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A Twist on a Classic

Happy Thursday. I hope all of my super cool readers are doing well. I know the end of summer looms on the horizon. For some of you it is exciting and for others maybe not so much. Either way, I hope you are coming to peace with the coming fall.

To help you find that inner happiness, I came up with a lovely pairing. It is not revolutionary, but it’s good wine and intriguing candy. Full disclaimer: all the wines for the next 6 postings or so will be classier wines. I snagged a great Groupon for a wine store in downtown DC. I recommend Groupon for finding wine deals. Sometimes they are not actually deals, but when they are you can get a decent haul. I even got one of those fancy bags with different slots for wine…for you know, all those instances where I need to buy a bunch of wine at once (come to think of it, I could use that bad boy to recycle a lot of my bottles!) For some of my readers, this wine may not seem so top-shelf. But for a lowly 23-year old, these wines are absolute treats. I have even enforced a one-glass at a time rule so they don’t dwindle away. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Our candy is an interesting one. It was too intriguing to pass up and of course it came from Trader Joe’s. They are chocolate raspberry sticks. If you read that and have no idea what I am talking about, you are in good company. When Sam and I saw them it was an instant ‘yes.’ I thought the touch of raspberry and the thin chocolate shell could play well with the chardonnay.

The Wine: Cinnabar, 2010


Starry Eyed

I loved the cap to this wine so I have to share it. It’s adorable, while staying classy. It has a wonderful whimsy to it.


It’s a blurry photo because this cap excited me that much

The Candy: Trader Joe’s Chocolate Raspberry (Jelly) Sticks


I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly….stick

The Dream: 

This candy combined two different types of candy–chocolate and jelly-gummy candy. Gummy candies are difficult to pair, so the chocolate edge and the substantial amount of jelly in the middle offered a promising treat. The flavor range was not too big, which made the pairing easier to manage. Chocolate and raspberry are classics, but this candy has a twist to make it interesting. Chardonnay can usually hold its own against sweetness. It can be very potent and since I knew I had a high quality wine, I felt confident. But I sort of always feel confident, so that’s neither here nor there.

ImageThe Reality: 

A sip of this wine is an onslaught of flavor with notes of tart green apples and ripe pears. It is extremely dry and pungent, which for me is what a Chardonnay should be. It’s refreshing and you savor each sip to extract the play between tart and crisp. The color is a deep yellow, like the skin of a ripe lemon. I enjoyed this wine over several days and it felt like luxury. This wine would be wonderful to share with some close friends on a late August evening.

The candy is intriguing. They are indeed jelly sticks surrounded by chocolate. No doubt about that. The milk chocolate is typical but the gummy center is far squishier than I expected. The raspberry is not overly sweet but rather sour. Your lips pucker a bit and the amount of filling washes away the chocolate from the tongue. It really is tasty. I suggest freezing them as well.

Together, these two make a nice pairing. The wine does not go sour after the sweet treat and both are strong flavor wise individually. But I don’t think either one enhances the other. They are both good and they taste well together, but there are no fireworks. The raspberry leaves that slight tart kick that lingers lightly for no more than a second with the chardonnay. An interesting surprise.

I recommend this pairing overall. The jelly sticks are fun, but mostly because the are called jelly sticks. The wine is simply mouth watering. You can’t lose when you are consuming these two, and truly, what else can you ask for?

The American Way (zu bisou bisou)

If last Sunday was not already a day of rest, it would have been declared a holiday. Everyone referred to March 25th as “Mad Men” Day and the world was silent and still for the two-hour premier.

Ok that’s not the case, but it was still a big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that it received its own themed Uncorked, Unwrapped post. I am sure everyone thought I would do a Hunger Games post, but I am not that predictable (also, it really does not seem appropriate….so I do not volunteer). Although Katniss does get totally drunk in the next book….so there is some potential. 

But I digress. Let’s start this party. 

The Wine: Entrada, Malbec (2011)


You bet that is Don Draper sweeping that lady off her feet

The Candy: Trader Joe’s Brandy Beans

Trader Drunk

Fact: I was carded for these

The Dream:

I’ll admit–I did not know how to approach this one. I was at a loss in every which way. I don’t think we really see Don get hammered on wine that often…or really anyone for that matter. In fact, all the liquor in those little glasses is usually brownish in color. Maybe wine is had at dinner, but that’s like water to those men. I mean, they drink martinis for lunch.

To find a candy, I looked at all their accounts at Sterling Cooper Draper Price and did not see anything like Mars Bars and there really isn’t any 50s/60s era candy…is there? After asking the boyfriend, he suggested liquor filled chocolates. Now, liquor-filled chocolates seem so innocent (kind of like the 50s amirite?) but are actually quite potent. They’ll make you a bit tipsy if you don’t take them seriously. I figured this would be the ideal treat for ole’ Don. But wine…I had no idea. I just chose the Malbec that came with the Groupon wine deal I had. I did put some thought into it, but only to the point where I knew a red would be better than a white.


The Reality:

I took one sip of this wine and thought, this is not what a Malbec should taste like. My second thought was, how the hell did I get to this point where I know that? What the hell is my life?

Entrada is not a brand I would recommend. It is a bit too sharp and tangy, which is fine, but not a Malbec attribute. It goes down alright, but it did not have that velvety feel and rich flavor I associate with a great Malbec. If you want to try this brand, open it, pour it, and let it air for about 10 minutes. It starts to get its flavor and matures a bit. 

The brandy flavor in the chocolate shell alone is astounding. The minute it touched my tongue, I knew this would be intense. Cracking its chocolate shell releases a flow of sweet, rich brandy chocolate. I imagine a dense chocolate cake witha  brandy glaze would taste like these babies. Don would certainly approve, because the taste of liquor is very prominent. 

Surprisingly, the wine made an ok performance paired with these puppies. It cleared the palate before the brandy deluge. It contrasted the candy perfectly, since it did not have the heaviness of a Malbec. It aslo was not sweet, which the chocolates certainly were. Overal, this pairing did ok. These chocolates I would recommend, but I do not give a vote of confidence to this wine. If it is a bargain, then go for it, but in terms of Malbec…I give it a hardy “meh.”

We will be redoing mint next week due to some inspiration from this blog who recommended pairing a port with Thin Mint. Check out the other pairings with Girl Scout cookies. A true genius. 

Kitty takes a ride with a Cab

It’s time for an origins story.

I came upon the idea for this blog when I was, surprise, drunk. But strangely enough, I was not hungover at all the next day. That could be for many reasons, but all I know is that a bottle of Malbec, salty licorice, and “Battlestar Gallatica” were involved.

My boyfriend and I were obsessed with “Battlestar Gallatica” this summer. If you are unfamiliar with the show, all you need to do is watch this video from “Portlandia” to understand what it does to people. There we were, obsessing over this show all alone, when we found out Sam’s friend liked it. We spent several evenings with him attempting to finish the show. Since I was also fond of Malbec, I bought a bottle for all of us but I ended up drinking most of it. I also had a little bag of salty licorice.

It was the perfect mixture. The fruity, spicy flavor of the Malbec combined with the pungent licorice flavor and salt searing my tongue was the type of winning combination I long to achieve again.  I could not stop because I was so amazed that I had found this surprise. I could make a lot of “Battlestar Gallatica” metaphors, but I wouldn’t dare ruin it for you.

My latest challenge was not to recreate that pairing. That would be lazy. Rather, I changed the players slightly to moderate success. Lets meet our team.

Wine: Orfila, Cabernet Sauvignon ’08, from Argentina (Argentina again…it was a Groupon sale, ok? 3 for 25!)

What, Orfila? OPHELIA?

Cabernet Sauvignon

Candy: Licorice Cats, my Mom bought these somewhere and I asked her for them.

From Hafco!

Tasty Little Kitties

The Dream: 

In my heart, I really did hope this was going to be like that magical night watching “Battlestar.” But I did genuinely think this is a good combination. As part of my general exploration of new wines, I chose to do a Cab because…’s the new Malbec. I’m a wine tween ok? I get obsessed easily. I knew the cats were not salty, which I thought would work better with a Cab. Salty licorice is very in-your-face and Malbec can pack a punch as well. I knew these kitties would be serious licorice which was necessary for this pair (not that I don’t love a tasty bag of Licorice Bears from CVS).

The Reality:

I had the right idea, but my error occurred several months ago when I pilfered these from my mother. These cats were truly feral while they were still packaged. They rode in the car, lived on the fridge, and by my desk. They stood by me in my darkest hours, letting me know that things could never get too bad since licorice was always at hand. As you can imagine, they got a bit firm on the outside. It was almost like they were hard candies.

But the steel outside worked out well. The wine was very tart but had an excellent, smooth finish. I was worried these cats were going to disappoint me at first, because they tasted a bit sweet. But after working on them for awhile, the licorice flavor really kicked in and my saliva seemed thick with licorice flavor. The tart flavor of the wine brought a refreshing relief without compromising its own flavor or that of the licorice.


Try a Cab that is tart along with the best licorice you can find. Don’t let it go stale, but also don’t buy something really gooey. Working to get at the licorice flavor enhanced the experience.

Smitten with Kitten

Don’t like licorice? It’s not for everyone, but give it a try anyway. Good licorice can be pricey, but the Cab doesn’t have to be. So go ahead, get the first season of “Battlestar” and lose yourself.

NEXT TIME: Candy without Borders: An international candy of my choice will meet its foreign pair.

Stay tipsy, leave a comment, and make a request.