Summer is Here (Hot Dog!) … Let the Cookouts Begin … Enjoy some Dogs with a Funky Australian Red … (It’s the Label!)

Pairing: Grilled Hot Dogs with Baked Beans and Cole Slaw Paired with 2018 19 Crimes: The Uprising Red Blend from Australia.

Food: Summer here in New Hampshire has officially begun. Well … OK … the unofficial start of summer… since astronomically speaking … the official start of summer, the Summer Solstice, in the Northern Hemisphere is not until Tuesday, June 21 at 5:14 am EDT. But, I digress. It’s getting warm out there and we try to do as much of our living outside, including, of course, cooking and eating … i.e., having a cookout.

In our family, our first cookout (usually on or near the Memorial Day weekend) is always … drumroll please … hot dogs!! Every person in the country has their own favorite way of cooking and eating them. For us purists, the dog is poked onto a carefully found and selected live green twig and cooked over an open fire. Once cooked to the right “doneness” (everyone has their own best degree of charred-ness), the dog is then placed into a New England style bun (please .. there is no other kind), lightly buttered and toasted. The dog is then judiciously coated with some favorite condiments, though some in the purist camp prefer them unadorned. Served with baked beans and coleslaw … perfection is achieved. Summer has officially arrived. Enjoy!

Wine: Let’s start with a very reasonable assumption … wine is a terrific accompaniment to hot dogs at a cookout. Now you might have thought about beer, but bear with me. “19 Crimes” is a brand of wine named for the behaviors that would get you transported from England to Australia when it was a penal colony. Hence the dark and scary label. Made of 86% Shiraz, 7% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet, it is bold enough to stand up to any charred dog and the side dishes as well.

Tasting Notes:  Color can be described as reddish purple (or the redder side of purple). This wine offers solid aromas of blackberry and black currant. The taste is BIG … like jam made from a combination of cooked black currant, black raspberry, blackberry, black cherries. One can also detect flavors of some fresh fruit … like strawberry. A pleasant light cedar background is also present. Soft tannins hold the fruit flavors together very well. And the finish lingers delightfully long. The spiciness of the hot dogs advances the the fruit flavors Cooking the hot dogs over an open fire adds yet another layer of perfection. Can’t you just taste it?

Other Wines That Pair Well with Hot Dogs: Beaujolais (France), Riesling (Germany), Zinfandel (Sonoma County), Pinot Noir (Oregon)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Red Blend: Meatloaf, Beef Stew, Roasted Pheasant, Rabbit

More About the Living Wine Labels: Living Wine Labels

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Cold Beef Plate … Satisfying and Delicious with a Gamay

Pairing: Cold Beef Sandwich with Light Rye Bread Paired with a 2012 Henry Marionnet “Les Cépage Oubliés” Gamay de Bouze Touraine

Food: A favorite meal from cold leftover roast beef … carve off slices of the meat, spread some rye bread with Dijon mustard and stack the layers of meat on top. Add a little dusting of salt and pepper. A dill pickle and pickled beets on the side. I ask you … What could be better?

Wine: One normally associates Gamay with wines from the Beaujolais wine region south of Burgundy … Gamay being the sole grape used in the production of Beaujolais. However, the wine we are tasting here, Les Cépage Oubliés, is from the Touraine area of the Loire Valley wine region. The vigneron, Henry Marionnet, holds acreage of Gamay in this region. A small part of these vineyards was discovered to be Gamay de Bouze, an old variety (mutation) thought to have originated in Burgundy near the city of Beaune. An interesting note: Somewhat unique to Gamay is that it is a red-fleshed grape producing a bright red wine. Most red wines get their color from the skins not the flesh which is almost always white.

Tasting Notes: The photo above fails to capture the unusual dark ruby red color of this wine. A bouquet of sweet red cherries, pomegranate, and new leather is wonderful. On the palate one gets cherry leather, red licorice sticks (really … do you remember those from our childhood?), and soft tannins that contribute an earthy flavor.

The pairing approaches perfection (he says humbly). All the foods on the plate harmonize beautifully with each other. And the wine plays off the beef, rye bread and Dijon mustard so nicely to bring them to a new level of flavor. Simplicity yields unexpected delight.

Other Wines That Pair Well with a Cold Beef Plate: Pinot Noir (Oregon), Barolo (Italy), Zinfandel (California), Malbec (Argentina)

Other Food That Pairs Well with a Gamay: Charcuterie, Grilled Sausage, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Macaroni and Cheese

View the Lovely Cher Valley Wine Region: Cher Valley

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Turkey Pie …Enjoyed with a Beaujolais

Pairing: Turkey Pie Paired with a Louis Jadot 2012 Morgon Château des Jacques (Beaujolais)

Food:  It’s wonderful that great meals can be created from what is rather negatively called “leftovers”. It has that connotation of a warmed up, dried out replication of a meal eaten seemingly ages ago. Why not create something new and delicious from that “old meal” had at Thanksgiving? In this example, we are cutting up the cooked turkey, combining it with the peas and carrots, incorporating the remaining creamed onions for a nice cream sauce, and topping the newly named “pie” with a mixture of leftover mashed potatoes and stuffing. There … you’d hardly recognize it as Thanksgiving from three months ago. Important ingredient … a freezer! Just add your imagination.

Turkey Pie with Morgon

Wine:  Beaujolais is a French wine region located just south of the famed Burgundy wine area. Unlike Burgundy, however, which is focused on growing mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, Beaujolais is one of the few wine-producing regions of the world focused on just one grape variety, Gamay. The best wine produced in the Beaujolais region comes from one of ten vineyard areas designated “cru” of which Morgon is one of them.

Morgon Beaujalais


Tasting Notes:  A delightful, light-bodied wine with a medium garnet color. Aromas of blueberry and red raspberry drift up from the glass. Those dark berries also tickle the palate, but what’s that other taste … hmmm … I’d say red plum and maybe cherry. A very pleasant wine that doesn’t overwhelm one with its fruit and pairs nicely with the turkey, potato, onion, pea, and carrot flavors of the turkey pie. Sounds like the elements of a Thanksgiving dinner. Why, yes … there it was hiding in the freezer. Wine pairing to dress up leftovers! It also pairs well with Aunt Kate’s chocolate cake for dessert. Gotta love it!

Other Wines That Pair Well with Turkey Pie:  Pinot Noir (New Zealand), Chardonnay (California), Zinfandel (California), Crémant d’Alsace (Sparkling Wine from Alsace)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Beaujolais:  Charcuterie, Tuna (grilled), Gilled Cheese Sandwich, Hamburgers, Sausages

View Maps of the Beaujolais Region:  Beaujolais wine region

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