Nontraditional Wine Pairings

Pairing wine with peanut butter and jelly?

The idea was to taste test a number of typical foods that are commonly found in households around the country. No muss-and-fuss type items like lamb chops or lasagna; just some simple foods that are easily accessible. Chances are you have the ingredients for most of these easy meals in your kitchen cupboards right now, all ready to pair with a delicious glass of your favorite wine.  

For our first round, we attempted to pair French fries, an order that we had taken home from a local restaurant. The verdict was – surprise, surprise – Merlot. Perhaps because of the starch base of the fried potatoes, the slight heaviness was actually rounded out by the Merlot, which effortlessly upheld the fries’ crispy taste.

Next we gave some store-bought chocolate chip cookies a go. The cookies were buttery and soft, with big chunks of milk chocolate throughout. Although I’ve always heard to pair chocolate with a red wine, the cookies were actually best with the dry, crisp Chardonnay.

We then decided to sample a healthier snack often found in people kitchens these days, as well as one that’s readily available at most cocktail parties: vegetables and hummus. Although a carrot is literally the last thing I’ve ever thought of chasing my wine with on most nights, we found that the well-balanced Cabernet paired wonderfully. In fact, I couldn’t stop munching on carrots with my glass of Cab, even after our pairing experiment had ended.

Ironically, the Cab also went best with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Whole wheat sandwich bread filled with raspberry jelly and crunchy peanut butter, to be exact. The woodiness of the Cabernet seemed to soften the rich fats of the peanut butter and helped balance out the sweetness of the jelly. One participant at our wine pairing party ended up polishing off the entire sandwich because she adored how the flavors blended with the Cab.
The sweet Riesling was the winner of our last two tastings, a slice of birthday cake and some popcorn. The birthday cake was a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and the Riesling’s fantastic sugar-acid balance ended up complementing the vanilla undertones of the cake’s base, as well as the higher sugar content of the frosting. If I was more of a real sommelier I could probably tell you why this occurred, but all I truly do know is that it tasted delicious together. As for the popcorn, I blame it on the age-old relationship between sweet and salty. The popcorn (salted, no butter) thrived off of the Riesling’s honeysuckle undertones and was a solid match.

And there you have it! After our untraditional wine experiment was over, I was stuffed, but extremely impressed with what we had learned. I also felt slightly like a wine-loving mad scientist, which is not necessarily a bad thing in this case.

Looks like there’s another reason for a second slice of birthday cake…

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  • Snooth User: gummybear
    977759 30

    I'm super excited about trying the riesling popcorn combo. I always ate popcorn with a chardonnay but it will be new and exciting with a sweeter wine. My favorite "odd" pairing is a chardonnay with candy corn. Buttery and sweet, it's a winner in my book.

    Nov 25, 2011 at 5:52 PM

  • Snooth User: cami527
    976212 4

    I love this idea of wine with "regular" pantry items I work 3-11 and come home not wanting a meal but something light plus a glass of wine, cant wait to try the peanut butter and jelly and cab combo

    Nov 26, 2011 at 12:04 AM

  • What fun!!! The bottom ine is enjoy wine.

    Nov 26, 2011 at 6:08 PM

  • I often like a white wine when cooking, but if its lamb, most recommend a red to go with the food that is later served up..

    Yet, after several bottles of research and mismatched lamb risk, I am happy to recommend with lamb, a good quality Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio. These typically come from North Italy/alto adige, or the Alsace region of France. Its the one white that seems to work, even if the lamb is spiced or even served with a curry. Dry Rose wines work too, but thats beginning to move towards reds.

    Nov 28, 2011 at 9:45 AM

  • Snooth User: EBGB
    902774 23

    Acidic white or fino / manzanilla with a toasted cheese sandwich works every time for me. And, possibly a little Anglocentric, Chablis with fish & chips. Acidity & fat at a comfort food level - sorted.

    Jan 06, 2012 at 4:23 PM

  • Snooth User: Joelster
    807875 0

    A good Chianti with an Anchovie Pizza

    Jan 06, 2012 at 8:22 PM

  • Snooth User: ALICEPEARL
    591767 46

    this from a cocktail napkin: i always cook with wine. sometimes i even put it in my food.

    i always have wine to sip while i'm cooking. it just feels right!!

    Jan 07, 2012 at 4:28 PM

  • Snooth User: EmmaJansen
    1339600 34

    that's nice

    Sep 07, 2013 at 12:58 AM

  • extremely good

    Sep 08, 2013 at 4:11 PM

  • wonderful

    Sep 09, 2013 at 3:23 PM

  • Snooth User: cglaw2013
    1341096 33


    Sep 11, 2013 at 4:10 AM

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