7 Wines from Celebrity Chefs Slideshow
April 17, 2013
The colorful Food Network star already promotes plenty of products — just consider his "Old Skool" Original Salsa or Carolina #6 "Mop and Slop" Barbecue Sauce — so is anyone shocked to hear he may launch into wine?
Numerous media outlets reported in January that Fieri purchased a 5-acre Russian River Valley pinot noir vineyard last year, and has applied for a wine tasting room and kitchen permit for the property. While a wine label from the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives star is a long way off, at least according to Fieri’s publicist, it has been widely reported that Fieri has already sold grapes from the vineyard to La Crema and Williams Selyem.
Most will recognize restaurateur Brian Malarkey from ABC’s The Taste, as he co-hosted alongside food world stars Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, and Ludo Lefebvre, but the celebrity chef is now dabbling in wine — each of his five Southern California restaurants (Searsucker, Burlap, Gabardine, Gingham, and Herringbone) now boast a related wine.
Created in collaboration with Tom Lane of Bianchi Winery, Fabric of Social Dining (FSD) wines come in five distinct varietals, each meant to match one of the restaurants' cuisines. Further personalizing the project, Malarkey also wrote descriptions for the backs of the bottles. But these aren’t your average wine tasting notes: For the zinfandel-based wine, Malarkey muses that it’s "bold and beautiful! Hits you in the mouth with love!"
Lidia Bastianich has several cooking series on public television — including her hit show Lidia’s Italy — scores of cookbooks, and has won the prestigious James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef, not to mention she has two projects in the world of wine fittingly located in her native Italy.
Bastianich founded the Bastianich Winery in 1997 with the assistance of her son Joe, and the vineyard is located in the Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC on some 70 acres about 90 minutes northeast of Venice. But that’s not all: The unofficial spokeswoman of Italian-American cuisine is also a partner in La Mozza Winery in southwest Tuscany, which was formed in 2000 with Joe Bastianich and fellow celebrity chef Mario Batali.
While many celebrity chefs lend their names to wines, few are actually involved with farming the grapes themselves: Not so with Michael Chiarello, star of Food Network’s Easy Entertaining. Since 1998, Chiarello Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif., has been sustainably farming grapes (with the assistance of organic farmer Amigo Bob Cantisano) from 100-year-old pre-Prohibition vines. Less than 2,000 cases of Chiarello’s wines are made each year, including varietal releases like cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah, making chef Chiarello’s wine project hands-on indeed.
The cookbook author, Iron Chef America contestant, and Food Network star (of Tyler’s Ultimate) collaborated with one of the best names in the wine business — Rob Mondavi Jr., a fourth-generation Napa Valley winemaker — to create Tyler Florence Wines, sourcing grapes from some of Napa’s finest winegrowers, including Atlas Peak, Oso Vineyard, and Rutherford. Current wine releases include a 2011 sauvignon blanc, a 2009 cabernet sauvignon, a 2010 pinot noir, a 2009 zinfandel, and a 2008 cabernet sauvignon reserve, all meant to be food-friendly offerings: Florence’s website even offers wine pairing suggestions with recipes to boot.
After Iron Chef Marc Forgione released two private label wines in 2012, diners can find his wines being poured at his eponymous New York City restaurant, Marc Forgione, or for purchase at Chambers Street Wines. The Michelin-starred chef worked with winegrowers in France to release the 2010 Felines-Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet from Languedoc, France, and the 2009 Alain Gueneau Sancerre Rouge from Loire Valley, France, under his personal label.
"These are wines we have poured by the glass since our Tribeca restaurant first opened and they are the wines I personally enjoyed drinking after service over the years," said Forgione via press release. "We decided to work with these great wine growers to bottle a label for everyone to enjoy." Don’t miss the artwork on the bottle: A closer look at the label reveals the signature silhouette of the chef’s faux hawk.
Once only available at Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group restaurants, Wolfgang Puck Bistro locations, and Wolfgang Puck Catering venues, fans of the puckish chef can now buy his eponymous vinos — Wolfgang Puck Wines — at retail locations. Initially debuting in 2011 with four varietals (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc), 2012 brought a merlot-dominated red blend into the mix. The wines are crafted by the Indelicato family, owners of California’s DFV Wines, though Puck is said to have researched, developed, and tasted with winemakers for more than two years leading to their release.
"Wine is an essential element to a truly great meal," said Puck in a press release. "Everyone should be able to enjoy good wine at an affordable price." And at an average retail price of $14.99, Puck has successfully brought wine to the masses. Is there nothing this chef can’t do?