I'm no wine snob (see yesterday's wine of the week post), but even I have limits. I usually steer far, far away from wines made from anything other than grapes, because frankly, they scare me. The Apple Barn Winery Apple Blush gave cause for extra trepidation, not only because of the 50% apple wine mix, but also due to the word "blush." If it weren't a thoughtful gift from a family member, it probably wouldn't have graced my kitchen's wine rack.
But apples be damned, I was determined to find something that would turn my fears into happy tears. Ginger snaps seemed like a natural accompaniment, and thus was born this week's Odd Pair.
The wine had a strong smell of vanilla, maple syrup and raisins right from the start, leading me to believe it would taste incredibly sweet and off-putting. It was quite syrupy at first sip, but surprisingly, it finished with a slight tartness. There was something disgusting about the initial flavors of sugary, overripe apples and raisins, but the small amount of acid that lingered on the tongue made it bearable and helped it pair nicely with the ginger snaps.
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The spicy, sweet, brown-sugar flavors of the cookies cut through the initial syrupy start of the wine, leaving only the pleasant, tart finish. The ginger complemented the underlying apple flavors that appeared when the sweetness dissipated, creating a pairing that actually made this apple blush drinkable.