Pairing Off: Jimmy Dean's Sausage Biscuits

Nothing like a bottle of wine for breakfast. And nothing so satisfying as when the wisdom of ages stands up to scrutiny.

In our less rigid era, we've dispensed with the old 'red wine with beef, white wine with fish' rule. Screw top bottles are coming into vogue. Aficionados now mention Chile and Australia and Oregon and other non-French climes. Old guidelines have fallen by the wayside.

This week's pairing, however, proves the value of at least one bit of advice handed down by sommeliers past: spicy wine for spicy food. Not talking about racy Cajun spiciness, here. Rather, it seasoning along the basic sage and pepper lines of Jimmy Dean's sausage biscuits, the kind you find in frozen food aisles.

The pairing is relatively simple. "I'd probably try a Gewurztraminer," says Allen Whetstone of Farpointe Cellars in Frisco. "It literally means 'spicy'--gewurtz--and a little sweetness goes well with sausage.

"Just not too sweet," he cautions.

Mitchell Lambert at Goody Goody in Addison agrees. "Gewurztraminer wouldn't be too bad," he says, "as long as it's a lighter one." The German-Alsatian wine can be overbearing in its sweetness. But some brands lean toward the drier side with more subtle spice. Yet he would also opt for a Petite Sirah, the unusual and once mysterious varietal. "It goes well with spicy sausage and should balance better than the Gewurztraminer."

Ah, well, there was a cheap German wine handy and we're dealing with a box of processed food from Kroger, so...

Villa Wolf 2006 Gewurztraminer is not a complex wine. The taste wobbles between apple and pear from inferior orchards cascading over a savory, peppery ledge. But then it wraps up, leaving a momentary sour sensation on the palate. Against microwaves sausage biscuits, the fruitier side falters. The spicy background, however, leaps forward, latching onto similar flavors in the meat--a rather miraculous effect, considering the quality of both wine and breakfast sandwich.

So Jimmy Dean's finest makes the wine a little better, while Villa Wolf's prosaic Gewurztraminer allows one to tolerate microwaved dough and pork-related product.

Of course, when you start your day with a bottle of wine, everything seems better.

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Dave Faries
Contact: Dave Faries