Pairing Off: Quizno's Club Sandwich

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Each week, Pairing Off attempts to find just the right bottle of wine to go with ordinary food.

It's not much of a stretch to say the 20th Century and all its technological marvels began with the invention of the club sandwich.

Think about it: the stack of turkey, bacon, ham, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato was introduced in 1894, at least according to the most common origin story. Shortly after that, we had the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Marconi, Farnsworth and--of course--Dizzy Dean. Who's to say these guys weren't inspired by lunch?

The problem is finding a wine to go along with what James Beard called "one of the greatest sandwiches of all time." With three meats, a fruit, two vegetables (Quizno's throws on diced onion) and such, there's plenty to consider.

Or maybe not.

The server at Dali Wine Bar--they also have a retail license--pulled a spectacular spicy red from the back. I know its flavor because (and this is the good thing about Dali) they allow you to sample before you buy, if you're a little uncertain. Unfortunately, the wine in question topped $25.

So he returned, somewhat reluctantly, with a more reasonably priced white. The 2008 Nessa Albarino took awhile to come to life after an overextended stay in my rather single-minded fridge. I mean, it really likes to keep things cold. On the nose, it promises crisp fruit with a floral background and some spicy depth. It's even more intriguing when sipped: a spike of fruit flavors that in my notes read like a salad--grapefruit, citrus zest and the odd (and quite pronounced) taste of pear pomace--followed by a bitter-sour wash of dandelion and a long, musty finish.

Really good on its own, but how would it handle a Quizno's toasted special?

Well, the flavors tightened considerable, becoming sharp and crisp. The dragging finished snapped off, leaving a little tingle of bitterness. But that's it--the Spanish white became clean and quick. Instead of picking up on elements in the sandwich, the wine left everything alone, acting as a kind of palate cleanser between bites.

So the sandwich changed my perception of the wine, although not in any unpleasant way. The wine, in its stead, refused to interfere with all that meat and mayo. Not the best pairing, but definitely not a bad one.

Probably should have sprung for the more expensive bottle. A club sandwich, after all, is part of our heritage.

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