Junk Food Wine: The Lolly Bag
Is there a better way to spend your pocket change - affectionately given the proud bogan moniker of ‘shrapnel’ - than on a cheeky bag of lollies? Sweets. Candy. Confectionary. Another one of those iconic and truly nostalgic parts of our culture. Whether you’ve just finished up your Saturday morning sport or are on a long road trip, there’s always a little white bag near the sausage sizzle register or the checkout of a small town petrol station. You never really know what’s going to be in there, but there is your crew of regulars. Your mainstays and heroes - everyone’s got their favourite, whatever animal or fruit it is. Now: this is a deep category here. It may take us a while to get through it all so this might keep us busy for a few weeks - our blood sugar is going to go on a rollercoaster ride - but we’ll kick off with some undeniably classic lollies. Let’s get snacking team!
Oh man, it’s hard to wine pair with minty things - especially when they’re bloody chewy! That being said, Minties are a pretty damned good lolly, can’t be mad when a minty is in your lolly bag! They’re like a juvenile and nostalgic Mentos that you’ll taste all day, not just 5 seconds while you’re in a board room meeting. Tough pairing, but some kind of textural white from the Clare Valley would be a ripper, and Vanguardist’s take on Clare Valley Reisling is exactly that. More hints of ginger and barrel work than your standard Reisling - especially with full malolactic fermentation! Definitely out of the ordinary for a flavour that is out of the ordinary - yum!
The Goliath to the Minties David - ultra chewy chocolate and caramel goodness! Seriously one of the best sweet treats to come out of that white bag, and one of the best parts of them is that you don’t want to eat too many of them - especially when you’re not carrying a toothbrush! But the real highlight is the wrapper and playing the who am I game - the ultimate road trip boredom buster. But let's bust this pairing wide open: chocolate and caramel. It’s not the easiest, especially with the texture of Fantales but a whole bunch Syrah would be a really good combination, and Ngeringa has just released an absolute belter. For around $30, this might be one of the best value Shiraz in the country. So bloody good. It get's snapped up quickly so if you can find it, grab it!
Strawberries & Cream
The crowd-pleaser and the everyman Lolly - you can eat fistfuls of these things like it’s nothing. Confected, jubey and not overly sweet, but sweet enough! Yum yums for sure - and it’s a flavour that’s talked about A LOT in wine that’s for sure, particularly with rosé. How many times have you had a textural Grenache rose and it’s tasted like strawberries and cream? I’ll answer for you - pretty much every time right? Not that’s a bad thing, it’s a delicious style of wine, and something in that vein is a good pairing for this, but probably a bit towards the savoury line: Owen Latta’s Tranquil Blend of Nebbiolo & Sangiovese is a great example. Such a delightfully weird and wonderful rose to pair with those fistfuls of strawberries and creams.
How do you make food better in every conceivable way? Chuck sprinkles on it. Cake - put sprinkles on it. Ice cream - you better put sprinkles on it. Just a plain ol’ piece of white bread, not with butter, but some not so good margarine? YOU’RE A FOOL TO NOT PUT SPRINKLES ON IT. So the same rules apply to chocolate, and freckles are a testament to that. Just a bag of freckles is occasionally the best thing ever. Pairing it with wine is another thing entirely - bunchy and opulent Pinot Noir is a good way to go, and what better than an Adelaide Hills classic from Ashton Hills - Stephen George knows how to do it!
The Lollies formerly known as Redskins
Shame about the name, good on Nestle for FINALLY announcing that this year they will be changing the name (how about changing a few other things Nestle? ). But regardless, a unique sweet - another chewy one - with flavour that is so heckin’ memorable, we often use it as a descriptor for our wines! So let’s pair it with one of our own because it’d go very well with a cheeky dose of Nero - try Pipe Dream maybe!
Who needs snakes when you can get one massive one that’s got all the flavours smushed together in one? The bastards at Nestle have made them MUCH smaller in recent years which is soul-crushing but this was my favourite after sports treat as I could break it all down and enjoy every flavour one by one. Now thinking about it - the fact that this is based off an animal - that sounds kind of sadistic… but still delicious! So in honour of that mortifying tradition, I’m going to rapid-fire wine pair to each flavour - colour pair to be more specific (because who knows what the flavours are anyways). Here we go:
Red: Grenache - Aphelion ‘Confluence’, Blewitt Springs
Orange: As Expected, Orange Wine - Dormilona ‘Orenji’ Sauv Blanc/Semillon, Margaret River
Yellow: Chenin Blanc - Corymbia, Swan Valley
Green: Riesling - KT ‘Peglidis’ Vineyard, Clare Valley
Blue: Sangiovese - Koerner ‘Nielluccio’, Clare Valley