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Matching Food and Wine is Rewarding

“Wine is made for drinking with food and when you have the perfect match –that is it— the experience will bring you to your knees!”

Master Sommelier Rene Chazottes

Well-known Canadian-based wine writer and sommelier, Natalie MacLean, now offers a new web site devoted to food and wine pairings. The author of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass, Natalie has tried to simplify and clarify the challenge of matching modern fusion cuisine and wines from new regions around the world. In addition, appropriate wine matches are suggested for common, everyday foods like TV dinners, fried chicken take-out, and even dessert such as Jell-O and fudge. Her new website, is a free, interactive matching tool. Visitors to the site can search by wine for meal inspirations or by food to find great wine choices. There are more than 360,000 food and wine combinations in the matcher as well as thousands of recipes for many dishes. Natalie is constantly adding more wines and foods based on the suggestions she receives from the 71,000 subscribers to her free e-newsletter,Nat Decants. If you have a dish or wine that stumps you, e-mail Natalie via the web site and she will suggest a match for you.

“The flavor of a food almost always reveals the quality of a wine and exalts it. In turn, the quality of a wine complements the pleasure of a food and spiritualizes it.”

Luigi “Gino” Veronelli, wine critic (1926-2004)

What to Drink with What you Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Sprits, Coffee, Tea— Even Water— Based on Expert Advice from America’s Best Sommeliers, Andrew Dorenburg and Karen Page, Bulfinch Press, New York, 2006 356 pp, hardbound, $35. This is a new, comprehensive volume on food and wine matching written by a young married couple who have achieved well-deserved notoriety for their previous books (Becoming a Chef, Dining Out, The New American Chef, and Culinary Artistry). They elicited the opinions of seventy of this country’s most knowledgeable pairing experts, including sommeliers (Belinda Chang, Rajat Parr) and chefs (Daniel Boulud, Traci Des Jardins). This is a reference for the sommelier-wannabe student of food and beverage pairing. Sprinkled with many quotes to support explanations, the book is a treasure-trove of pairing information written in an up-beat and entertaining style. The heart of the book can also be used as a quick reference using the two encyclopedic chapters that detail matching beverages to foods and matching foods to beverages.

“The primary purpose of wine is to make food taste better”

Myra Waldo

My bible of wine and food pairing is prominently displayed in my kitchen and I refer to this one book more than any other in my culinary library: The Vintner’s Table Cookbook: Recipes from a Winery Chef, Mary Evely, FRP Books, Nashville, Tennessee, 1998 (newest edition 2006), 176 pp, hardbound, $25. The introductory chapters deal with guidelines for food and wine pairing and includes a taste and an aroma wheel. The writing is brief, organized, and easy to comprehend. The recipes which follow are divided into chapters according to varietal. The most valuable pages in the book are tables outlining food affinities and food conflicts for each varietal. These profile tables are invaluable!!!!! Mary Evely was formerly the winery chef at Simi. Several years ago our wine club attended a wine and food pairing luncheon at Simi, and to this day, we still rhapsodize about Mary’s insights, her cooking skills, her book and that event. You must have this book!

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