I first came across Unquenchable in a magazine. I thought the cover was cute and the premise even cuter – “a tipsy quest for the world’s best bargain wines.’ It looked fun and informative and I added it to my mental ‘to read’ list. We came across the book again at Black Prince Winery while we were on our Prince Edward County trip this summer. Shawn saw it on a shelf and brought it over for me, thinking it was a book I’d be interested in. I agreed, but had already blown my budget on wine, as one does in PEC. Still, the book kept calling to me and I finally broke down and ordered it from Chapters.
I’m glad I did. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Natalie MacLean’s global search for bargain wines is about far more than where to get cheap vino. In fact, I’d argue that it’s really not about that at all. This is a love letter to wine regions around the world – an exploration of where good wines come from, how they are made and those who make them. It’s almost a bonus when at the end of each chapter she recommends the best wines from those regions for those of us on a budget. Not that I wasn’t taking notes!
Niagara, Portugal, South Africa, Germany – the regions she visits are as varied as the wines she tastes and the people she meets. The book is done in a breezy, conversational style that feels more like a girlfriend telling you her travel tales than a serious exploration of wine culture – and that’s a good thing. One of the things that has kept me from exploring wine in the past is that the books I’ve picked up have always felt so overwhelming and intimidating – if you don’t know your tannins from your terroir you can be easily put off by some wine writers. MacLean isn’t one of those – she gets that wine writing doesn’t have to be stuffy to be taken seriously.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in wine and I’ll look forward to reading MacLean’s first book, Red, White and Drunk All Over in the future.
Do you have a favourite book about wine? I’d love to hear about it.