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Twinkle Toast

The Underground of Food & Wine Pairing
photos by Erin Cooper

Wine and food go together like showgirls and feathers or Elvis impersonators and sparkly jumpsuits, and some of Las Vegas’ most prestigious restaurants have created one-of-a-kind dining experiences with fanciful tasting menus featuring fabulous wine pairings. Unfortunately, because of the cost often associated with these masterful menus, many people cannot afford the opportunity to enjoy this type of dining experience. For this reason, we are taking a moment to explore what we are calling “Underground Food and Wine Pairings,” which includes pairings with junk food, fast food and late night snacks. We have enlisted the help of some of our favorite local Sommeliers to divulge their favorite Underground pairings that are accessible to all and undoubtedly delicious.

Jason Smith, MS

“Underground” Food Choice: If I’m going to go fast food, I’m going all the way. My fave is the limited release, crowd favorite McRib sandwich from McDonald’s. Can’t you just taste that pure deliciousness blend of smoked meat, salty pickles and sweet BBQ sauce? Mmm mmm good!

Wine Pairing: d’Arenberg’s “Dead Arm” Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia

Why does this pairing work?

For a wine, I look for something equally over the top and powerful. Something that I do not enjoy on a regular basis. Shiraz. Big ass Shiraz. I mean put your big boy pants on, wear a belt AND suspenders, hold the glass with two hands type of Shiraz. After a couple sips of this inky black, black fruit and black pepper jam beauty, my teeth are purple and it’s only to be matched by the thick line of BBQ sauce running down my chin. Heaven, I’ve arrived.

Ernie Taketa, Wine/Project Manager at Bellagio

“Underground” Food Choice: Lay’s classic thin potato chips

Wine Pairing: Krug Grand Cuvée

Why does this pairing work?

The fried, salty potato chips are balanced by the acidity in the Champagne, and the texture of the chips is a great compliment to the bubbles.

How did you discover this delicious pairing?

It all started at Rose.Rabbit.Lie. We produced potato chips for special events, and we also served Krug by the glass. The stars then aligned!

Matthew George, Sommelier at Rivea

“Underground” Food Choice: Frozen Burritos

Wine Pairing: Dolcetto

Why does this pairing work?

Dolcettos can have such a great playfulness to them. Good upfront fruit that comes across nice and ripe and just enough dryness to give them some backbone. I like the immediacy of these wines. They are totally meant to be enjoyed young, and yet they are still serious wines with character.

How did you discover this delicious pairing?

Late nights. We all know those nights. I had some Dolcetto left over from the day before when I cooked for some friends. I got home from work the next night exhausted, and was rumbling through the freezer. I wish it was a flash of inspiration but it ultimately just happened, and now it keeps happening.

Chloe Helfand, Sassy Lead Sommelier at
Bazaar Meat by José Andrés

“Underground” Food Choice: Fried Pork Belly

Wine Pairing: Bruno Paillard, Brut Rose, Champagne

Why does this pairing work?

Who doesn’t love something fried with fat and flavor paired with a beautiful champagne or sparkling? I like a Pinot Noir dominant champagne/sparkling for the fried pork belly because of the beautiful red berry fruit present on the palate. Cherries, raspberries and black currants envelope the savory, salty goodness of the fried pork belly.

How did you discover this delicious pairing?

On a late-night date with friends at Chada Street.

Remember, whether you are enjoying a late night out with friends, raiding your freezer after a long workday or hitting a nearby fast food drive-thru, tasty wine pairings are not as out of reach as they may seem. Feel free to give our friends’ suggestions a try, and if you have been inspired to come up with your very own Underground pairing, we would love to hear from you. Share your tried-and-true favorites or new discoveries on our Twinkle Toast Facebook page, Instagram or via email at info@twinkletoast.com. Cheers!

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