The mark of a great sommelier is the ability to pair wine with practically anything. So you say “Scallops” and I say “Sonoma Chardonnay”. You say “Mushroom risotto” and I say “Pinot from Oregon”. You say “Braised oxtail stew with barley and a light dusting of pink peppercorn” and I say “Whaaaaaaaaaat?!”
Just kidding. Syrah. BOOM.
So for this Indulgence Edition, I will really stretch myself to find pairings for the most indulgent pleasures Philly has to offer. That’s right. I turned eating and drinking into a stretch experience. #Whartonmademe #myWharton
And for those of you who are worried, the best part is that indulgence doesn’t need to mean expensive. Maybe it’s the setting itself that is devilishly delicious. However you get your hedonism on, I’ve got a wine for you. And same drill as usual with wines $20 or less, most of which are available at the 21st and Market store. You may need to order some online since the selection can be limited, but the good news is that Astor Wines in NYC has practically everything you’ll ever need and ships to Philly!
Shake Shack & Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($20)
This is truly an example of the whole being better than the sum of its parts. (this sounds like synergy. And as Jack Donaghy taught me on 30 Rock, we never badmouth synergy). Whatever it’s called, it’s awesome. This bubbly has lemony citrus flavors to cut through the richness of the juicy meat and utterly buttery potato bun. This wine has a touch of breadiness to complement the bun, and the tiny bubbles keep your palate refreshed, bite after glorious bite.
Federal Donuts Fried Chicken & Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier ($15)
This easy drinker has wonderful tropical aromas that take you to a warmer place. Plenty of fruit and limey goodness is balanced by herbal grassiness. This white blend has the slightest touch of sweetness for a nice sweet-salty pairing with the chicken. Plus, you can keep the wine around to try with the donuts. Two birds, one… bottle.
Max Brenner’s Molten Chocolate Cake & Domaine Vial Magneres Banyuls ($20)
One of the bigger misconceptions about wine is that dry red wine and chocolate is a match made in heaven. They’re not. So don’t do it. Unless you’re basically eating cacoa beans, most chocolate has sugar. And this sugar makes dry reds taste bitter and sour by comparison, and just ruins everything!
Whether you get chocolate cake from Max Brenner’s or another fine Philly establishment, go for gold and try a sweet red from a region in southwestern France called Banyuls. While it’s not the easiest wine to find, it’s worth the effort. This wine has flavors of dark plum, warm baking spices, and a hint of mocha. Without being cloyingly sweet, Banyuls is a fantastic complement to molten chocolate cake or a simple box of chocolates.
Steak & Bogle Vineyards Phantom ($19)
I’m going out on a limb here to say this wine will pair with steak. All steak. Bogle Phantom is a blend of roughly half Zin and half Petite Syrah. It has ripe blackberry and black cherry flavors with the complexity of some black pepper spiciness. It is dark, but balanced, and could go with a lighter, leaner skirt steak or truly indulgent filet mignon.
“Drink-nic” in Rittenhouse & Martin Codax Albarino ($16)
My cohort-mate recently informed me of a “drink-nic”, where you grab your friends, grab some booze, and lounge in the park (food optional). Maybe he just made it up, but it’s such a cute name, it might as well be a thing. Now, I certainly don’t condone such antics, but I see the appeal on a sunny day, and the Martin Codax Albarino would be a perfect partner in crime.
Named after the famous Galician composer/performer, this wine is a light, crisp option for a pick-me-up on a warm afternoon. The dry white offers wonderful fruity aromas and zesty citrus on the palate. It’s clean enough to drink multiple glasses without overwhelming your taste buds. And the screwtop makes for easy serving.
Enjoy these last few weeks of school with the many indulgences Philly has to offer. And since we’re all adults here, let’s make sure to drink properly, too.