Food & Wine
April 01, 2010

I don't have a whole lot of patience for people who take themselves very, very seriously. Particularly if those people are wine experts. Wine should be fun. Yes, I think you should swirl and sniff and play the guess-the-flavor game, but at the end of the day, I like to drink wine because it tastes good and I have a great time. This issue provides lots of opportunities for that kind of satisfying wine experience.

In this quest, I have a few role models. Two are star chef Daniel Boulud and internationally acclaimed Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz, an avid wine collector. When Daniel and Vik get together, they always have fun. That became evident when we dropped in at a party at Vik's Brooklyn studio. Daniel made Brazilian dishes like the seafood stew moqueca (delicious with a Provençal rosé) and a few French ones like a basil-crusted leg of lamb (amazing with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape).

Actor Kyle MacLachlan is another role model. He recently decided to make wine in Walla Walla, Washington, as a way to follow his passion and spend more time with his father, who lives nearby. In 2008, he released his first vintage of Pursued by Bear, a Cabernet blend, and it was fantastic (I won't bog you down with a list of flavor adjectives). Kyle invited F&W on a tour of his Walla Walla hangouts and enlisted his favorite chefs to cook for a dinner party at one of his favorite bars. You'll find those recipes here; the paella-like fideos with ham, shrimp and clams is fabulous.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue, but I also want you to feel like you're learning something. That's why you'll see "pop quizzes" in every story to help you master some wine basics. The questions aren't hard—wine experts might not be impressed. But then they'd be missing all the fun.

Where I'm Coming From

Notes from my Madrid Expedition:

At this cool new place, I wanted to swipe my friends' portions of sartén de huevos con trufa, a messy, rich, delicious dish of fried potatoes, egg and truffle.

El Quinto Vino
From the preserved mussels served right from the tin to the grilled "secret" pork, this was a meal to remember forever.

It's possible that I loved the plump, transcendent white mushrooms with ham more than the classic bean stew, but it's hard to say, since the wine was so good and plentiful.

Follow me on Twitter@fwscout.

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