World Drink Wine Day with Wine Expert Natalie MacLean - Dundurn
Feb 18, 2023

World Drink Wine Day with Wine Expert Natalie MacLean

Today is a great day for wine lovers — it's World Drink Wine Day! And what goes best with wine? Books of course! We asked Natalie MacLean, wine expert and author of the upcoming memoir Wine Witch on Fire, for some wine pairings with some of the books we've been reading recently. Check them out below! Natalie also paired some great bottles to enjoy alongside her memoir when it comes out. 

Chelsea Wakelyn’s What Remains of Elsie Jane, a heartbreaking and darkly funny portrait of a woman unravelling in the wake of tragedy, would pair beautifully with Thirty Bench Pinot Noir from Niagara. This a silky, medium-bodied wine is known as the “heartbreak grape” because it’s so difficult to make. When all of the elements come together — good weather, deft winemaking — it’s sublime, just like the character development and narrative drive in Chelsea’s contemporary fiction novel.

A full-bodied Masi Amarone from Italy, with its brooding aromas of dark berries and smoke, would go down well while reading Blood Atonement by S.M. Freedman. The dual timeline in this cult thriller would bring out the layered complexity in this wine.

The characters in One Night in Mississippi by Craig Shreve stay with you long after you finish this mystery novel. It’s the same with great wines: their taste memory haunts you as you gaze at the empty bottle. Pair this book with a rich Caymus-Suisun Grand Durif from California for a satisfying finish both in the glass and on the page.

The Showrunner, a contemporary women's fiction novel from Kim Moritsugu cries out for the Peter Lehmann Barossan Shiraz from Australia, a robust wine to match the power struggle between an aging TV show creator and her former protégée. The notes in the wine will leave you thirsting for the resolution to the blood feud that plays out in this book.

For this memoir from Andrew Brobyn, previously a mid-level drug trafficker, I’d suggest the Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling from Washington State. The wine has a racy, nervy acidity that matches the tension in Babble On, but it’s also low in alcohol so you can keep reading deep into the night.

The adult fantasy novel Yume by Sifton Tracey Anipare is a natural partner to with its equally captivating aromas and zest of Segura Viudas Cava from Spain. Both the bubbly and the book will keep you tingling until the spiraling end.

For Wine Witch on Fire, I'd suggest a few wines to take you through the rollercoaster of emotions in my memoir. Start with a light unoaked Chardonnay, the Jean-Marc Brocard Sainte Claire Chablis from Burgundy, France, for the seemingly perfect life in the opening chapters. Then descend down into the depths of the conflict at the heart of the book with a dark and stormy Benziger Family Cabernet Sauvignon from California. Resurface with me at the end for a joyful toast with Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Just be sure to pace yourself with the wine and the book ;) 

Natalie MacLean, named the World's Best Drinks Writer, has also won four James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards. She’s the bestselling author of Red, White and Drunk All Over. She hosts the NYT recommended podcast Unreserved Wine Talk. She lives in Ottawa. Learn more here.