Yes, it’s true – Pepin, one of the great chefs of the last 50 years, the man who has cooked for presidents and kings, drinks cheap wine.
“I rarely spend more than $10 on a bottle of wine,” Pepin told me on Thursday during a visit to Dallas, where he was promoting his new book, More Fast Food My Way.
He said he looks for bargains from countries like Spain and France, and finds much California wine too expensive. At this point, as regular visitors to this site can well imagine, the Wine Curmudgeon was beside himself.
“There’s nothing wrong with drinking simple wine,” said Pepin, who still drinks a lot of $10 beaujolais. His advice: Put a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white wine out for dinner, and let your guests make up their own minds.
More Pepin wine pointers:
• If you’re going to splurge, splurge on champagne and sparkling wine.
• Drink regional. (By now, of course, I was past being beside myself). Several years ago, Pepin was eating dinner in the Savoie region of France, known for its well-made, inexpensive white wines. He was with a TV group and when the wine list came, the TV people asked if they should order the one Bordeaux on the list. Pepin said he laughed and said, “You’re in Savoie – drink Savoie wine.”
• Wine and food pairings are overrated. “I’m not too high on that anymore,” Pepin said. “It’s too difficult to figure out.” Hence the simple red and the simple white put on the dinner table.
And, if I can plug the new cookbook, try the Israeli couscous and popover with apricot jam recipes.