A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines
Format: Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: Anchor Canada
ISBN: 978-0-385-66850-7 (0-385-66850-3)
Pub Date: October 23, 2012
Add this item to your cart
Written with the trademark wit and verve that has earned MacLean a devoted international following as well as myriad awards for her wine writing, Unquenchable is much more than a shopping list for the thrifty tippler. Packed with colourful stories about the obsessive characters who inhabit the world of wine, the book takes readers on a whirlwind journey to the mountainside vineyards of Germany, the baked red earth of Australia, and the shady verandahs of Niagara--as well as to gorgeous, offbeat locations in southern Italy, the Mediterranean, Argentina, Chile and South Africa--all in search of the best value bottles the world has to offer. Inevitably, she discovers some truly awful wines along the way, but that just gives her an opportunity to provide readers with practical advice about wine faults to be wary of, as well as insights into the shortcuts some producers take.
Unquenchable is a book both wine novices and experts will love.
"In those days, I did it all: I made the wine, I sold the wine," he says, as we look at a photo of Wolf in his early twenties, with a slicked-back ducktail haircut, sitting on the hood of a convertible. He became known as much for the way he sold his wine as for the way he made it. At baseball games, for instance, he'd chat with the television cameramen, telling them he'd be in the crowd with his winery sign. Every time they focused on the sign, there was a case of wine for them.
"So the ball is hit out of the park, it's a home run-up, up, up…everyone's watching it except the cameraman because he's found my sign. Bloody cunning!" he says approvingly at the memory.
He also used to have himself paged over the intercom system at airports so that shoppers in the duty-free stores would hear the name Wolf Blass, and he'd conduct impromptu wine-tastings on planes with captive audiences. He was one of the first in the industry to realize that the winemaker is integral to the marketing of the product: the human face of the wine.
"People do business with people, not products. They want to put a face on the bottle. I went to every bloomin' state, every black-tie dinner, every bloody radio station," he says, his eyes twinkling like stage lights. "In one speech, I told them I didn't think Australian wine was worth more than $10. I told them, 'I'm going back home: you don't deserve good wine!'" But his chronic dissatisfaction with the status quo made him stay and create his first namesake wine, priced at $15.
"I can't stand to lose," he says, as we walk over to a large glass cabinet filled with his trophies from wine competitions. Critics of Australian wine shows say that just about every wine gets a medal, and the heftiest ones win these sensory weightlifting contests. However, Wolf believes that the competitions have raised the overall quality of Australian wine. Winemakers often share their knowledge at the gatherings, allowing the industry to fix faults and improve techniques.
In the early 1970s, Wolf was frustrated by a losing streak with his wines. A friend advised him to ask the judge's advice (rather than punching him out). The judge taught Wolf how to adjust his palate to "the winning formula." His new approach helped him to win the country's top winemaking prize, the Jimmy Watson Trophy, three years in a row, in 1974, 1975, and 1976-a record never equalled before or since.
In his acceptance speech, Wolf declared that his wine could "make strong women weak and weak men strong. It's a bloody aphrodisiac: I can prove it because I'm testing it on myself!"
From the Hardcover edition.
Praise for Unquenchable
"A book that is part armchair travel, part memoir and part wine class--without ever being overtly instructional."
"MacLean's new book brings valuable information stripped away of the pretense and/or technical minutiae of more encyclopedic wine-related volumes. Instead of dry, data-heavy writing, MacLean infuses the book with luscious prose."
NATALIE MACLEAN, named the World's Best Drinks Writer at the World Food Media Awards in Australia, has won four James Beard Foundation Journalism awards and six IACP Bert Greene Awards; and is the only person to win both the M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award from the James Beard Foundation and the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing from Les Dames d'Escoffier International. An accredited sommelier, she is the author of Red, White and Drunk All Over.
Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!