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.