The Ultimate Cookie & Wine Pairing Guide

 


You’ve been down this crumb-lined road before. Pairing cookies and wine is not a unique endeavor, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one. Sweet wines are an obvious choice, but you’ll need to make sure that the sweetness is equal to or greater than that of your chosen treat. The truly intrepid will choose a dry wine, perhaps even a red one. Fruit notes in the wine should be preserved, if not amplified, while acidity must be muted. Pairing wine with savory dishes is a piece of cake, so to speak, compared to pairing wine with sweets. Furthermore, palates and preferences swing like a pendulum. It’s a fact of humanity which renders the objectively perfect wine pairing nearly impossible. The goal is to find something that works for the majority of people, most of time. This month, the web’s top wine writers are pulling out their best wine pairing skills. Not only will they reveal their favorite cookie, but also share its perfect pairing wine. 

Samoas & Blandy’s 10-Years Old Bual Madeira

Girl Scout cookies are awesome. My favorite are the Samoas, those coconut and chocolate rings of deliciousness that seem to disappear by the sleeve whenever I'm in close proximity. Strange. Anyway, when it comes to pairing wine and sweets, there are plenty of dessert wines or wines with residual sugar that will work. You need a bit of sweetness in the wine or else the cookie will dominate, but I also value acidity in wine (even dessert wines) to balance out the sweetness. My go-to is Madeira, those indestructible fortified wines from the eponymous Portuguese island. They tend to have higher levels of acidity than a lot of sweet or fortified wines, so they add some vibrancy to the mix. Keep it simple, and go with a 10-Year Bual from Blandy's, which is widely available in markets across the country. The wine is rich and nutty but shows some freshness as well, and the flavors of chocolate and coconut feel right at home with this wine.
 
Isaac James Baker, Reading, Writing & Wine

Rip Van Wafels Dark Chocolate Sea Salt & Chateau de Rayne Vigneau Sauternes 2007

My family strays from the sweeter cookie types to either simple or savory flavors. So it is with no surprise that I choose Rip van Wafels’ dark chocolate sea salt, non-GMO cookie. Superbly soft, chewy texture with dark bittersweet chocolate and more salt than sugar makes a stunning after dinner cleansing bite. A perfect pairing is made with a Premier Grand Cru Classé Sauternes from 2007, also not dripping in sugar. The Chateau de Rayne Vigneau Sauternes ’07 is a delightful golden hue with a nose of honey and apricot. On the palate, the wine is gorgeously focused with bracing acidity and huge fruit flavors of ripe pear, apricot and passion fruit, drinking less like dessert and more like a meal. Stunning clarity without too much sugar, this Sauternes is the ultimate mate for the savory dark chocolate sea salt waffle cookie. Enjoy!
 
Jim van Bergen, JvBUnCorked 

Shortbread and Territorial Vineyards “Spoiled Rotten” 2013

When I initially received this fun assignment from Snooth, the first wine that came to mind to pair with my favorite of cookies - the shortbread cookie - was a locally produced unique straw wine made from Sauvignon Blanc. Produced by Oregon's southern Willamette Valley super-star winemaker and New Zealand native, Ray Walsh of Capitello Wines, I watched (in awe) over several months time as Ray created this incredibly labor-intensive dessert-style wine that, simply put, is made from harvested ripe grapes that have been dried in the heat and kept from molding by ventilation provided by straw matting - the first of its kind to be produced in the Pacific Northwest. Only a few cases were made and it's not easily found, so it was suggested to me that I try another superbly unique wine produced by Ray for locally known grower, wine bar and winery owner, Alan Mitchell of Territorial Vineyards & Wine Co.: Territorial Vineyards 2013 Equinox Vineyard Late Harvest Chardonnay called "Spoiled Rotten." Spoiled Rotten is made from 100% naturally botrytized grapes - a true TBA (trockenbeerenauslese) wine (Trockenbeerenauslese is a sweet white wine made from select grapes that were picked after the regular harvest and were affected by noble rot.) A totem of climatic conditions need to coincide in order to produce a high-quality 100% botrytized wine, and in 2013, the southern Willamette Valley just so happened to provide these conditions. With the growing season coming to an abrupt close in September, which accrued an amazing 7.5 inches of rainfall (6 inches above average), almost an entire block of Chardonnay at Equinox Vineyard was lost to the mold known as noble rot. But then something extraordinary happened: 18 days in a row of beautiful blue skies and sunshine; as well as, warmer temperatures and an ideal breeze. Perfect conditions for noble rot to dry up and work its sensational magic, sugars concentrated to phenomenal heights while the shriveling grapes began imparting beautiful botrytis complexities. It's been 20 years here in the southern Willamette Valley since conditions were just right for the production of a true 100% botrytized wine, so I reveled in astonishment as I sipped the truly unique Spoiled Rotten. Intense (yet elegant on the nose and palate) aromas and flavors of orange peel, honey, dried apricot, butterscotch and nutmeg filled the bowl of the glass.  Amazingly balanced with its racy acidity, the finish was ever-lasting and absolutely begs for another sip. Its texture is rich and lush, but doesn't overpower the elegance. Much like the straw wine would have been, Spoiled Rotten was incredibly delicious with my favorite shortbread cookies. If visiting Eugene, Oregon, Territorial Vineyards & Wine Company wine bar is located in Eugene's most funky and eclectic neighborhood called the Whiteaker, dubbed "the Whit" by locals. It's where Eugene's hipsters and hippies go to see and be seen, and its bungalow and Craftsman era homes (full of individualized and amazing character) share the same tree-lined streets with some of Eugene's finest breweries and restaurants. More on therealwinejulia.com.
 
Julia Crowley, The Real Wine Julia

Dutch Strowafels & Jerez Apostoles Sherry

My favorite combination, usually late at night, minutes from going to bed is eating one or two Dutch strowafels with a glass of 30 year old Jerez 'Apostoles' sherry. There is no better antidote for me then that combination. My wife, Maria, has caught on and joins me in this ritual on occasions.
 
Phil Kampe, TheWineBlog

Snickerdoodles & Sauternes

The question gave me pause. My favorite cookie? That's like asking my favorite child. Ok, perhaps more like asking my favorite wine. It depends on mood, the season, the meal, the gravitational pull. But asking my favorite wine and cookie pairing? Well, that would require a bit of creative license as that is, in fact, a pairing I've never enjoyed. I've had Ghirardelli brownies, gooey and warm, with a Gundlach Bundschu Merlot. Mmmm. Rosewater Panna cotta with a Wellington White Port; the memory still makes me swoon. Even a scone with Sauternes on break during a recent WSET course. But never a cookie and wine pairing. I can still remember presenting my father, the original cookie monster, with my first attempt at independence in the kitchen. I was seven and I rolled each doughy ball carefully in a bowl of cinnamon sugar before placing them on the sheet. A labor of love and I loved every moment.  As fatherly duty required, he oohed and aahed and proclaimed them "better than your mother's!" Whether or not that was true, and I have a guess, the sentiment of that moment would likely push Snickerdoodles ahead in the favorite cookie competition. Even now, they transport. The crisped bottom and the dense buttery center, the cream of tartar lingers, the cinnamon warms. To compliment, I'd choose a Sauternes, And if a girl can dream, I say go big. Maybe one day I will actually have the opportunity to sample Château d'Yquem. Maybe not. But if I am ever able to do so with a Snickerdoodle in hand, I know who I'll be toasting.
 
Alissa Leenher, SAHMmelier

Ricotta Cheese Lemon Glaze & A.A. Badenhorst Chenin Blanc

Other than peanut butter cookies, I am an equal opportunity cookie eater but rarely pair them with wine. If pressed to pick one favorite cookie, it would be ricotta cheese cookies. I recently attended a dinner party where the host served ricotta cheese cookies with lemon glaze that were delicious with a chenin blanc from South Africa that I brought. The lemon, slate and honeycomb of the 2015 Secateurs (means 'pruning shears') from A.A. Badenhorst, Swartland, South Africa, paired with the soft, mild lemon flavored cookies. The versatility of Chenin Blanc and QPR make this Chenin from A.A. Badenhorst worth seeking out; and pairing with ricotta cookies of course.
 
Frank Morgan, Drink What YOU Like

Pepperidge Farms Milano Slice with Toffee & Eberle Winery Vintage Port 2011

I love cookies. I love wine. But pairing the two of them together is not something I usually consider. When Snooth asked us for our favorite cookie and wine pairing, I struggled. But, I was in Paso Robles on a media wine trip this week and as I sat on the porch at Eberle Cellars with Gary Eberle, “the “Pioneer” of Paso Robles, watching the sun set, inspiration occurred when a plate of cookies was set in front of me. They were commercial and from a bag, Pepperidge Farms Milano Slice with toffee to be exact -- available at a supermarket near you. But when you paired these everyday cookies with the 2011 Eberle Winery Vintage Port, something special happened. Lesson learned – Eberle Port and Pepperidge Farms equal a party in your mouth.
 
Melanie Ofenloch, DallasWineChick.com

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  • So where are the cookie recipes for those cookies not commercially made? I'm hungry!

    Jun 01, 2016 at 6:13 PM


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