Self-professed "wine pimp" and Magnum pop-up restaurateur David Haskell (Le Cirque, Bin 8945) is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, claiming he's worn black and gold since birth. During football season, he can be found watching the games at his parents' house. And while the family usually goes for Chinois leftovers with a $350 bottle of 1996 Domaine Bertagna Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru NV, Haskell has also paired wines with jelly beans and Buffalo chicken wings. So we asked him to put together affordable wines with popular game time food, just in time for Super Bowl XLV.
Now, Haskell's pairing philosophy goes beyond the usual "this red wine goes well with that steak." Instead the sommelier seeks to alter the drinker's palate sensation. "I think the fun aspect of being a sommelier is that we can play with the food and the wine and then together it's a whole different palate," he said. "By itself this is still going to taste the same way, by itself that will taste the same way. The two together gives you a third taste which is fun."
Thus the wine and junk food here will not just complement one another but will be like putting two different Jelly Belly flavors together (2 Blueberry Jelly Bellies + 1 Buttered Popcorn = Blueberry Muffin) to create a third, more complex flavor. And don't worry, no $300 bottles of wine. Rather, affordable wines that can be found at wine shop Domaine LA on Melrose and paired with several types of food. Perfect for big Super Bowl parties.
Whoppers, Doritos, corn nuts with 2008 Domaine Monpertuis Grenache-Syrah, Rhone, France ($12.99): "The wine will turn a Whopper chocolate-covered malt ball into a chocolate-blueberry milkshake. With the Doritos, they'll will start to taste more like a cheesy cream queso. The corn nuts are fun because it will cause a sparkling effect on the back palate. Making it like a dessert."
Guacamole and chips, sausage pizza, Mexican food with 2008 Jacques Puffeney Pinot Noir Arbois Rouge ($30): "The Arbois Pinot is a dried fruit style wine. It doesn't have bright fruits. It is more wood and has a little oxidized feeling. The back palate is short. With the guac and chips, the guac will add spice and a longer finish to the wine because of the cream. The sausage pizza will add a meaty quality to the wine. Mexican food is great with this wine because the dried grape quality can hold up to the spiced foods."
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Teriyaki chicken wings, Chinese takeout, salumi and cheese with 2009 Domaine la Charmoise Gamay, Touranine, France ($13): "The wine has a deep cherry with a very deep herbal taste. With teriyaki chicken wings the cherry becomes a deep blackberry and licorice flavor. With the salumi and cheese and bread it will taste like sausage pizza. Love this with Chinese take out."
Vanilla or chocolate Steeler cupcakes with Julien Fouet Cremant de Loire ($21): "Goes perfect with a Steelers win."
David Haskell's pop-up restaurant Magnum with chef Joseph Mahon will appear at Pal Cabron in Mid-Wilshire/Hancock Park on February 15th and 16th. (Menu here.)
Editor's Note: SOME OF US are Packers fans, so this post is in NO WAY an endorsement of the Steelers. Just saying.