The Food Lover's Guide to Wine on NXNW

First aired on North by Northwest (15/1/12)

Andrew Dornenberg is a chef; Karen Page is a journalist. They both love food and wine, and together they have written a number of award-winning books on culinary subjects. Their latest collaboration, The Food Lover's Guide to Wine, was voted the best wine guide of 2011. They talked about the book, and their approach to enjoying wine, as recent guests in NXNW's Cooking Club.

Andrew Dornenberg and Karen Page.jpg

Karen pointed out that many books about wine are encylopedic but rather intimidating. "We wanted to write a book that would bring people in."

Andrew agreed that their target audience was the ordinary person, whose approach to wine as a consumer is simple: "this is my budget, and what will this wine taste like, and what am I having for dinner."

Karen emphasized that it doesn't have to be complicated. "If you love food you understand flavour, and you can understand wine. Because wine is just one more layer of flavour in terms of enjoying a meal," she said, adding that the right wine with the right food can be "heaven."

They also want to encourage people to sample different varietals, not just the commonplace Chardonnays and Cabernets. "There's a lot of exciting new flavours to explore," Karen said.

When it comes to sampling something new, Andrew suggested that if you go to a restaurant, you should tell the sommelier what you usually like to drink at home, and identify the price point you want.

The Food Lover's Guide to Wine includes user-friendly charts that compare the flavours in food to the same ones in wine. "People get so intimidated about wine," Karen explained. "They think they have to have the right language. They think they need to use fancy terms, and that's not the case at all. If you like cherries, you'll love an Oregon Pinot Noir. If you love peaches, you're going to love trying Viognier."

When asked for her favourite food and wine pairing, Karen, a self-described "chocoholic," mentioned wines that complement chocolate, including Banyuls ("a wine from France that makes chocolate taste even better"), sweet or Oloroso sherry from Spain and vintage port .

Andrew opted for a good California cabernet with lamb. He mentioned that there are other classic pairings that work, such as Zinfandel and Pinot Noir, but his choice is the Cabernet, though he added that he hasn't narrowed it down to a favourite one. "Always refining" is how he describes his approach

As for The Food Lover's Guide to Wine, he said: "We just want to bring you to the table, pour you some wine and tell you we're happy you're here."

Food Lovers Guide to Wine.jpg

The Food Lover's Guide to Wine

by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg

Buy this book at:

Save on Music, Books and Dvds at Indigo

From the publisher:

"A wine book unlike any other, THE FOOD LOVER'S GUIDE TO WINE offers a fresh perspective via the single aspect of wine most compelling to food lovers: flavor. At the heart of this indispensable reference, formatted like the authors' two previous bestsellers The Flavor Bible and What to Drink with What You Eat, is an encyclopedic A-to-Z guide profiling hundreds of different wines by their essential characteristics-from body and intensity to distinguishing flavors, from suggested serving temperatures and ideal food pairings to recommended producers (including many iconic examples)..."

Read more at Little and Brown.