Wine Time

Odd Pair: Kolaches and a Californian Rosé

Out in California where I grew up, no one's ever heard of a kolache. However gastronomically inclined and aware, I didn't know what a kolache was until I moved to Texas three years ago. Since that time, the savory, flaky, crumbly, often gooey, and always deliciously homey sensorial experience of the kolache has happily reshaped my previously uninformed and underprivileged palate.

When I came home last night with a bag of kolaches that I'd picked up at the excellent Chappell Hill Deli and Bakery on Highway 290, Tracie P and I were faced with the conundrum of what to pair with a kolache? And the quaestio became all the more delicate when we pondered a match for the sausage, cheese, and jalapeño kolache: What wine would stand up to the unctuousness of the kolache dough and the heat of the pepper?

And so I reached for a bottle of Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare.

Low alcohol? Check (12.8 percent to be exact).

Bright acidity? Check.

Enough tannic structure and astringency to balance the fattiness of the sausage and the kolache dough? Check.

Freshness and clean fruit notes to check the heat of that jalapeño? Check.

Vin Gris -- gray wine -- is one of the French terms used to denote rosé. In romance languages, grapes and wines are often referred to as "black" and "white," e.g., Pinot Noir (black Pinot) and Pinot Blanc (white Pinot). Gris in French (grigio in Italian) denotes a wine or grape whose color falls in between what we, in English, call red or white. (Despite the way it's been marketed in our country, Pinot Grigio is actually a light-skinned red grape, hence the ampelonym and enonym gray Pinot.)

According to its highly detailed label, Bonny Doon's Vin Gris is made mostly from Grenache, with smaller amounts of white grapes Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and a kiss of Mourvèdre (red). It had just the right balance of fruit and savory, freshness and tannin to complement the spectrum of fatty, sweet, salty, and heat in the kolache. (You can find it at Spec's and Whole Foods Market for around $15.)

We have written about Writing the Wrong of Rosé here at Wine Time before. Well, people, I'm here to tell you that the Bonny Doon Vineyards Vin Gris sure did us right last night. I loved the wine and I loved the pairing. (The wine also paired well with the new "DSK" episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit that Tracie P had DVRd the night before.)

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