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Unquenchable!: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines - Review

Empty Your Glass, But Not Your Wallet!

by Natalie MacLean

(Perigee Trade; HC 2011, PBK 2012)

Unquenchable!: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines by Natalie MacLean

Sommelier and wine journalist Natalie MacLean's Unquenchable takes readers around the world in search of good wines at reasonable prices. Written as a narrative, the book is divided into eight chapters structured around the days of the week (Sunday opens and closes the cycle) and eight wine regions: Australia, Mosel (Germany), Niagara (Canada), South Africa, Sicily, Argentina, Douro (Portugal) and Provence (France). The greater part of each chapter consists of MacLean's descriptions of her winery visits and winemaker interviews on her quest for bargain vino. Once each regional narrative is finished, the chapter concludes with insider tips, suggestions for value wines and value producers and wine pairings.

What makes Unquenchable such an enjoyable read is MacLean's evident enthusiasm for her subject, engaging writing style and self-deprecating humor. Of Argentine winemaker Dr. Nicholas Catena, MacLean quips, "I'm wondering how I can carry on a conversation with a man whose IQ is in a range that I'll never see, except maybe on the bathroom scale." In contrast to the often staid tasting notes provided by winemakers, she colorfully describes a Pinot Noir from Niagara as "a butch wine that's powerful and masculine up front, followed by a floral finish that runs wild with macerated black cherries. A vein of violets and truffles rippling through it gives me gooseflesh." While we would have liked to see photos of the places and people MacLean so vividly describes, her latest book is an excellent resource for those looking for accessible wine advice.

Reviewed by Barnaby Hughes

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