Wine Pairs with Pop Tarts – and 6 other “cool” Back 2 School foods

apple-pop-tarts-5From cronuts to gourmet grilled cheese and everything in between, Chefs are having a blast in the ever-evolving, no-holds-barred 20Teens playground. The more kooky or ‘old school classic’, the greater the delighting riff for foodies and the casual consumer alike.

Whether an individual trend is coming (donuts, cronuts and Pop Tarts) or going (cupcakes!), wine has been around for 12 THOUSAND years – so it has outlived every up and down and continues to find its place in our hearts.

Here are 7 Worthy Wine Pairings not only to get you through the first full week back to school, but that give you key street cred as you and your tastebuds get throttled into Hipdom!

 

Monday

Classic Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly: Festive and fruity Lambrusco

Gourmet Peanut Butter & Apricot Jam: Exotic and spiced Gewurtztraminer

 

Tuesday

Ants on a Log: Sassy, grassy Gruner Veltliner

 

Wednesday

Apple Cider Donuts: Appley, Pear-y, bright and lactic White Burgundy

 

Thursday

Sarma Pistachio Pop Tarts: Fleshy and zippy Spanish Albarino

 

Friday

Poutine: Gamey yet silky Cotes du Rhone Rouge

 

Saturday

Gourmet “Spanish Fig & Olive” Grilled Cheese, w/ grated Manchego cheese: bold yet refined Priorat or Montsant red

 

Sunday

Reinvented “BLT”, aka zucchini latke, heirloom tomato and sweet corn custard w/bacon vinaigrette ~ Rustic and charming Nebbiolo

 

 

And, guess what?! These suggested wine pairings are just a starting point. There are many other fun directions to take, too. With wine, the options can be endless. So get out on the playground and start swinging!
 
 

Apply the Rule of 3 to discover Food/Wine Pairings you will relish

We recently taught a wine seminar at Harvard University celebrating the Art of Food/Wine Pairings. Our muse? West Coast Wines! California, Washington and Oregon were all gainfully represented.

The red wines we shared we shared with Harvard students during a recent Wine Seminar we taught.

The red West Coast Wines we shared – the whites were chill’n!

It was not lost on us that the underlying vinous theme focused on wines from a part of the world that is quite large and quite diverse; it’s a culinary Choose Your Own Adventure. And so the food pairing principle “if it grows together it goes together” is, quite simply, harder to exemplify. Not to worry!

If you cannot at least start out PAIRING BY PLACE and, therefore, tapping into the local cuisine which blossoms naturally with wines grown in a particular region, then you must make a go of it by applying one of these principles to achieve a balanced, complementary, aw-eliciting experience:

 

PAIR TO COMPARE.

Consider the weight of the dish* (usually taking into consideration how it is prepared (e.g. steamed vs. grilled vs. roasted) and if it is dressed in a rich sauce or just a squeeze of lemon). You’ll want the weight of the wine to match the weight of the dish. Consider also the acidity in the dish. Is the dish bright? Does your mouth water at the thought of it (like the thought of grapefruit, tomato sauce or dill pickles)? If it is a high acid dish, you’ll want a high acid wine. What about sweetness? BBQ sauce is Zinfandel-loving because Zin tends to be bold, bursting with ripe and/or dried fruits. While the wine may be vinified dry, the flavor experience from all that fruit complements the sweetness of the BBQ sauce. Last but not least, consider the ‘meatiness’ of it. Is the bold factor dialed all the way up? Whether it is a hearty vegetarian dish like sauteed portabellas and eggplant, or roast lamb and potatoes, the more savory the dish the more tannin-loving (aka how dry your tongue feels after you swallow) it will be. High tannin/very dry wines marry perfectly with hearty, “meaty” fare.

 

PAIR TO CONTRAST.

Alternatively you’ll want to create balance by contrasting what’s on your plate. Consider the saltiness of the dish. Fried foods, often Chinese fare and meats like Ham or charcuterie tend to be saltier and require a wine with a sweeter or more fruit-forward composition to create a harmonious palate experience.

 

While these principles are sure to get you started, there’s something awesome to be said for the exploration itself, for figuring out how flavors jive – for finding out the hard way, and if you’re lucky, for finding out the optimal way. Each revelation is a win in itself – inspiration promotes celebration (and keeping at it)! So most important, HAVE FUN on the journey.

 

 *   By “dish” we don’t just mean the protein on the plate! Consider the sides as well (sometimes they are more interesting and fun to pair off of), or what components you want on your fork – the ‘bite’ in its entirety.

 

12 Ways to Stay Ho-ho-Happy this Holiday Season: Pour Favor’s 12 Wines of Christmas!

twelvedaysofxmas2013For some people it’s all about getting through the holidays. Others embrace the season with aplomb. For wine lovers, it doesn’t matter which camp you fall into! Wine served is a life lived well. One of our clients couldn’t have agreed more, inviting us to consult on some holiday wine selections for them. The line-up was so worthy, we thought we would impart a little Christmas cheer by sharing with you, too!

And so we bring to you Pour Favor’s 12 Wines of Christmas. Consider the holidays saved!

 

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me gentle rosé bubbles! Domaine Robert Serol’s “Turbullent” vin rose festif et petillant is as festive, lively and lovely as it sounds, featuring 100% Gamay. It’s earthy yet bright, red-fruited nature combined with just a touch of effervescence is the perfect thing to get you in the holiday spirit. Pop cork, trim tree!

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! Oveja Negra’s Maule Valley single vineyard Carm is one of our favorite single-varietal wines of the year. Robust and pure, this dark, smooth and brooding yet lifted wine is buoyed by Chilean earth and finishes with a dark chocolate espresso note. Sip and savor with the homemade fudge your neighbor dropped by – and relish looking at your trimmed tree.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! ‘Tis always the season to embrace the wierdos, and Heitz Cellar’s Napa Grignolino is certainly that – until we saw/tasted this wine we didn’t know they were even cultivating this grape in California, one traditionally grown (in limited quantities) in Piedmont, Italy. After last night’s fudge fest, you’ll relish this charming, lighter-bodied, silky, slightly fertile wine with baking spices on the finish. Put out the bowl of imported strawberries and dive in!

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! A Riesling and Sylvaner hybrid grape, Mueller Thurgau is a gift in and of itself as opulent freshness is buoyed by all the main apple varieties – red, yellow and even tart green – and a thrilling herbal component comes into play. Tough day wrapping up projects at work before the end of the year? No worries! This killer white will tickle your tinsel-time fancy!

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! With just one week ‘til Santa is nigh you’ll need something with power and elegance to give you a mental timeout while you start wrapping presents. Sink your teeth into Campi Nuovi’s Montecucc Sangiovese and call it done! This unfiltered, organic certified wine is Old World bliss: blackberry and cherry tang are composed by worn leather and fresh earth. You’ll be mid-bow-tying and having a ‘damn! That’s good’ moment. Promise.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! After all that wrapping you’re thinking how much you’ve spent this month and wondering how you’re going to keep drinking well without breaking the bank. Enter Johanneshof Reinisch Pinot Noir. We’ll let this one speak for itself. It’s that good!

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! Tonight you’re ordering pizza and uncorking a really special bottle to enjoy all on your own (partner optional). You’re so excited about it you even have the presence of mind to uncork before you head out the door to work. And why wouldn’t you be? Only 3 barrels of Hendry Blocks 9D & 26 Napa Cabernet Franc were made – and your true love was lucky enough to score one and smart enough to squirrel it away for you. Tonight Christmas comes early!

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! Tavel from the Rhone could rival Provence for historic rosé recognition. Here we are talking about wines that are outstanding when fresh, and mesmerizing when they have a little bit of age on them. Chateau d’Aqueria hits the genre out of the vineyard with a generous, winter-ready body, mineral-rich purity, lovely flowers (violets and roses alike) and a light spice note. Get out your charcuterie board and call it a casual night in while the family comes over the river and the through the woods to your house.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me Bordeaux, the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! It’s now Sunday night and you’ve been cultivating your beef stew in the slow-cooker all day while you were out doing last minute stocking-stuffer shopping. Fortunately you’re true love knew a good Bordeaux would be the perfect match! Chateau Bourbon la Chapelle offers all of the flinty magic of the Médoc, with graphite and tea adding interest to an otherwise pretty, black-fruited wine that’s not weighed down by wood-aging. Could Santa be your true love?!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a crazy Spanish red, Bordeaux, the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! We all know Santa makes it to all ends of the earth on his sled, so it’s only natural to channel his exploration sensibilities this time of year. Anima Negra’s AN2 is mesmerizing, kind of like Rudolph’s nose. Hailing from Majorca, Spain, you don’t see these too often, either! A blend of Callet, Mantonegre-Fogoneu and Syrah grapes it opens with floral aromas, and graces the palate with ripe, round red raspberry fruit flavors. It is refreshing yet firm, soft but juicy. It says, “Snuggle up to that roaring fire with me in your glass!”

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me White Burgundy, a crazy Spanish red, Bordeaux, the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! For us seeing the Sugar Plum Fairy’s solo is a highlight to beheld this time of year – her grace, elegance and memorable strength and presence can’t be beat. The wine equivalent of this experience is Domaine Bachelet-Monnot’s Bourgogne blanc. Christmas Eve you’ll want to bring out something this magical. Uncork and hear the bells!

On the twelth day of Christmas my true love gave to me sexy Nebbiolo, White Burgundy, a crazy Spanish red, Bordeaux, the best rosé in the world, limited Napa Cab Franc, awesome Austrian Pinot Noir, Montecucco Sangiovese, Muri-Gries Mueller-Thurgau, Cali Grignolino(?!), single vineyard Carmenere and gentle rosé bubbles! Christmas can’t come without Nebbiolo being in the mix. And while many gravitate first (among the elite Piedmontese styles) to Barolo, our heart is aflutter with the more feminine Barbaresco. Ca’ del Baio’s revered cru “Asili” vineyard Barbaresco is one of our favorites in particular, offering pedigree (fine tannins and varietal zip) and panache as mulled cherry notes meet herbal lift in a generous and open package. Merriment indeed!

 

And with that, we wish you Happy Holidays from all of us at Pour Favor!