Red, White and Drunk All Over

A while back best-selling author, sommelier and all around wine-woman extraordinaire, Natalie MacLean, contacted me.  She so kindly extended some information to me about wine and food pairing.  It was greatly appreciated.

As I mentioned, Natalie is an award winning journalist.  She has four prestigious James Beard Journalism Awards under her belt.  Wow.  Her list of writing accolades is actually quite endless!  Let’s just say she’s great at what she does.  Of course I was thrilled she contacted little ole’ me!

Natalie offered to send me a copy of her book, Red, White and Drunk All OverA Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to GlassSince I had not yet had the pleasure of reading her book I graciously accepted her offer.

Of course it is no secret I have always enjoyed reading about wine in any capacity.  Whether it be a light-hearted wine tale through the hills of Tuscany or the scientific descriptions of micro-oxygenation techniques in winemaking, I always love a good wine-read.

What surprised me about Natalie’s writing was her engaging perspective.  She not only indulged my mind but my taste buds as well.  She makes you feel you are right there with her sipping, swirling and tasting wine with her.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much a part of someone else’s tasting experiences as I did while reading this book.

Natalie’s take on all that is wine is an approachable adventure through many facets of the wine industry.  Her tireless and curious nature takes you through understanding the personality of wine in the vineyard, the winery and most importantly the glass.  She does not attempt to do this in a classroom setting, she takes you there; to the soil, to the grapes.  It’s fascinating and impressive all at once.

Her style of writing is light, easy and humorous.   You forget you are being educated on wine’s many mysteries page after page.  It is the perfect book for those of you still trying to deconstruct wine but will engage even the most fervent oenophile.

The interviews and discussions with wine industry experts, winemakers and longtime wine families give great perspective into the history that built the industry.

However there was a statement made by the very successful French, wine proprietor, Lalou Bize-Leroy, that has stuck with me long after I finished reading this book.  Bize-Leroy was speaking about biodynamics in the vineyard (farming based on holistic processes of organic agriculture) and how many winegrowers give up on this method before they really see a difference in the health of their vines.  She said:

The earth responds slowly.  You must go to the end of what you think: having an idea is not enough.”

I loved this quote, not just for its literal reference to biodynamic farming, something I’m not even so sure is the right path for me in my own farming endeavors, but for believing in an idea and following through with it, doing what it takes to get there.

“…to the end of what you think…”  I love that.

Anyway, I tremendously enjoyed reading this book and would like to give you a chance to read it too.  By leaving a comment here today (before 10:00 PM Pacific Time), a lucky reader will be chosen to receive a copy of this amazing book.  The winner will be determined by Random Integer Generator and posted here tomorrow.  Check back for the results.

Thanks again Natalie for sending me your wonderful book!  I truly enjoyed it.

Post a Comment


  1. Alan 1

    It’s something that doesn’t just refer to making wine. You could very profitably use that maxim for all of your path through life.

  2. HoneyB 2

    I love the quote – very inspiring! There is nothing worth making life worth living like working towards your goals and along the way as you accomplish them, you obtain new ones and the process goes on.

  3. Deeba 3

    What an engaging piece of writing about an engaging book. Felt it all go along like a film. The quote is very very inspiring…spot on…to the end of what you think indeed! What a nice way to begin a day…thanks Cathy!

  4. Helen 4

    For me, that is the secret of good writing – making the reader feel like they are there, living the experience. All my faveourite food writers do this, Nigel Slater, Nigella Lawson for example. I’m really curious about this book!

  5. Great review Cathy!

    Your delicious praise has got me drunk with the possibility of reading it!

    Fingers double crossed x

  6. Great review Cathy!

    Your delicious praise has got me drunk with the possibility of reading it!

    Fingers double crossed x

  7. Two of the friends we visited in Los Gatos make wine, so we got a fair amount of wine talk while we were there. I have to admit I didn’t understand it all, but they did send us home with three bottles. I’m looking forward to trying it after it settles. Wow. I didn’t know that it was supposed to settle. Or that many (or is it most?) red wines are meant to be finished off within 24 hours of opening the bottle. Or that I should refrigerate an opened bottle even. I’m afraid to admit some of the wine horrors I’ve committed over the years. Maybe this is why we don’t drink wine often? My point is, I’m a wine idiot. I think I need this book;o)

  8. Mama K 8

    Marvelous quote – to the end of what you think. It’s something I am working on developing myself. That AND and increased knowledge of wine which is something I’ve always enjoyed in the glass, at the table, etc but have never felt informed or educated about. Coming from a family who appreciates and is educated about wine I’ve always felt a bit disabled so the book sounds fabulous and I appreciate your review greatly. Whether I should be the lucky recipient (I feel I am already a lucky reader having come across your blog and read this post by way of Mama Goose) or not, I will read the book!
    Thanks for a great review!

  9. O.K. After the emotions that last posting of yours stirred up, I poured myself a glass of wine, returned to reading my favorite blogs, and VOILA! You are writing about a subject that brings my husband and I great pleasure.

    I must tell you, your blog and one or two others have helped ease the pain the CA legal system has inflicted on our family. This is how I discovered blogs…searching on-line for info..along the way I discovered people writing about life, their passions, and somewhere along the way this all helped me gain perspective. And, my husband and I do so appreciate a good wine accompanied by great food ! Your blog has provided this. Thank-you Noble Pig ! KathyB.

  10. Stephanie 10

    I think that I would be a perfect candidate for this book. You see I am a Two Buck Chuck wine drinker! No, really. I just don’t get the wine thing. I need help badly!

  11. One of the nice things about your post is there is something to learn besides how to taste wine. Following your idea to the end is inspiring. Please don’t include my name in the contest. Get the book to a wine drinker.

  12. Another fantastic post!!! What a way to come back to reading Noble Pig, after having been away for a few months (celebrating the birth of our twins, and now celebrating utter and complete lack of sleep, LOL). I NEED a glass of wine!!

  13. Barbie with a T 13

    I would love to read that book! Sounds very interesting and educational. I am sure if you have recommended it, it is a good one. Although I am not really into winemaking myself, I appreciate the art of winemaking from the cultivating of the grapes to the process, all the way down to the bottling of the wine and the wine tasting. You have already taught me so much about the winetasting and I plan on following you through the wine making process until you reach that point of “What you think” and beyond. If I am not too old by the time you have a production line of wine, I plan on taking a trip to your part of the country just to visit your winery. I probably have another good 20 years left, so there is a possibility that I might be able to see first hand your successful venture. Maybe by that time I will be a successful wine critique and will be able to judge for myself the quality of California and Oregon wines. Thanks again for the education so far, the recipes, the humor, the photography, the other interesting entries you have written. I am so glad I stumbled onto the first entry I ever read of yours because they keep getting better and better as you put them out there!

  14. I almost skipped the post-glad I didn’t for the inspiring quote at the end. Just wanted to leave a thanks. No need to include me in the book count- gave up this libation decades ago.

  15. Julia 15

    Hi, love wine, very much a beginner. would enjoy the book. Very much enjoy your blog. Thanks, julie

  16. melissa 16

    I would love this book. If I don’t win I probably go and buy it. I never know what wine to drink with what and have bought some nasty wine. So I looked at books to tell me what I should get and there are so many I didn’t buy one.

  17. Your passion for wine just amazes me.

    How did this all start – what got you interested in wine ?

  18. annie 18

    After our brief tour of the southern Illinois wine country (I know, who knew, wine and Illinois in the same breath) my husband and I are excited about the wine and the processes to get it there!

  19. MsMVNJ 19

    I love to drink wine and I love to read about it. Damn Skippy I would love to win the book! That quote is thought provoking – the earth responds slowly, and in a hyper-charged world, it’s not unusual when we miss the subtle clues the earth provides.

  20. oh goody…sign me up. i’m going to napa next month and need to prepare!

  21. Tipper 21

    Sounds like a good book-for someone like me-a complete novice. I love the quote too. Somehow makes me feel better.

  22. Thanks, Cathi for keeping me up on all the latest.

  23. Nell 24

    Cathy – That quote is a keeper!! I have been inspired to learn more about wine since I’ve been reading your blog. And you’ve done a great job so far. Thanks! This looks like a terrific read.

  24. Melissa 25

    I would love to read this book!

  25. Maureen 26

    Oh yes! I have wanted to read her book and sadly, the library hasn’t had it. I’d love a chance to win!

  26. Bevin Gaines 27

    I certainly hope to be the lucky winner, but if not, I’ll probably snag this read either way. Thank you for keeping it smart and fun.

  27. Lisa 28

    Would love to read this, and love your site, your humor and honesty-great job!

  28. Max 29

    How simple and profound. Again, another wonderful post by you!

    “…to the end of what you think…”

  29. AppleTree 30

    Very cool. My mom just sent me a copy of this book and reading sucha grand review has now gotten it moved to the top of the “to-be-read” stack.

  30. I plan to be Red, White and Drunk tonight as I watch the Olympics! Go USA!

  31. “…to the end of what you think.” May just be my new favorite phrase.

  32. kevin47747 33

    …’a comment’. I want the book.

  33. Sounds like a good read. Thanks for the review.

  34. Kari 35

    Great book review, it sounds like an enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  35. Tracy 36

    I’m looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  36. It sounds like a very interesting and informative book! I know my husband and BIL would be interested in it too. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  37. flyfishergal 38

    I’m sold! If I’m not the lucky winner, I’m going to Amazon for this one! Thanks Kathy!

  38. sharon 39

    Sounds like a great book – thanks for the review! We have a couples Sonoma trip coming up and I’d love to wow everyone with my wine knowledge :)

  39. Leah Q 40

    Well, you know I will comment! No need to ask….I love that saying…there is also something that should be savored (in this case grape plants) which take several years to become hardy enough for wine picking, then there is of course, the actual making wine and letting it ‘mature’, like bread dough or grilled meat off the heat source, it must rest. After this wonderful resting period, voila, the perfect bread, the prefect grilled steak and of course, after maturing that perfect glass of wine!
    Im in!

  40. Too cool! The book sounds great and the quote is fantastic. Can’t wait to see who wins!

  41. vanessa 42

    Sounds like a good book! I won free smoothies for my office the other day so I’m feeling sort of lucky right now, haha. But either way, I’ll have to read this … I’ve been meaning to read a book about wine to supplement my Noble Pig education :)

  42. I don’t drink wine, but one of my favorite movies
    is A GOOD YEAR
    with Russell Crow where he inherits a vineyard. I am sure knowing your sensibilities that you have already seen it.
    That is cool that she sent you a copy!

  43. Flea 44

    I love good book reviews. :) Good quotes are even better!

  44. Whitney 45

    I would love to better educate myself. I am just starting to get into wine. My boyfriend’s father is obsessed and even works at a winery in PA in his spare time (Chaddsford).

  45. That is a great quote! Nothing worth having comes without effort!

  46. Erin 47

    I’m happy to leave a comment even I don’t win! (However, I’m a huge reader and my “currently reading” list on my blog is empty!! Which means I need some good readin!) Sounds like I’ll check out the book regardless-she sounds like a passionate person, and wine and food are 2 wonderful things to be passionate about! Hope my Irish blood works for me this time!!

  47. Shelly 48

    My book club would love this! Thanks for the review.

  48. Corinne 49

    Sounds like a great read!
    I had seen a review for this book a little while ago and had forgotten about it, but will have to have a look at it soon.

  49. ALF 51

    I really need to get more interested in wine. That is my new goal.

  50. Lennie 52

    Ooooh, a contest … what fun! I know so little about wine, except that red wine used to be great … then it gave me headaches …. and now the headaches seem to happen less often. When I have wine, I mean……..

  51. Ann 53

    It is, indeed a wonderful quote, and one which I can think of a lot of contexts for.

  52. Sounds like a good book. I don’t know much about wine but I would definitely like to learn much more!

  53. Red, White and Drunk All Over…..Jesus, that could’ve been the title to a book based on any of my summers during college.

    I wrote an article about a local winery (Yes, Oklahoma has wineries, though few) and I was really overwhelmed by all the information from just one vineyard.

  54. krysta 56

    I think my comment will be very fitting today…

    yesterday was the blessing of the grapes around here. The Monsignor blessed the 2008 crop and it was also the first day of harvest for sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio grapes. Here’s to a good year!

  55. Tara 57

    Crossing my fingers!!! :)

  56. Woo Hoo!!!! A free book about wine! What could be better??

  57. that girl down south 59

    I’m just learning about wine and trying to broaden my tastes. This would definitely get me on the right track.

  58. jancd 60

    I could certainly use this book in my search for a wine education.

  59. How kind of you to review her book! She’s probaly more excited than you are right now!

    I’m so glad you liked Callie and her critters! I can’t wait to hear what your boys think.

    My dad always threw a glass of cold water on me. Literally, head to toe, blankets and all. I didn’t sleep in as a child.

  60. What a perspective on life. Pass me a glass!

  61. Daisy 63

    Excellent quote. I’m really glad you shared that as it is going somewhere prominent on my desk soon!

  62. Sounds like a great read! I love that quote .. I live that quote! I’m off for the day! Thanks for the book review — I love to learn while I exercise my passion for reading. : )

  63. Sandie 65

    Oh pick me, pick me, random number generator! I would so love to win a copy of this book!

    Thanks for the review, Cathy!

  64. laura 66

    ooooh, ooooh, pick me!!

  65. phillygirl64 67

    Natalie was a guest blogger on epicurious a while ago and I really enjoyed her posts there…I seem to remember her mentioning the book over there and have been wanting to read it

  66. I need the book.
    End of story.

  67. Sarah 69

    Hello Pam!
    I recently subscribed to your blog and am enjoying browsing through your recipes. I have heard of this book around – I would like to read it!

  68. Sadie 70

    Hmmm… It sounds like a truly fascinating book.

  69. Susan Maggy 71

    Sounds like just the book to read while sitting peacefully and contentedly in my lounge chair, sipping a glass of zin, at the coast. Did I mention while listening to the waves on the rocks??
    Eighteen days and counting!

  70. Oh my Lord, I so identify with that quote. Only for me, it’s about my novel (and the NEXT book I’m already working on). It’s been four and a half years and I’ve thought several times that I’d come to the end (you can read that statement any way you want) only to find it was still in process. The challenge is, seeing that process through to the end . . . when it finally does arrive . . . and staying focused on the task at hand in the meantime.

  71. Egghead 73

    Sounds like such a great read….I know my husband would love it as well.

  72. Vicki 74

    Oh, I’d love to read this!

  73. Madelyn 75

    Your lovely review makes it that much more enticing!
    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  74. I’m wondering if you can publish the review you wrote? Nicely done!

  75. ELRA 78

    Would love, love, love to have this book for me and my husband. He reads a lot….I never seen someone who love to read as much as my husband. He also love to read anything related to wine and cheese!

  76. Molly 79

    if i don’t win the book i’ll surely put it on my amazon wish list! thanks for the rave review :-)

  77. Warren 80

    Great revue. Sounds like a book I’d like to add to my library.

  78. Kathy,

    It’s hard to beat biodynamics in winemaking. I was at Robert Sinskey Vineyards this week and had the pleasure of tasting several of his wines with grapes farmed using biodynamics. Simply stunning and I’ll definitely check out the book.


  79. If I don’t win it, I’ll buy it.
    Mouthwatering review. Thanks!

  80. I get Natalie’s emails and enjoy reading them. One of these years I look forward to picking up the book as well.

    Thanks for the extra push!

  81. bunny 84

    i’m quite curious about wine. working in a restasurant that serves wine has made me want to know more about it. this would be a very good book for me to read.

  82. Uh hello? Hello? I am here for the book?

  83. melly~ 86

    I don’t know anything about the awards you mentioned or the author of a book I’d love to read but YOUR writing takes me right there too. Love it.

    Are you accepting bribes? :)

  84. Thanks for the suggestion…I’m trying to expand my oenophilic (is this a word?) library!!!

  85. pick me pick me random integer generator–looks like a good book!

  86. I’m not sure what ungodly hour of morning it is, unwinding after a very easy night of work. Geri-psych, very interesting. Sounds like a great read.
    I hope you do go organic or mostly so, your land looks very healthy, the raspberries will add a lot of interest. Have you ever been down to Soquel to Bargetto’s? They have fruit dessert wines, the ollaliberry is my favorite. I know I misspelled that and the spell checker doesn’t know either, excuse me.

  87. Wow Cathy, thanks so much for your wonderful review of my book!


    Editor of Nat Decants Free Wine Newsletter

    Author of Red, White and Drunk All Over

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