Pot Luck

Odd Pair: Twinkies and Nicolas Hermen Piesporter Goldtropfchen Spatlese

This week, we were feeling a bit nostalgic, so we decided to pair Twinkies with wine. We haven't had a Twinkie since we were about 12 years old. But you're never too old for a Twinkie.

People have been enjoying Twinkies since 1930. Today you can even find them battered and fried on restaurant menus and at local fairs. There is a rumor that Twinkies will last forever, but they only last about 25 days. According to Snopes, the lack of dairy products in Twinkies allows them to last longer than most baked goods. We're not even going to guess what's in the vanilla cream filling if not dairy.

As tempting as fried Twinkies sound, we stuck with the old-school version. When we asked our wine guru for a wine recommendation to pair with them, we were greeted with shocked silence. "Twinkies," he repeated to make sure he heard us correctly. "Twinkies are hard, because they have a buttery cake outside and a sweet, but flavorless inside." When you describe them like that, Twinkies don't sound nearly as appetizing as we remembered. But something keeps drawing people back -- Hostess sells about 500 million of them a year.

Our wine guru finally settled on the Nicolas Hermen Piesporter Goldtropfchen Spatlese for our childhood indulgence. "The Twinkies need something sweet but not overly sweet," he explained. "If you have a dry wine with the Twinkies, the wine will taste bitter." He learned this lesson the hard way while tasting cakes for his wedding. "This German Riesling is sweet without being syrupy," he told us. Spatlese is a late-harvest wine made from fully ripe grapes. With our unpronounceable Riesling in hand, we headed home for our childhood dessert with a grown-up twist.

What surprised us most was that this seemingly light-bodied wine coated our mouths, almost like whole milk. We expected it to be light and crisp, leaving a clean feeling in the mouth. Instead, the sweet wine had a rich, velvety mouth feel. In the glass, the wine smelled floral but tasted more like sweet pineapple. The super-sweet Twinkie actually mellowed some of the wine's sweetness, reaching a nice balance.

We couldn't eat more than a few bites, though. The combo reminded us of eating a rich chocolate cake with lukewarm milk. It tastes delicious, but you still need cold milk or water to really wash it down. Although we may not try it again, we're glad to know there's a wine out there for Twinkies, just in case we have another craving.

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Jane Catherine Collins