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Meh(rlot) Pairing

Meh(rlot) Pairing

Happy 2015! Was your New Year’s amazing? Did you pair candy with champagne? Did you make resolutions that you have yet to even start? No matter what your answer, may 2015 be your year.

I am enjoying the last few days before school and my new internship starts. Yesterday, I hiked Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland and then visited a nearby winery to enjoy a tasting and mulled wine! I didn’t take any winery photos, but here is a lovely view from the mountain.


I have done a pairing very recently, which I am impressed by (it wasn’t even a resolution)! I got a lot of candy to pair for Christmas, so we are going to kick it off by pairing a classic on this blog, the candy that started it all: black licorice.

The Wine: 2013 Agua Negra Merlot


The Candy: Rockies Soft-Sweet Licorice


The Dream: I typically pair licorice with reds, but I have not yet tried a Merlot. I actually was not that confident with this pairing, but I wanted to keep licorice pairings fresh. Also for some reason, I thought I had received salted licorice. Sometimes I really worry about my poor attention to detail.

The Reality: I did not take a picture of this pairing and, unrelatedly(?), I did not like this pairing very much. The Merlot did not taste good at first so I let it breathe awhile. However, it still tasted a bit watery and reminded me of weak coffee. Quite frankly it was not for my palate and I never grew to like it.

The licorice is plain black licorice with a creamy sweet center. There was a vanilla and a strawberry center, but I could not tell the difference. I really tried to tell the difference but maybe my tongue has been burned too many times. I never grew to like these. Is there something wrong with me? Am I too negative? We will never know.

The licorice slightly masks the odd coffee flavor. Again, I like coffee notes but this was just…wrong I don’t know. Overalldid not like this pairing. As the title suggests, I felt very “meh” at the end.

While this isn’t the best way to start 2015, we can only go up from here! I have lemonheads and mini-mentos to pair in the near future.

Hello All!

As you read this, I am in Houston or on my way to Houston. Unless my plane crashed, then I am dead. And that’s kind of dark. On the bright side, my last act will be a blog post I planned ahead of time and that is worth…dying for? I don’t know where I am going with this. Let’s just get started shall we?

The Wine: Apothic, Red Blend 2012


The Candy: Goetze’s Licorice Cream


The Dream: 

Apothic is a red blend without any large distinctions to it. I wanted something fairly dependable to go against the licorice and a red wine blend was it. I didn’t know how strong this licorice would be since it has a creamy center. The creamy center added another unknown. I know it sounds like a cop out, and I guess it kind of is, but licorice is a difficult bear. And I want to explore blends a bit more anyway!

IMG_0325The Reality:

The blend is quite ripe with the tartness of raspberries. I even sense a tang of lemon rind. It does not have an overwhelming flavor. I would recommend it as a table wine.

The licorice and cream are actually smooth with the wine. It takes the bite out. Unfortunately, the wine and licorice taste lingers poorly in the mouth. Very, very unpleasant. Overall, though I like the blends, it’s the extra characteristics of different varietals that give a pairings the punch. I may hesitate before pairing with them again.

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.

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