Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PBJ and Wine?

The first week of July I took a trip up north and visited a number of wineries in the Applegate Valley in Southern Oregon, in the Southern Willamette Valley and in the Northern Willamette Valley. You can see videos, pictures and the read the reviews on my other wine country travel journal - Oregon Wine TastingAdventures.

While the primary focus of these journals is on my personal wine country travels, I thought I’d share a unique experience. One of the things I love about wine is how well it pairs with food and experimenting with different food and wine pairings is an adventure in itself.

This past weekend I was at a barbeque at a friend’s house and I opened a really nice 2008 Robledo Tempranillo (Lake County) and a bottle of the 2008 Zinfandel from Gregory Graham (Red Hills, Lake County). I picked these wines up during my visit to the Lake County in the summer of 2011. The Zinfandel is off-dry (14.8% alc.) and it went well with the BBQ hamburgers that were served with caramelized grilled onions. But I still had a half bottle left over that I brought home.

Last night I stared at this half-consumed bottle and not wanting it to go to waste I thought to myself, “So, what should I eat with this left over semi-sweet Zin?”

It is fruit driven and jammy and does not a lot of perceivable tannins. Suddenly a crazy idea hit me, “I wonder how this wine would pair with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”

I then put a modest layer of Skippy chunky peanut butter on wheat bread and added a hearty portion of apricot preserves. I would have preferred strawberry, blackberry or even grape to apricot with this paring but apricot was the only thing I had in the refrigerator.

What was the result?

Well, the Zin actually held up fairly well. The peanut butter wanted to dominate the experience but the alcohol from the wine managed to sort of cut through it and then display its own fruit that suddenly combined with the apricot to provide a fruity follow through. A glass of milk would have been preferable to the wine, but it wasn’t bad.

I then wondered, what if I used a more alcoholic and fruity wine, something with a bit of a kick? I then opened a bottle of inexpensive Harris 10 Year Old Tawny Port I had on hand. It didn’t hold up as well. The fruit from the wine was dwarfed by the peanut butter and all I got when I swallowed was nutty alcohol.

By now some of you may be intrigued by this experiment, others may be grossed out. Have you ever tried PBJ with wine? Are there any other odd pairings you may have tried? Make a comment below and let me know!