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Red, White, and Drunk All Over (thoughts)

November 24, 2009

I am not a wine girl, with the exceptions of champagne, riesling, and the ‘semi-sweet’ red wine my Russian host family always got me (I can’t find a US equivalent anywhere). I used to really enjoy beer, from microbreweries or overseas, but now that I have a gluten allergy, when I’m out and about I usually just stick with a vodka sour. However, Dewey (who was a oenophile) wrote a marvelous review of Red, White, and Drunk All Over: a Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass by Natalie Clean, and it’s been on my radar ever since. I finally ended up reading it for the Spice of Life Challenge, now that I’ve upgraded to the feast level (note to self: review cookbooks soon! lol).

I’m so glad that I did! This book is wonderful: while McClean is obviously very knowledgeable about wine, she’s not a snob at all (I strongly, strongly dislike people who are snobs about anything). And there are so many different things packed inside the book, from travel to France, to profiles of wine shop owneries, to a discussion of wine in restaurants, to chapters of advice for those of us at home (how to host a wine tasting party, how to pair wine with tricky food, etc.). I never got bored, because there was always something new and fascinating to discover!

Throughout the book, McClean’s absolute love of wine really shines through. She’s even convinced me that maybe I should start trying some non-sweet wines (I got a Pinot Grigio the other day, and I didn’t hate it, which is progress). More importantly, since most of the ‘troublesome’ food she offers wine pairings for are the only things I eat (vegetarian, spicy, non-European stuff), and she happens to suggest champagne/sparkling wine and Riesling for many of those entrees, she convinced me that wine can be as everyday as a bottle of beer. Of course, the problem is that I don’t have any desire to drink on a regular basis, so what do I do after I’ve opened the bottle and had my glass? I’m not a fan of that tipsy/fuzzy feeling that two glasses in one night brings on, and my body and skin are happier when I don’t have a glass two days in a row. (Can you tell I’m not a big drinker? I think it’d be neat to have alcohol-free wine, so I could try the tastes w/o the other issues.) I wish upscale wine came in six-packs like upscale beer.

Um, I’m obviously rambling a bit. Sorry about that-I swear I’ve had my caffeine! I slept 11 hours, though, so maybe my brain isn’t quite functioning yet. Back to the book. McClean has an easygoing writing style that keeps the book light and readable-I was definitely in the upper end of my ‘pages per hour’ rate with this one. So if nonfiction makes you a bit nervous, this would be a great book for you! I was a bit worried about spacing out while reading it, simply because of my lack of interest in wine, but that never happened. McClean’s interest is so strong she’ll pull you along with her. :)

I don’t think I’m fully portraying the amount of gushiness I feel over this book. I want to say:

Read it now! It’s fascinating! And funny! And informing! You will love it, I promise!

I wish I could link to Dewey’s review, since then y’all would be convinced, but her blog was taken down. Let’s just say that for me, reading this book was also like having Dewey back for a bit (I finished up the Dewey’s Books Challenge several months ago, so it’s been awhile since I’ve had that feeling) and closing it made me miss her all over again. I think I want to read a book every other month or so that Dewey read and reviewed, just for that feeling.

I must have a bit of fibro brain, since this post isn’t much of a review at all. Sorry about that-this is why I usually steer clear of my blog when I’m feeling weird! :)

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2009 5:03 pm

    I LOVE wine so this could definitely be a book for me.

    As a side note, they DO have alcohol-free wine. One brand is called Fre, and they have several different varieties. My husband loves wine too but he doesn’t drink alcohol anymore so he loves Fre. Try it out!

  2. November 24, 2009 5:21 pm

    I love wine and I added this book to my tbr list. Sounds great. Thanks for the great review, Eva!

  3. November 24, 2009 6:30 pm

    My friend turned me on to Lambrusco which is a sweet, bubbly red wine that’s served COLD. LOL. It tastes a little like sangria. I adore red wine but my friend does not like the dry red taste but she is sooo happy with her Lambrusco now.

  4. November 24, 2009 6:31 pm

    Mmm, Pinot Grigio. :-D

    I’m currently reading The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It. It’s surprisingly interesting.

  5. November 24, 2009 7:24 pm

    No weird at all! I love wine, but oddly enough I’ve never thought to read a book on it. This review has convinced me that I need to give it a try.

    P.S. And Ti’s right – Lambrusco is great. ;)

  6. November 24, 2009 7:30 pm

    I’m not much of a drinker myself, but I’ve been trying to branch out into wines a little. I did some traveling with a friend over the summer, and she is really into wine, so I’m trying to find “my” wine. She recommended Riesling for me when were out, and I really ended up liking that, but I’m still looking for a good red. The sweeter stuff is definitely more up my alley but not tooo sweet, so that makes it hard, too! Last year at Christmas we tried Merlot just out of curiosity and it was about as pleasurable as drinking vinegar…er…perhaps less so. It put me in the mind of those TV commercials with the”bitter beer face.”

    Turns out it’s easy to ramble on about wine – I’m doing it, too! LOL!

  7. November 24, 2009 7:47 pm

    I am a wine fan, and I have never heard of this book before today. I’ll definitely have to check it out. Reading your review made me wish I could read some of Dewey’s reviews. I never had the chance to see her blog or know her when she was living. I’m glad you and others are keeping her love of reading alive in spirit :)

  8. November 24, 2009 9:40 pm

    I don’t know that much about wine but this sounds down to earth enough for me to understand and enjoy.

    If you know the link to the Dewey review you can enter it into the Way Back Machine on Archive.org and it should come up.

  9. November 24, 2009 9:49 pm

    What? You don’t love wine? Is it weird (ok, I know the answer to this question before I even pose it) that I have this picture of you in my head of writing reviews always with a glass of wine by your computer? And here you are, SHATTERING that picture for me…

    As someone who grew up in a mostly vegetarian and extremely spicy food environment, I think there are definitely wines that can go with spicy vegetarian ( = South Indian) food. If I were you and wanted to get more into wines that go with that sort of food, I’d maybe just look at the online wine lists of some Indian restaurants and see what they have to pair with their meals.

  10. November 24, 2009 11:14 pm

    I don’t drink alcohol of any kind so I love that comment about alcohol-free wine!

    I’m very sad about Dewey’s site. I had enjoyed browsing the archives too!

  11. November 25, 2009 4:28 am

    Hi Eva,

    Thanks for this absolutely wonderful review of my book! I’m delighted that you enjoyed it. I hope you’ll get in touch with me via my web site:

    http://www.nataliemaclean.com

    Cheers,
    Natalie

    PS I also have a free wine newsletter if you’re interested :)

  12. November 25, 2009 11:32 am

    Thanks for the review and sounds like a great book.!

  13. November 25, 2009 3:02 pm

    I love learning about wine, especially about French wine. Reds from the Bordeaux region and whites from Alsace are my favorites. The book sounds really interesting! I’ll add it to my to-be-read -list.

    Greetings,
    Tiina

  14. November 25, 2009 3:04 pm

    I just love red wine. I think there is nothing better at the end of the day than a lovely glass of Rioja.

    What a lovely tribute to Dewey.

  15. November 25, 2009 3:09 pm

    I love wine, although I have to stick to whites and a very few reds because of allergies to the tannins in the reds. Sounds like a book I should pick up.

  16. November 25, 2009 3:27 pm

    I am glad you “rambled” as you called it Eva because you told enough about this book for me to understand why you enjoyed it so much (aside from Dewey’s love of the book, wish I could read her review!) and why it’s worth reading. I like wine although I don’t drink it often. I’ve always wanted to know more about wine but many books are either too advanced or too dry and boring. This book sounds entertaining and informative and fun while intructing the reader on wine.

    Thank you for your great post!

  17. November 26, 2009 4:18 am

    Sounds fab, especially if it has tips on how to host a fun wine tasting party because it seems like those kind of dos can so easily get stiff. I really enjoy the ramblage (new to your blog), it’s very personal and I always wish I could let myself go a bit more when reviewing.

  18. November 26, 2009 2:04 pm

    I love wine, and I’m definitely not a wine snob, so this sounds like a book I would enjoy.

    I’ve often wished they would put wine up into smaller bottles, and I’ve noticed that quite a few of the larger wine manufactuers are doing up four and six packs of small bottles.

    I limit myself to one glass per day (for health and calorie reasons!), but stretch it a bit by adding club soda for a nice refreshing fizz. Particularly good in the summer ~ and if you like champage and have a good imagination, you’re all set :)

  19. stacybuckeye permalink
    November 29, 2009 6:17 pm

    Well, I am a wine girl and I think I need to find this book. I drink those dry reds that non wine drinkers hate. You can open a bottle and put it in the frig. It won’t last forever, but at least a week. And it’s a good excuse to invite a friend over :)

  20. September 17, 2010 2:51 pm

    Thanks for linking to this review – sounds like a fun book!

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