By John ~ October 16th, 2009.
Let’s get right to the bottom line: What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page is a great book. It is not an easy reading bedside book; but it is a superb reference work, the most comprehensive and useful book of its type that we’ve ever found. LaGayle, our food and cooking expert, has really been impressed by some of the unique pairing suggestions that she’s found in this book.
While the title is What to Drink with What You Eat, the book goes the other way, too, with a comprehensive section on “what to eat with what you drink.” Since we bought our copy of this book, this section has been especially helpful to LaGayle in planning the menus for our monthly wine tasting dinners once Kori and I have decided on the wine theme for the evening.
For example, if we were going to have a Cabernet Franc tasting, we would open the book to Chapter Six and listed under Cabernet Franc in BOLD CAPS are their very highly recommended pairings: BEEF, ESP. LEAN, AND ESPECIALLY ROASTED; DUCK; EGGPLANT; GAME, ESP. WITH FULLER-BODIED WINE; LAMB, ESP. CHOPS, LOIN, AND/OR ROASTED; MEAT, RED, ESP. GRILLED AND/OR ROASTED; AND PORK, ESP. WITH FRUIT SAUCE AND/OR ROASTED. Great quotes by noted wine and food experts are interspersed throughout the book, such as:
“As Cabernet Franc ages, it takes on a vegetal quality reminiscent of peppers or eggplant—and marries well with vegetables.” –Tim Kopec, Wine Director at Veritas (NYC)
Alternatively, if you were going to start with a unique entrée idea, say Catfish, and needed a wine pairing suggestion, you could go to Chapter Five and see Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sancerre were frequently recommended by a number of experts.
Chapters Five and Six really are the guts of the book. The one shortcoming of this book for me is that it doesn’t have an index. My guess is that it’s because the listings of foods in Chapter Five and wines in Chapter Six are in alphabetical order.
While the information for this book was compiled by the James Beard award-winning husband and wife team of Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, the raw material was supplied by more than seventy leading experts on wine and food pairings. Esthetically, it’s a nice looking, large, hardcover book that makes a great coffee table adornment and conversation starter.
It’s been amazing that since we’ve been using this book, how many other people I’ve noticed having it, many of whom have volunteered how helpful it has been to them. I believe you will join that list when you get your own copy.
What to Drink with What You Eat is currently available on Amazon.com for $22.05 and at fine booksellers almost everywhere.
Filed under: Food & Wine, Wine Books