We’d all like to fancy ourselves purveyors of the finer things in life, right? We can at least enjoy the smell of a nice cigar if not the taste, and we’ve graduated to drinking wine in a real glass rather than from the spout of the bag it came in. If you’ve made an attempt to like wine, even if you strictly adhere to a specific varietal, then you have at least a little class tucked away under your belt. At least that’s how we see it.
Wine in all of it’s finely crafted elegance, laced with centuries of history and stories and politics, enriches our lives in continuously nuanced ways. We use it to toast milestones in our lives, we gift it to each other for a variety of different holidays and events, we pour glasses for our friends over shared meals….and we also slam back a bottle with a bag of Doritos on occasions. Yes dear Saucey reader, you are not alone. Even the classiest of you out there know that junk food and booze are like the milk and cookies to adults, we never outgrow the need to indulge in what we know we shouldn’t have. Overly processed, sugared and salted into the oblivion, we don’t freaking care. Bring it, we need it all.
If you don’t already know, Saucey has a nifty little snack selection that allows you to tack on an extra treat with your next order. Here’s how we recommend you maximize your pairing potential.
Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper Potato Chips + Casillero del Diablo Pinot Noir
Why it works: The softer tannins in Pinot Noir, especially Chilean Pinots, make it an exceptional wine to pair with mostly any flavor profiles. They’re easy on the palette, acidic enough to cut through starchy foods but not too dry, and the fruit forward jamminess balances peppercorn spice beautifully. The oiliness of potato chips works with most varietals of wine, if we’re looking to get technical, but pepper spice is different from chili spice which is where you need a wine to both support the flavor and cleanse on its way down to really savor the taste rather than build on the heat. Pepper loves Pinot, always remember than.
Cheddar Cheese Pringles + Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Why it works: It seems to defy what we’ve all been told about wine and cheese, but you really ought to be pairing white varietals with the spread of your cheese boards. Reds are very bossy and commanding of your palettes’ attention, so if you’re really looking to enjoy the flavor of milder cheeses then it’s usually best to stick with white. That being said, sharp cheddar and bold Napa Valley Cabs have a really lovely working relationship. Both are classic and distinct in their individual flavors, the idea that wine and food need to mirror each other’s flavor profiles is especially evident with cheddar and Cabernet Sauvignon. Opposites might attract elsewhere in the world, but wine knows what it likes.
Classic Oreos + Evodia Grenache
Why It works: Grenache is a red varietal unfamiliar to most, it carries a specific chocolaty flavor without being sweet or even too fruit forward. Pairing this varietal with a sleeve of good old fashion Oreos will have you easily understanding why they are Wine’s Favorite Cookie. Grenache has enough inherent richness and chocolate flavor to boost up the sandwich part of the Oreo, and a good dose of acidity to cut away the cream and cleanse the palette so as to make its presence as a wine also known. A merlot would be the most obvious choice for this pairing, but they’re a little too rich to work with dueling flavors like chocolate and vanilla. Save your merlots for a one trick pony like vanilla bean ice cream and give ol’ Grenache a whirl instead. You might decide you have a new favorite dessert wine.
Salsa Verde Doritios + Korbel Brut Rose
Why it works: Acid loves fat, but acid is also a narcissist who loves acid. Acid is the Kanye West of wine characteristics, basically. There is a reason we pair white wine varietals with salads, vinaigrettes, fish, vegetables and citrus – because acidity supports acidity. Pairing a spicy, savory, and garlicky corn chip with a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc would be expected – pairing them with Rose bubbles is like a literal silent disco occurring in your mouth. Remember that tongue diagram from middle school health class that demonstrates which part of your tongue tastes specific flavors? Well imagine those as the light up squares on the Dance Dance Revolution floor because Rose and green pepper spice PLUS Brut bubbles is a ridiculous combo. In the wine paring world, Rose is just kind of out doing its own thing, definitely not getting the respect it deserves. The floral, tangy, dry, sweet bitterness of Rose brightens up spicy and savory flavors allowing them to linger around and open up more and is an underrated choice despite being such a unique varietal. Bet you never thought a Doritio could be so complex, huh?
Jack Link’s Sweet and Hot Beef Jerky + Rosemount Shiraz
Why it works: We all know that red wine goes with red meat, this is Basic Wine Knowledge 101. Another good rule to know is that fat loves acid, so salty cured meats like beef jerky cozy up nicely to a lean and acidic red varietal. The Australian specific Shiraz is the perfect one to reach for when you feel like powering through a fatty piece of meat – whether that be a prime ribeye steak or a $4 bag of beef jerky. Still lighter than a Cabernet but bolder than a Pinot Noir, Shiraz sits pretty on the palette with bright red fruit, tobacco, and leather notes. This all sounds like made up words until you really get into chewing on your wine like you (hopefully) chew your food.
Wine is kind of an intimidating beast right? The cultural around it can be decidedly snooty and there is just so much stuff to learn and know about it that is can make our heads spin even without drinking a drop. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can pick up on the subtle differences of wine though when you start to pair them with food and make a point to really study what you taste, and it’s especially easy when you’re pairing it with junk food you know and love.
Plus it’s just fun, and drinking should be fun. We’re all about more fun. And more wine. So take away the few wine pairing basics laid out here and let us know what weird combos really do it for you, you know we always love an excuse for another bottle.
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