Anne Burrell was the guest of honor last night as the Food Network and Wente Wines unveiled their "entwines" at NYC's The Kitchen. The four varietals, which are designed to make wine more accessible to new drinkers, include Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. They'll retail for $12.99 and soon will be in grocery stores across the country. The bottles come equipped with pairing suggestions on the label, and the Pinot I sampled suggested, for example, guacamole! Karl Wente, who posed with Anne at the launch, said the collaboration was "a natural step that we hope will encourage Food Network viewers, as well as anyone who is wine-curious, to become as passionate about wine as they are about food." We snagged a moment with Anne to chat about her own wine preferences, as well as what she considers the perfect Summer meal. Anne said:
- On how she got over her own fear of wine: "I drank a lot of it! I experienced, I tasted it, I developed my own palate and that's research, drinking wine and having fun and deciding what I like and asking questions, asking for help. When you go to a restaurant or a wine store like ask people, 'What is this wine like? And this is what I'm making for dinner, would this go well?' . . . It's fun. It doesn't have to be scary and it doesn't have to be expensive either."
- On a good wine for beginners: "It depends on the time of year and where you are. Wine is clearly cheapest where it's local. So if you're in California, you can get a lot of stuff more cheaply than I can here in New York. In the summertime when it's really hot out, there are a ton of rosés and stuff that are available for $10 a bottle. So I would go to your wine store and ask and don't be embarrassed by it. Those people are in business to help you learn and sell wine. The more comfortable they make you, the more you'll want to go back there. So, it's a circular thing."
- On her ideal Summer meal: "I would say grilled fish, some fresh vegetables, a little veggie salad grilled, a little lemon, a little olive oil, then whatever fish is freshest, whatever your fishmonger has. Go to the green market and see what you feel like today, a little salad, a little something. Then like maybe grilled steak, grilled meat. Then go to your wine store and tell them what you got, whether it's fish, whether it's meat, whatever — tell them what vegetables you have then ask them what they recommend."
Keep reading for more about Anne's involvement with Entwine and her favorite wines for Summer.
- On her favorite Summer wines: "I'm always a fan of Prosecco, a little sparkly white wine. I drink white wine on the rocks! It's fine wine, and people are like, 'What?!' And I'm, 'You got a problem with it? Too bad. Then don't drink it on the rocks.' . . . Put a little Prosecco on the rocks and it's like good girl soda. It's just like delicious. Good rosés are really nice, crispy, I'm a fan of Novellino, a fan of Pinot Grigio, Manteno, all what I sort of call beach wines."
- On how she got involved with Entwine: "The Food Network decided to do a wine, [and] they were looking for a talent that could make, you know, sort of the unapproachable, approachable and comfortable — and that's exactly what I do in The Secrets of a Restaurant Chef! I teach people in a way that they don't really know that they're being taught, but they're like, 'That looks like fun — I can do it.' So it sort of seemed like a natural combination; I make food approachable and cooking approachable and so that was a natural marriage."
- How Entwine is different from other Wente wines: "I think that they really made this with the customer in mind, the beginning customer. If you were the beginning customer or wine drinker or an experienced wine drinker, I think it marries both of your palates. But they made it with the idea of 'let's have fun, let's drink wine!' "