Natalie MacLean Shares Her Wine Tips and Picks with Food Ontario
Photos provided by: Natalie MacLean
Natalie MacLean is an Ontario-based wine writer and an accredited sommelier. She recently revealed her last three years of travels and the wines and people she experienced in an interesting new book — Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass. MacLean also runs the website Nat Decants, from which she sends out a free e-newsletter to subscribers with her tasting notes, articles and humour on all things wine.
Recently Natalie launched a “Wine and Food Matcher” tool on her website. Visitors can now 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. There are also recipes and MacLean is even open to reader’s pairing suggestions. Dining and drinking was never so easy.
Food Ontario recently talked to Natalie about technology and how it is influencing the wine world.
Q: Some of Food Ontario’s readers may have read your book and many your magazine articles, but how do you think your Internet site is affecting your readership?
A: The Internet gives me a nanosecond appreciation of what interests my readers, especially via my free e-newsletter that now reaches more than 74,000 wine lovers. It’s so easy to hit reply and they do! They tell me whether they like a certain topic or not, whether they disagree or have questions. My readers are invaluable when it comes to researching a story too as often there may not be much written about a particular wine or person.
Q: How has modern technology changed the wine industry? (Internet, iPod Wine Guides, etc.)
A: Absolutely! You can buy small and obscure wines online, chat with other wine lovers online and even plan your vacation to wine country on the web.
Q: What inspired your food and wine pairing system?
A: The most frequent questions I get are about food and wine, from which wine for my oxtail soup to is there any wine I can drink with a Big Mac? I love that and it challenges me to find the answers and add more combinations to the matching tool on my site.
Q: Are there others out there with similar guides?
A: I’ve seen lots of charts and articles about this topic but not an interactive tool where you can start with a broad category of food or wine, narrow your choices and then get specific answers, as well as recipes.
Q: Many of our readers are vegetarians. What are some difficulties or advantages when it comes to matching wine and vegetables? Are there a few sample rules?
A: Green wine and green food go well together. Try wines that have herbal aromas and crisp acidity, such as Austrian Gruner Veltliner and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Q: Can you provide your favourite vegetarian and wine pairing suggestions?
A: Salad with a dry, lemony German or Canadian Riesling as well as asparagus with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Yum! I’d love for Food Ontario readers to challenge me to find more combinations for their favourite wines or dishes.
Natalie welcomes your feedback. If you can’t find a dish or wine listed, just hit the “Ask Natalie” link on her site Nat Decants.
by Cassandra Anderton
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