The holiday season is here! For many foodies, this season brings a tradition: the cookie exchange. Well, how about something new: skip the swapping and have a wine-and-cookies tasting party! Since there are traditional cookies this time of year, it makes sense to see what wines pair well with them.
With this thought in mind, I attended the Arizona Wine Garden at the Tempe Festival of the Arts, ready to taste the wines from the newer Arizona wineries. I took along two bags of cookies:
1. Traditional shortbread cookies.
2. Gingerbread cookies.
…and then I headed into the fray.
I went to each winery, told them what I was doing, and asked for a wine that would pair well with the cookies. Then I tasted a bite of cookie with a sip of wine. My evaluation was based on how well the two combined; did the flavors enhance each other, did one overpower the other, or was there nothing memorable. The results are below:
|Wilhelm Vineyards||Kevin’s Choice||Shortbread|
|Saeculum Cellars||2010 Sangiovese||Gingerbread|
|Burning Tree Cellars||2010 Lotus||Gingerbread|
|Dionysian Cellars||2010 Grenache||Shortbread|
|Frietas Vineyards||2008 Petite Syrah||Shortbread|
When the wine is lighter and more acidic, it pairs well with shortbread. When the wine is more full-bodied, it pairs well with gingerbread. Arizona wines tend to be lighter in body, but some wineries import grapes from other states and then blend them to produce a fuller-bodied wine. The best way to find out which is which is to go taste Arizona wines!
So when you go to this year’s holiday parties, take along a bottle of your favorite Arizona wine and a plate of cookies and pair them together. Chances are you’ll find yourself deciding that you have a brand new Christmas tradition.