Water for Chefs—Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang, Boston

The diaries of chefly oenophiles.

December 3, 2015 ● 2 min read

Chef Akunowicz is pastry queen Joanne Chang’s savory right hand at beloved Myers+Chang, a James Beard Award “Best Chef: Northeast” Nominee, and also happens to be repping Boston on the current season of Top Chef. How does she feel about that good fermented grape juice? “The act of drinking wine is sexy,” she says. Asked and answered. 

Would you call yourself a wine drinker?

Yes, because I have a glass of Montepulciano in my hand right now. Wine is my drug of choice, always. Whether it’s really cold Chenin Blanc on the beach in the summer or my "just got home from work" glass of Pinot Noir, pouring a glass of wine is like saying hello to an old friend. 

Paint the whole picture of your bangin'-est wine experience REAL or IMAGINED: 

Pinot Camp is totally my dream. I have always wanted to go! Being in the woods with my spouse, LJ, surrounded by all of that green, maybe cooking over a fire, the smoke and the smell of the earth...

If you could choose the ultimate wine mate for the food you specifically cook, what would it be? 

I was so tired of being told that wine didn't go with the food at Myers+Chang and that all you could drink with it was beer. We changed our wine program drastically last year, and for me, this has been such an important shift. My food is spicy, full of umami and can be bright or deep and funky. I adore a sparkling rosé with the food at M+C. I think it can hold up to the flavors without overwhelming, and the effervescence cuts through richness (also, I’ve never met a rosé I didn't like).

If you could drink one wine RIGHT AT THIS VERY MOMENT, what would you want? What's going on with you right now that makes you want that wine? 

I have a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Grand Dame that I am dying to open. I’ve been thinking about it for about a month now — we're saving it for when we close on our new home! My spouse has looked at me on more than one occasion and said, "Come on, lets just open it now…"



Teutonic Wine Co. ‘Bergspitze,’ Willamette Valley, Oregon

This ain’t your grandmother’s Willamette Pinot. In 2005, terroir whisperers Olga and Barnaby set out to bring the old school to the New World with Alpine-inspired wines made from the likes of Chasselas and Silvaner, and today they’re crafting some of the most interesting wines this side of the Atlantic. Esoteric aromatic whites aside, they keep it real with their super sought-after “Bergspitze” Pinot Noir, an earthy-yet-elegant expression of the peaks of the Chehalem Mountains that gives Alsace a run for its money. Making grilled sardines? Duck tagine? Wild Mushroom Lo Mein? There’s a super versatile, delicious wine for that (it’s this one).