Nat Decants Wine Reviews, Pairings, Recipes
Runs on: iPhone, BlackBerry, Droid, Nexus, Nokia, Palm Pre and other smartphones
You think you know how to pair wine. White meat, white wine. Red meat, red wine. Well, have you ever had Beef Bourguignon with Chardonnay? That’s right, a dish made with red wine but served with white. This is the kind of insight you get with James Beard award-winning wine writer Natalie MacLean’s new wine pairing app, Nat Decants Wine Reviews, Pairings, Recipes. This app is rich, insightful, and best of all, it’s free.
There are thousands of food and wine pairing suggestions (over 380,000 according to the app description); however, MacLean’s premium wine reviews are behind a paywall and require a $25/year subscription. There are, of course, thousands of free reviews, but these are all at least a year old. The premium reviews are current. Fortunately, as you know, most wines just get better with age.
Putting the premium content aside, the knowledge packed into this app is breathtaking. When you open the app you can select a wine, food or even occasion that you’d like to pair. Each level of navigation digs you deeper into what you’re looking for. For example, you would select: Cheese and then Gouda and then one of many wine varietals and finally a specific wine based on your preference. By the way, MacLean says Gouda pairs well with a 2005 Masi Chianti (score 86/100, price: $15.95).
The problem with this navigation system, however, is that if I know I have Gouda I want to pair, I have to navigate to page seven of the cheese category to find it. There’s no search function and the page navigation links are at the top of each page, meaning you have to scroll down, see that you’re not on the right page then scroll up to advance to the next page. Another hiccup is that when navigating from the wine menu, it will recommend a dish to serve it with, but not offer the recipe—those are offered elsewhere in the app. The winery locator also has a glaring omission. Where’s California? These are minor inconveniences considering all the free information available.
Not only does this app do a great job pairing food and wine, but it also connects users with MacLean’s blogs, articles, books, tweets, Facebook, videos and much more. When signed in, users can also create shopping lists, add wines to their “cellar” and more. Whether your friends think you’re a sommelier or wine noob, this app pairs well with your smartphone.
Toque Rating: 4/5