If the book “Big Macs and Burgundy” showed people anything, it’s that wine deserves to be partnered with every day, simple foods and snacks just as much as it does with gourmet foods and meals. That means as a long time advocate and proponent of that very ideology, I’m always up for experimenting when it comes to pairings.
Case and point: at the “Girls’ Day In” gathering (see the IG video here) I went to last week I decided to do a little food and wine pairing experimentation. While your mind typically goes to things like barbecue brisket and ribs, or a steak when you think about pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with something to eat, I ended up trying a good ol’ southern delight of pimento cheese sandwiches paired with a fantastic Texas a reserve Cabernet Sauvignon by @beckervineyards.
Y’ALL. I would never have guessed in 1 million years how good that pimento cheese and Cab would be together! Mind. Blown.
Are you surprised at all that it was such a good pairing, too? Well, turns out that perhaps we shouldn’t be. Here’s why it worked:
The fruitiness of the wine, with it’s softer tannins and juicy, ripe red fruit notes were like a robe of silk enveloping the sharpness of the cheddar, creaminess of the mayo and cream cheese, and sweet pickled red pimento peppers. In addition, the earthiness of the wine also wonderfully complemented the richness of the sandwich.
On that note, let’s pause for a moment of culinary reflection: when I really began to think about and analyze why the flavors of the pairing were so dynamite together, it really started to make sense from a broader perspective. Remember all the brie and puff pastry recipes we saw during the holidays? There’s a reason that the brie is frequently topped with raspberry jam (or similar fruit spread) and that’s because the savoriness of the cheese interplaying with sweet-tart fruity taste elements play incredibly well off of and balance each other from a flavor chemistry perspective.
In the instance of my pairing, my bread was like the puff pastry; the pimento cheese stood in for the brie; and the wine was like a liquid version of the fruit jam. Makes sense, right?
It turns out that I was caught off guard by how spectacular this pairing was not because it didn’t make gastronomic sense, but rather because I just would have never thought about putting these two things together.
And that leads me back to what I said at the very beginning that’s really the major moral of the story (or should I say blog post): “wine deserves to be partnered with every day, simple foods and snacks just as much as it does with gourmet foods and meals.”
The key to making “Big Macs and Burgundy-style” pairing discoveries like this one is to just encourage ourselves to experiment—and it’s also a way to make food and wine a lot more fun and a lot less stuffy and pretentious.
I, for one, will definitely drink to that!