Aug 28 2008

Go high-low with a wine/dog combo

Published by at 11:18 PM under Rose Wines,Savvy Sip Tips,White Wines,Wine Pairing

They don’t call them the dog days of summer for nothing. Think it’s a coincidence that so many hot dogs are consumed on Labor Day? OK, maybe it is. But summer’s last hurrah is a great time for a Chicago dog and a picnic. And no picnic would be complete without a nice bottle of wine.

Wine and dogs are the perfect high-low combo. Wines can lend a little class to any meal, and hot dogs bring the fun. Here in Chicago, we’re rather particular about our dogs. You’d never dare add ketchup to a Chicago dog; instead, we like celery salt, relish and other sundry condiments. What wine, you might ask, would pair with a mix like that?

“A traditional Chicago hot dog has a lot of moving parts that make it a bit tricky to pair,” says Don Sritong, corporate sommelier and owner of Just Grapes wine shop. His pick for a white is a Rhone blend, the 2007 Perrin Cote du Rhone Blanc with 50 percent Grenache blanc, 20 percent Viognier, and the rest Marsanne and Roussanne. “The Grenache blanc provides a great savory, mineral, slate core that matches well with the savory aspect of the hot dog,” Sritong says. “Tropical fruit from the Viognier counters the spice of the mustard and matches the sweetness of the relish. Brisk acidity from the Roussanne balances the celery salt. It’s also a great value that drinks fine on its own!”

More of a red fan? Sritong has something for you, too: the 2008 Bon Bon Rose, made with Shiraz. “It has a big burst of ripe strawberry fruit to match the intense savory core of the dog and hold up the sweet neon-green relish. Its balanced acidity handles the celery salt and MSG,” he says.

Whatever hits your grill this weekend, there’s a wine to match. Stop by with your menu and talk to your friendly wine shop expert. Pick up a bottle for dessert, too. Because there’s nothing better than a little vino and Jell-O.

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