Challenging Wine Pairing: Hot Wings

By LaGayle ~ September 7th, 2010.

Are you ready for some football? We, Wine Peeps, are avid sports fans and are excited that football season has arrived. So whether you are a collegiate football fan or an NFL fan or both, the beginning of the season is a good time to think about food for those tailgates or meals for watching your favorite games on television.

It is amazing to me the number of people who like hot wings. I have to admit that hot wings have not always appealed to me, although, I do love spicy foods. Hot wings are very popular, particularly at sports bars but also for parties at home. Therefore, I decided it was time for me to look further into this quintessential “football” dish. While hot wings usually appear on appetizer menus with celery and carrot sticks with bleu cheese dressing, I decided to create a meal out of them for this month’s challenging wine pairing. Our meal consisted of hot wings with the traditional celery and carrot sticks with bleu cheese dressing along with a corn and tomato pasta salad and baked beans. Wow, what a surprise! We all loved them. There were no leftovers, just empty plates with bones. I think what really made a difference is that the recipe I used for the hot wings called for the hot sauce to be added as a part of the baking process rather than just pouring the sauce over the already cooked meat. The flavor of the wings with the hot sauce baked into the preparation was absolutely fantastic!!! On a side note, since I was actually preparing a meal, I used the entire wing rather than the usual “party wing,” which is actually only a part of the wing.

Now, what wines to pair with this meal? Yes, wine. After all, we want people to think outside of the box and look beyond the standard beer and wings combo. Wines can be found to pair with just about anything. After referring to my favorite book, What to Drink with What you Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, I decided on a Rosé and a Gewurztraminer. With the hot wings, we enjoyed the 2009 Tertulia Cellars Rosé du Mourvedre from Den Hoed Vineyard in Washington’s Yakima Valley and the 2004 Viento Gewurztraminer from Celilo Vineyard on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge AVA. (Note: Viento Winery is located in Hood River, Oregon.) Both wines are very good on their own, and both paired well with the meal. However, we preferred the Rosé three to one as the best pairing with the hot wings.

What a fun dinner in preparation for football season! As we go into this time of year, we’d love to hear your food and wine selections for a “football” meal.

Bon Appétit!

2009 Tertulia Cellars Rosé du Mourvedre (Den Hoed Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): Medium, hot pink in color. Aromatic with loads of cranberry and raspberry on the nose; more cranberry, raspberry, and cherry popsicle on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with a long finish. Crisp and refreshing.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $13.49; Winery, $16

2004 Viento Gewurztraminer (Celilo Vineyard, Columbia Gorge, Washington): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Very aromatic with fresh aromas of lemon, honeysuckle, and a hint of minerality. Lemon, apple, pear, and floral notes come through on the palate. Dry, medium-bodied and lively with a long finish. Very refreshing.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $15

Filed under: American Wine, Challenging Wine Pairing, Food & Wine, Gewurztraminer, Mourvedre, Rose Wine, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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