By Nicci Jordan Hubert
How I was greeted: a wine glass with my name on it
Everybody knows that few things pair better with food than wine, and that is the premise behind Food Network’s new venture, entwine. The idea: the network has already done an amazing job of making gourmet food accessible to the everyday home cook, but wine, and particularly how it mixes and matches with food, is still a mystery to so many viewers. Thus, entwine.
Chefs hard at work
The unveiling event of entwine was a perfect way to get a taste (literally) of the new brand. In the actual kitchen of NYC’s The Kitchen, cater waiters served Anne Burrell’s small bites creations, delivered in tandem with its wine pair. Embarassingly enough, while enjoying a glass of pinot and chatting with Anne Burrell herself, I took a bite of her lamb and tzatziki h’ordeurves, and with my mouth half-full, said, “Sorry, Anne…I actually just stopped listening to you because this food is so amazing.” She smiled politely at the crazy person before her and said, “Glad you liked it,” and then her attention was drawn elsewhere, undoubtedly to a saner member of the gathering.
Winemaker. Karl Wente and Secrets of a Restaurant Chef host, Anne Burrell
Anyway…about the wine. An exclusive partnership with Wente Vineyards of California (just outside of San Francisco) entwine is a collection of four popular vino varieties—Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon—all of which are clearly labeled for their ideal pairing choices. For example, on the bottle itself, the Pinot Grigio suggests pairings with a diverse list of foods from salty cheeses to guacamole to Asian takeout to tropical fruit. And the Merlot bottle recommends pairing (or entwining) with salami, pizza, mac and cheese… you get the idea. Every food has a wine counterpart, entwine proposes, it’s just a matter of eliminating the guessing game of which goes well with what. No need for high-brow here– we’re talking about mac and cheese, after all.
Anne's grilled lamb with tzatziki.
A shot of the event
I got a chance to talk with Karl Wente, 5th generation winemaker at Wente vineyards, about the brand. I asked him how Wente and Food Network chose each other, and he said that its was sort of love at first conversation. They had the same mindset: use wholly sustainable products, make delicious wine, and cut out the mystery of what makes wine delicious. Also, I must add, Mr. Wente is extremely good looking. I had a hard time acting cool, but I tried, my friends, I tried.
Me with Karl Wente
Entwine and sliders
As I write, I’m sipping a glass of the entwine Pinot, which was definitely my favorite of the evening, and it is just as the label promises: like apple sweetened with honey and lime juice. At $12.99 per bottle, the wine sounds, and tastes, good to me.