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Natalie MacLean

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Everything posted by Natalie MacLean

  1. Thanks John! You make me laugh because when I first thought about this project I said, "The world does not need another wine book!" Well, here we are... it was lots of fun and I hope to go on more adventures...
  2. Thanks Felice, I'm delighted that you liked the stories! The "learning" is supposed to be hidden in them (just as my mother hid the peas in the mashed potatoes). Haven't sold the book in France yet (usually they wait to see how you do in your own country)... but has been published in Canada, the US, the Netherlands/Holland and the UK.
  3. Hi Mary, Thanks so much for your great review! I'm delighted that you liked the book. I'm posting from Amsterdam, where I'm supporting the launch of the Dutch edition... it's a beautiful city... I love the way the lights reflect in the canals at night. How long did it take to write the book? All my life! Kidding, but I did bring everything I've done (and am) to it. From the time I signed the contract with the publishers to publication was two years. Choosing the material was a matter of following the life cyle of wine from grape to glass. So I began in Burgundy (though I could have started in any number of Old World regions) to talk about where wine started historically and also the beginning the life cycle with the vines... however, this sounds a bit boring now that I read it. Really, I wanted to seek out the most passionate, colorful, obsessed people in the wine industry and in telling their stories, tell the story of wine. So in Burgundy I visited Domaine Romanee-Contee and several others who winemakers are extradorinarily committed to what they do, but they're also opinionated, and I like that for getting a good debate going when it comes to wine. I also tried to do, rather than just observe. So for example, chapter two is about the harvest. But instead of interviewing a winemaker, I decided to help with the harvest... get my hands dirty (ruin my manicure etc). It helped me understand what goes on at a winery during the critical time of year at a gut level (as I lugged hoses and picked grapes)... here too I sought out a fascinating person: Randall Grahm with Bonny Doon Vineyards in California. He's terrific in terms of his insights and he's provocative. I tried to find adventures in the wine world and through them learn why we're so crazy about alcoholic grape juice. There's a reason there aren't any orange juice critics... Feel free to ask more questions. I may be off-line for a few days traveling, but I'll check in again when I get home. Thanks so much for your interest in my book! Cheers, Natalie www.nataliemaclean.com Nat Decants Wine E-Newsletter
  4. Thanks so much! I was just proud to be in the company of writers whom I admire.
  5. I'm amazed at the quality of food given how many they have to serve at the journalism dinner (I think it must be at least 300)... and it all goes out at once... a good variety of dishes and nicely paired with the wines
  6. VERY, VERY, VERY PLEASED! Huge congratulations to Gina and Natalie! ← thanks Malcolm! A good excuse to drink... what a minute, I don't need one!
  7. Natalie MacLean


    here's a tidbit that appeared in Decanter recently: The wine world has already started cashing in on the success of wine-geek film Sideways with winebid.com putting wines from the film up for auction. The wines on offer, including the legendary 1961 Cheval-Blanc, '88 Sassicaia and '95 Opus One, are either drunk in the multi-Golden Globe winner or directly mentioned by the protagonists. Most wines seen or mentioned are covered by the auction – other gems include Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg, Dominique Laurent Pommard and a wide range of Santa Barbara wines.
  8. You are lucky to have good help available, strike or no strike. In Ontario, the best I can expect is to have someone re-arrange the bottles in front of me while I am pondering what to buy... ← I've found some excellent product consultants in several LCBO stores... and living in Ottawa, where I can visit both the LCBO and SAQ stores, it sure helps given the differences in their selections, especially when I'm trying to find some new stuff to taste and recommend.
  9. Huh. I always order from the wine list first and then select something edible to go with it. ← Me too Rose! I like to joke that I buy the earrings first and then an outfit to match... but perhaps I'm looking at wine the wrong way (even though I choose it first)... to me it is the main meal (though food helps to enhance its flavors and absorb the alcohol).
  10. Natalie, Having lived in Ontario for 2 years I can attest that vintages brings in decent B.C. wines. B.C., however, brings in little to no interesting Ontario wines. Such a shame. Of note, LCBO carries Blue Mountain Wines in classics. ← I'm a huge fan of Blue Mountain... just wish there was more to go around.
  11. Thanks for this info: I looked at the site and ended up subscribing to 2 wine oriented newsletters. So far it looks like none of the free newsletters taste all of the Vintages release. Lawrason et al does this, but you have to buy the magazine. ← I actually do taste the entire Vintages release (or at least, all that the LCBO sets out for wine writers), but I only recommend those that I like... although it's probably also useful to warn you off the poor wine, life is short and many readers have told me that it's enough to absorb the 30-+ I recommend each release. Hope it's helpful anyway.
  12. Following this with interest... we don't get nearly enough BC wines here in Ontario. I have been so impressed with those I've tried and recommended. Do you folks have a good selection of Ontario wines there?
  13. Hi Nat. I tried the syrah before Xmas. It is indeed layered and thick, and I am going to hold off on the remaining bottles until the end of the decade. My favourite red for opening soon, is Ch. Canteloup ($22). I asked a consultant to get a case, but I don't know yet if it will come in. The old vines Viognier (d'Oc) from Roger was a step above the usual inexpensive French whites. ← I'm always relieved when I hear someone liked the wine I suggested... my nightmare is for a group of folks sitting around a table with a bottle of wine asking, "What the heck was she thinking?!" You've got me curious about the viognier.
  14. I posted this under the Restaurant 18 query, but I thought I'd also throw my two cents in here since I live in this town. My favourite restos here are Beckta Dining & Wine (613-238-7063), Juniper (613-728-0220), Signatures (613-236-2499), Domus (613-241-6007), Restaurant 18 (613-244-1188), Castlegarth (White Lake Village; 613-623-3472), Sweetgrass Bistro (613-562-3683), Urban Pear (613-569-9305) and El Meson (613-744-8484). Just across the river in Hull, I like Le Bacara (819-772-6210) followed by Le Tartuffe (819-776-6424). Granted I tend to be swayed by a great wine list, but no vino an make up for poor food or service. All of these places, I think, do very well in all three respects.
  15. Natalie MacLean

    light whites.

    One of the favorites along this line is 2003 Torres Vina Esmeralda $12, 11% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Penedes, Spain. It's a blend of moscatel and gewürztraminer grapes. I've recommended this pretty sipper vintage after vintage. It's light, floral, zippy and refreshing. Notes of lychee nuts and passion fruit. Perfect with seafood, avocado and pork. Score: 87/100.
  16. I haven't tried that one Jason, but I'm going to look for it. When I'm asked for my fav bubbly, my choice is usuall Roederer Brut from California, which is about $25. It has lots of fruit but is still balanced and toasty. I think it's a great value too. Happy New Year! Natalie
  17. Hi Jay, Thanks for saving some of that Syrah for me! Did you try it yet? Just wanted to let you know that I'll be posting my picks for the January Vintages release this Thursday. Happy New Year! Natalie
  18. When Natalie introduced her new rating system several months ago, I noticed a few wines that raised an eyebrow, dramatically up in the 90's. Then there was the 99 rating for a Mission Hill Oculus that generated a thread in the egullet wines section. But recently, since September, Natalies's monthly ratings have been more conservative, and I think they offer good advice prior to the Vintages monthly releases. We need all the help we can get when we have to consider joining the Saturday morning line ups at a select few Vintages stores when something special is released. Natalie has been a good sport about all this, especially in the bantering and repartee in this thread. And I'll continue to read those monthly reviews along with Beppi and the others... ← I agree that you need to follow a reviewer whom you trust and then the ratings are relative to what that person has recommended in the past. I've been using scores for only about six months now and am still trying to find the right calibration, though the relative rankings have remained consistant. I appreciate your support and patience Jay... it's a labor of love, as you know, given I don't charge for newsletter.
  19. A sword without a handle flask? and you call yourself a Scot... I remember some kind words you gave 2001 Masi Algheri Red a while back - that case served me quite well and I thank you ← delighted to hear that!
  20. ah, try drinking while you're sword dancing... very exciting.
  21. Same thing, when you're Scottish.
  22. Sure... the magazine gave me guidelines for what constitutes gold, silver and bronze... their categories, as they relate to the actual scores, are fairly high. So that was part of the influence. The other was the wine itself: it was indeed terrific. I haven't been to the Okanagan (I hope to go next year), so that didn't have an influence. I'd like to hear from anyone who has had a chance to try this wine. Thanks, Natalie
  23. I used to (highland) dance with Natalie MacMaster when she and I were youngsters... but I stuck to the boozy side of the business. Cheers, Natalie
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