Pairing Off: Little Debbie Spinwheels

Categories: Pairing Off
pairingoff_littledebbie.jpg
Patrick Michels

When you open a bottle of Julienas 2006 Grand Vin Du Beaujolais, a blast of fruit hits your nose, mixed with the sting of black pepper. In tasting, it finishes quickly, but leaves a trace of dark forest berry on the tongue, soured but still palatable.

It would be a nice wine for any backyard barbecue, most likely...only my meal for the day consisted of Spinwheels, those cinnamon and pecan rolls packaged by Little Debbie. The individually wrapped snack cakes are soft and fairly pleasant on their own and they work nicely with a cup of coffee in the morning. But how about with a bottle of wine?

The first of these ingredients--the spice--creates quite a dilemma, mind you. Honey flavor and pecans, no problem. Cinnamon, however, had the experts scurrying in different directions.

Many different directions.

My first thought was a Riesling and Scott Ewing of Vino 100 on McKinney looked that direction, as well, veering off slightly. Gewurztraminer, he says, "would provide a nice balance with the cinnamon--the lemon peel and beeswax.

"It will go nicely."

Paul Pinnell at Dali Wine Bar racked his grape encyclopedia of a brain for individual labels with a complementary flicker of spice. "Cinnamon," he explains, "intermediately and sporadically shows itself in wine." The poor guy is forced to sample more than 20 brands a day, and he rummages through his memory for some time.

"There are some Pinots that might work...Malbec has been known to show cinnamon notes...there's a five-spice flavor profile found in Merlot...Gewurztraminer...Loire Valley Chenin Blanc can tame cinnamon...Syrah and Zin can support and enhance..."

Finally, he mumbles "I have found cinnamon recently in a 2006 Chenas and Julienas Grand Cru Beaujolais."

Clint Barrett at Goody Goody on Oak Lawn prefers the later, so...

It's strange: the wine thinned out considerably when paired against Little Debbie's product, becoming sweeter, more reclusive and a little on the watery side. The rolls, on the other hand, improved noticeably after a sip of wine. The spice seemingly woke up, sparking a fresher cinnamon flavor. The sorta honey sweetness sticking all around the rolls matured, taking on subtle bitter notes and the pecan crumbs emerged in a more mellow and lasting form. The best of all this lingers, too, at the back of the throat.

It's as if the wine turned Little Debbie into somethine worthwhile. Too bad it had to sacrifice most of its own character to pull this off.



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