of buttery, toasted almond goodness, lovely oak integration and a long satisfying finish that leaves you pleasantly yearning for more.”
Not only does she give entertaining descriptions of wine but she also has wonderful stories of the wineries and the winemakers. She has written two books so far, Red, White and Drunk All Over and her most recent book Unquenchable. A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines.
Unquenchable has great advice on choosing reasonably priced wines from the major wine regions of the world and it’s laced with the incredible stories of the people behind the wines. Her first chapter with her description of Wolf Blass not just the wine but the winery owner of that name will have you in stitches.
Carefully worked in between the giggles and the gossip is a delightful primer on what to look for in a wine, what to pair it with and when. With tongue-in-cheek she even includes wine pairing for book clubs, what wine might pair well with what best seller.
I bought Unquenchable when it first came out in hard cover but this week it’s been released in paperback in time for Christmas. This is a must give stocking stuffer for any wine lover on your Christmas list, in fact if you are reading this column chances it should be on your Christmas wish list. What better way to get through the winter than sampling some of her recommendations?
In addition to her book, Natalie has also produced a wine app which you can upload to your Iphone, blackberry or android cell phone. Take it to a wine store and scan the bar code on the wine bottle and Natalie’s review and score of the wine will come up on your screen. The app will also suggest food pairings for the wine if you are planning a dinner and even recipes.
She has reviews for 150,000 wines available across Canada and what’s in stock at your local wine store outlet. The app can be used and downloaded for free but there are bonus features for people who pay the $2.10 a month membership fee including a searchable archive of wine reviews and scores, a tool to build your own virtual wine cellar and add your own wine reviews as well on the site.
Natalie MacLean’s website is well worth a visit , she has a free newsletter and a video blog of interviews with leading wine producers.
Natalie is a freelance writer who is not on the payroll of any winery or winery association. She paid for the development and regular upgrades to her wine app herself. The list price of the soft cover version of Unquenchable is $19.95 but Chapters/Indigo is selling it for for $14.95 to its members.