Most of the time, when people talk of pairing wine, they're speaking of high cuisine. Sometimes we just want comfort food. How do you pair wine with something greasy? In the past, we've experimented with picnic food, but I decided I wanted to try wine with homemade Buffalo Wings. Most of us will think "buffalo wings go with beer!" But, could I prove tradition wrong?

Using an old recipe, based on the original from The Anchor Bar in Buffalo (home of modern day Buffalo Wings), I made myself some hot wings, with steamed garlic veggies and Gorgonzola cheese dipping sauce. To give some breadth to the experiment, I went with two wines: the 2010 Dry Riesling from Ravine Vineyard and the 2010 Lemberger from Dr. Frank. Both wines brought something to the table (pun intended). Both were very forward, with strong flavors that weren't lost in the rich tomato and spice of the buffalo sauce, nor the strong minerality and funk of the dipping sauce. The Riesling, though dry, seemed sweet and fruity against the heat of the tomato sauce. On the other hand, the spice present in the Lemberger served to increase the heat in the wings. The mineral notes in both matched the funk of the Gorgonzola cheese and steamed broccoli quite well.

I was pleased that both wines worked well, but I've finally learned that you need to pair strong-flavored wines with strong-flavored foods. A light, crisp white or mellow red would get lost amid the powerful, rich flavors and thickness of the sauces that make buffalo wings. I can now order wine with confidence at the bar to go along with this favorite snack food of mine.

Cheese Sauce:

4 T butter

1 c. Greek yogurt

1/4 lb Gorgonzola Cheese

2 T fresh chives, chopped

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat. Added the remaining ingredients and cover, stirring occasionally, cooking until the cheese has melted.

Buffalo Wings:

1 dozen Chicken Wings

1 can (23 oz) Crushed Tomatoes

8 T Butter

ΒΌ c. Lemon Juice

Hot Sauce to taste

Vegetable Oil

In a heavy sauce pan, melt the butter, then add the Tomatoes, Lemon Juice, and Hot Sauce, simmering over low heat until thick, approximately 1 to 2 hours.

In a deep pot or fryer, pour several inches of oil. Heat to boiling point (the oil will not actually boil), then add chicken wings a couple at a time, until golden brown. Drain on plate covered with paper towel. Once the wings are all cooked, place them in a large bowl, and cover them with the sauce, until evenly coated.

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