Pairing Off: 7-Eleven Nachos

I lost a lot of respect for Sarah, our editorial assistant. Just a little while ago she admitted an affinity--well, more than an affinity, an absolute love--for 7-Eleven's nachos.

While I respect that the convenience store provides nachos, with an all-you-can-pile-on policy for condiments and all-you-can-pump yellow cheese-resembling goo, only the poorest of undergraduate males could ever love...

Oh, right--journalist pay.

But, really, 7-Eleven's concoction is rather disgusting to contemplate: commercially stiffened masa and preservatives covered in artificial flavoring and some kind of binding product. Only the pickled jalapenos and salsa withering in the stale air give it any 'freshness.' So there's bound to be a few difficulties pairing the nachos with wine.

Indeed, Rachelle Bose of Vin Classic in Plano's Legacy wandered through the store for a good 15 minutes, weighing this or that aspect of each bottle she pulled. That I couldn't really express the flavor of machine soft cheese--turns out its rather bland, like colored Elmer's Glue--didn't help matters much.

That I showed up asking for expert help matching wine to 7-Eleven nachos didn't help at all. I mean, Vin Classic is a rather classy layout.

Bose finally pulled an Austrian wine, of all things: Wilhelm Bergmann's Gruner Veltliner 2006. "It's a good fall back wine for difficult pairings" to begin with, she explains. "And it has a grassy flavor that should work well with jalapenos."

Hell, if it stands up to wiener schnitzel...

In addition to grass, the wine presents some nice character traits for such a cheap bottle: defined apricot and mango on the nose with a mineral background, some lemon and spoiled fruit on the palate. It's also reasonably effervescent and quite peppery.

The wine shreds through waxy paste that begins to coat your mouth as you dig into the nachos (depending on how long you hold the cheese button, of course). That's a good thing. As anticipated by Bose, the grassy notes ease into jalapeno slices, as well--while the peppery element rounds out the capsaicin burn. Can't eliminate it, mind you, just gives it some depth.

In just about every way, this inexpensive Austrian product holds its own against the nacho machine. Oh thank heaven.

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