Malbecs and Slim Jims at Colorado Wine Company

— by Caroline on Crack

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When you think fine wine pairings, I bet the last thing on your mind are Slim Jims and Ding Dongs. But that’s exactly what they served at the Colorado Wine Company this past weekend for the 2nd Annual White Trash Tasting. Before you cry “Sacrilege!” I’ll have you know that Jennifer and John Nugent, the owners of this Eagle Rock wine store, should actually be commended for their unique tasting event.

Apparently it was created to make wine tasting less intimidating to the Average Joe, like me who likes wine but couldn’t begin to tell you about notes and aromas and all that. The wine bar is cozy enough what with the low-key crowd and mood lighting but throw in the customer dressed in denim overalls for the occasion and the red checkered table cloth topped with a bowl of cheese puffs, a plate of Ding Dongs and a crock pot of chili and I never felt more at home. Plus it was extra fun having my blogger friends H.C. and estarLA there.

We started off with the pairing of the Bouffees de Fromage aka cheese puffs and the Denis Pere & Fils Brut ($24.99). The effervescence of the light refreshing wine complemented the airiness of the cheese puffs making it taste better than usual and more fun to eat. I liked letting the puff sit on my tongue and taking a sip of the wine. Like a mild form of Pop Rocks. I loved this wine so much that I bought it for my friend for her birthday.

Actually all of the 7-Eleven goodies were improved by their wine pairing. That is, except for the Slim Jim that was next up on the tasting schedule. I honestly think nothing could save it. So oily! And that meat skin just would not be masticated! Blech. Just kept chewing and chewing. I did appreciate how well the spiciness of the meat stick worked with the 2007 Paul Hobbs Felino Vina Cobos Malbec ($17.99) though. Before I took a bite of the stick, the Malbec was very tannic but with the “Charcuterie de 7-Eleven” it turned so smooth and drinkable. I was trying to think of what would be a more appealing accompaniment to pair with this lovely wine. Outdoor Grill‘s tri-tip slathered with barbecue sauce, perchance? Ohhh yeahhhh.

Next up was the “Frito Tarte,” which is basically Fritos corn chips topped with chili and shredded cheese. A guilty pleasure for sure and something I would never think to eat with people watching. This was paired with the 2007 Owen Roe Abbot’s Table Red ($23.99), a potpourri of 10 varietals. Again, another great pairing. The saltiness of the chips and chili worked well with this “kitchen sink blend” of pinot, cab, syrah, merlot, etc.

Finally, my fave: dessert! The Ding Dong was paired with a Barros 10 Year Tawny Port ($29.99). What’s weird is I don’t think I’ve had this chocolate snack cake since I was a kid and it definitely didn’t taste as good as I remembered but I’ll just chalk that up to my now-refined palate. Heh. Yeah, definitely not all that chocolate-y. And yet the sweetness of the port didn’t overpower the lukewarm sweetness of the Ding Dong. Very nice.

We were sad when we had gone through all the pairings and even went back to the bar to request just one more taste of the sparkling white “just to be sure.” I think it really helped that we had a place to sit at the bar otherwise I would have been all grumpy from standing with my bowl of cheese puffs in one hand and my wine glass in the other.

About 100 folks turned out for this event with a wait list of 30 people. Fortunately they came in waves so the line for the bar was never too long.

If you go to this next year, which you really should, I’d suggest getting there on time so you can secure some seats with your friends as well as chat with the owners and get some other wine suggestions.

Colorado Wine Company
2114 Colorado Boulevard
Eagle Rock, California 90041 (map)
(323) 478-1985