Pairing Off: Pringles

When these things hit the market sometime back before disco--maybe even before streaking--Pringles canisters told a whole creation story: how machines shredded potatoes into a near liquid paste, reconstituted this mass into wavy wafers and such.

It was all very appetizing.

The process, in fact, remains so far removed from 'normal' that the parent company recently argued in British courts their chips should not be considered potato products.

Hmm...the un-chip. So how does one go about selecting wine for potato-rice-preservative crisps masquerading, through the miracle of industrialization, as the real thing?

Easy: you drop by the most cost-conscious store in town. The clerk at Goody Goody in Addison recommends a wine sweet enough to combat the salt content of Pringles, dry enough to ward off any bitter reaction to the salt, fruity enough to latch onto whatever starchy character remains after a pass along the conveyor belt, acidic enough to handle the fat and--most importantly--cheap enough to justify drinking with snack chips.

Tall order, one would thing. But he reaches instantly for Columbia Winery's 2007 Gewurztraminer.

Yeah, yeah--Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris seem to be the answer for every odd pairing. This one, however, is particularly well-suited to the task. Young and uncomplicated, it presents basic aromas of grape, dry leaves and syrup. The taste is, likewise, pleasant and fruity, with a varnish of red apple and wet hay evident on the finish. It is, in other words, light and very easy drinking.

Sampling with Pringles exposes a surprisingly spicy side. The red apple finish ripens into something more cidery in nature and a hint of cloves emerges at the end. As one might expect, the sweet grape base eases smoothly into the Pringles pasty flavor, washing away the salt and finding a note or two resembling bread.

A more effervescent wine would do a better job stripping away the tacky, fatty gum that accumulates around your mouth about a third of the way into a can of chips. But otherwise you'll have no complaints.

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