Williams-Sonoma Wine & Food: A New Look at Flavor
Josh Wesson delights with his wine and food pairing expertise
Reviewed by Claudia Alarcón, Fri., Aug. 1, 2008
Williams-Sonoma Wine & Food: A New Look at Flavorby Joshua Wesson
Free Press, 176 pp., $29.95
In this new, highly informative, and entertaining book from the Williams-Sonoma collection, Josh Wesson shares with the reader his no-frills philosophy to wine-and-food pairing. Wesson, the co-founder of Best Cellars, is a pioneer in the wine-styles retail concept: classifying wine around flavor groups instead of grape varietals, demystifying wine-buying for the novice, and making it easy to turn it into an everyday drink.
The book starts with the basics of wine, from grape varietals, wine regions, and bottle shapes to how to read a wine label and evaluate a wine using all the senses. The chapters that follow offer advice on wine-and-food pairings focusing on wine styles: sparkling, crisp whites, soft whites, rich whites, pink wines, juicy reds, smooth reds, bold reds, and sweet wines. Each category is then deconstructed into its characteristic aromas, tastes, and textures (illustrated by full-color photograph icons), while the text explains how and why we taste such different elements in wine.
Each chapter features recipes for appetizers, entrées, and desserts with complementing and contrasting flavor profiles (Wesson's principles of wine-and-food pairing) for each specific wine style. The recipes feature suggested wine pairings from both Old and New World regions, as well as alternative matches from other chapters, say, a Rosé instead of a juicy red. The book also includes sample menus for entertaining or for everyday casual dinners, as well as a comprehensive glossary of wine terminology. Through clear text – peppered with Wesson's incomparable sense of humor – and beautiful full-color photographs, everyone can feel empowered to take a stab at the art of combining the sensual elements of wine and food. As Wesson puts it, "Trust your palate rather than any rules etched in stone." Then head to the wineshop and into the kitchen to experiment with your newfound knowledge.