By Gina Trippi
We are reaching that time of year when we need to be mindful that lighter weight clothes, with more of us showing, are on the horizon. And that likely means—you know it—a diet. So let’s go out in a blaze of willful indulgence! Wine pairings so decadent that it is almost sinful. Some offered are traditional extravagances; others, a little less conventional.
Let’s start with a time-honored, indulgent tradition: champagne and fried chicken. By the way, the Gardein fake fried chicken works just as well. Why? Because it’s about the fried coating, pairing to the crunchy and salty outside, not so much the inside. You’re probably thinking, then will any fried food work? Yes! Fried zucchini or tempura would be tasty choices as well.
Andy Hale, director of The Asheville School of Wine, says the sparkling cuts through the weighty crust and the bubbles bring further pizzazz to the venerable crunch. “Salt loves sparkling,” says Hale. “That’s why Champagne and caviar work so well.” The higher the acidity, the better partner to the salty crunch. Consider Jansz Sparkling Wine or Sparkling Rosé from Tasmania as a pairing partner.
Black truffles on eggs can set your pocketbook back a bit, but you’re worth it! The taste of this subterranean mushroom is variously described as musky, oaky, nutty and earthy, with a stinging note of black olives, but always as garlicky and, despite its rather dark and dirty appearance, subtle.
The black truffle is grown in several countries, but those thought to be the best come from France. The earthiness of this French gem in the rough calls for a French Burgundy. But an Oregon Pinot Noir such as Omero from the Willamette Valley might be easier on your pocketbook and equally self-indulgent.
Chips and dip with a smooth, low-tannin red is a most comforting decadence. Now here, I don’t mean chips with spinach or kale or anything that might have some redeeming nutritive value! Pick up good, old-fashioned corn chips with a little added chili. And the dip? Go with the overly cheesy kind that you would never admit to eating, but love. A bottle of Juan Gil Silver Label Monastrell will bring big, red fruit and a spicy, smoky palate that will complement this quiet, good, movie-night fare.
And now, the full monty: Tawny Port with a frozen Klondike Bar! Here you will need close to the same level of sweetness in the wine as the frozen decadence or you risk the wine tasting bitter. (This is a good time to remind you that a very dry Champagne will clash with a wedding cake.)
Pair the Klondike Bar with a nutty red port. Port is, by definition, sweet in varying degrees. Try Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port. The winemaker says this bottle will also pair nicely with another indulgence, blue cheese! And add Nutella, the hazelnut chocolate spread from Italy, to that list of almost sinful Port pairings. Indulge. Enjoy. Then you can diet!
Gina Trippi is the co-owner of Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street in Asheville. Committed to the community, Metro Wines offers big shop selection with small shop service. Gina can be reached at gina@MetroWinesAsheville.com or 828.575.9525.