Natalie MacLean is a member of the National Capital Sommelier Guild, the Wine Writers Circle and several French wine societies. Moreover, she is not only a sommelier but a wine writer, speaker, wine judge, and publisher of one of the largest wine newsletters on the Internet.
Her wine articles have been published internationally, and have appeared in the National Post, Canadian Business Magazine, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Food & Drink and the Ritz-Carlton Magazine, among others.
Furthermore, MacLean is also columnist in the Globe & Mail’s Report on Business magazine and author of the book Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass, which chronicles her last three years of travels and the wines and people she experienced.
This book was recently chosen the Best Wine Literature Book in the English language at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. It also won the Culinary Literary Book Award in the Cordon d’Or international culinary arts competition.
Moreover, Natalie MacLean has been awarded four times with the James Beard Foundation Awards and has got the World’s Best Drink Writer award in the World Food Media Awards, granted by the French group Le Cordon Bleu.
MacLean also runs the website Nat Decants (www.nataliemaclean.com), from which she sends out a free newsletter to subscribers with her tasting notes and articles that cover a wide range of topics, from the health benefits of wine and restaurant lists to food and wine matching and wine buying suggestions.
Recently, MacLean launched a “Wine and Food Matcher” tool on her website, where visitors can search the database by entering the type of food they will be serving, or the type of wine that they will be drinking, and up pops numerous pairing suggestions.
Best value wine picks
Last week Natalie MacLean recommended 52 wines from several regions, price points, styles and food matches. Three of these wines come from Mendoza, Argentina, and they have a good price-quality ratio (around 15 dollars).
Below, readers may find the three outstanding Argentinian wines and the tasting notes made by Natalie MacLean:
- Familia Zuccardi Santa Julia Magna 2005 – 89 pts.
Lovely, extraordinary in fact for the money! Red with velvet depths and succulent berries and plums. Some dark spices and anise on the finish.
- Finca El Origen Reserva Malbec 2007 – 88 pts.
Fantastic value for this spicy, black-fruited number. Full-bodied with supple layers. It’s perfect for barbecue. This wine was aged 9 months in French oak.
- Finca Flichman Expresiones Reserve Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – 87 pts.
A juicy wonder with full-bodied goodness and depth. Perfect as a party wine or for barbecues. Notes of black cherry, blackcurrant and licorice. The grapes were hand-picked and the wine was aged 8 months in American and French oak.