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The Bachelor on the Cheap guide to making wine selection and food pairing easier - Pinot Noir

Wine FunBy Mike Thayer

This is the sixth of an ongoing series of wines and food pairings

Wine, it's the perfect beverage for a romantic dinner, a go-to for a casual get-together/party and a holiday meal is complimented by it.  Whether it's a meal for two, a small party for friends or a gathering of family, having the right wine elevates the occasion. 

And while most people follow the basic rule of thumb - red wine for beef and white wine for chicken - selecting the right wine can still be challenging.  What KIND of red for that roast beef?  Or, What KIND of white for that lemon chicken dish?  Does dessert call for a different wine?

The choices are many and can be intimidating, with the reds there's Merlot; Cabernet Sauvignon; Zinfandel; Syrah/Shiraz; Malbec; Pinot Noir; Nebbiolo; Sangiovese; Grenache and all kinds of red blends to choose from.

With the whites there's Chardonnay; Sauvignon Blanc; Moscato; Pinot Grigio; Riesling; Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Torrontes, Albarino and yes, white wine has it's share of blends as well.

So you walk into the liquor store in need of a bottle of wine for a dinner date or special occasion... 

Sure, you can rely on the store attendant to help you with a selection but that can be hit or miss.  A good attendant will ask you if you prefer wines on the sweeter or dryer side and what you might be pairing it with.  But keep in mind the attendant's palate is different than yours, their sweet and dry preferences are different than yours and they might try to push a particular brand on you that's in the store's best interest, not yours.  So why not walk in the store knowing what you need?  That's what this guide is for, to help you with food pairings, what is sweet, what is dry and getting a good wine for under $15 a bottle.  That's the Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly thing to do, get something nice, without paying too much for it.

For previous reviews, click on the link below:

Today's featured wine:  Pinot Noir

First cultivated in Burgundy, France, the Pinot Noir grape is now grown all over the world.  The appeal of Pinot Noir is how versatile it is with food pairings, it's a red that can go with just about anything.  Think about that next date, you're at a quaint restaurant, a candlelit table for two...   You're having steak, your date is having salmon, what kind of wine can you share?  Get a bottle of Pinot Noir!  With flavors of cherry, plum, spice, and some earthy notes, this food friendly wine has soft tannins and a bright acidity.  It's a lighter bodied red wine with a smooth finish.  Pinot Noir is an excellent choice for a charcuterie board that includes ham, goat cheese and olives.  And in thinking of the diversity of a charcuterie board and all those great options, think pizza and all the great topping options...  Yes, pizza and Pinot Noir is a great match!  Pot Roast, roast turkey, roast chicken, glazed ham, rack of lamb, the aforementioned steak and salmon, they're all complimented by a glass (or two) of Pinot Noir.  This wine is also excellent with mushroom anything, asparagus and roasted root vegetables.  It pairs well with hummus (w/roasted red pepper is a personal favorite), gnocchi, ravioli, risotto and here's a really good one, spinach & artichoke dip.    For dessert, think chocolate, decadent brownies, chocolate covered strawberries or a chocolate mousse.  And like other red wines, serve it slightly chilled, at 60 - 65 degrees (refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving).

Bread-Butter-Pinot-NoirBachelor on the Cheap Recomendation: Bread & Butter Pinot Noir - $14.99.  Here's the description:  Bread & Butter Pinot Noir is all about that juicy red fruit. Think cherries and raspberries with a touch of cassis. Delicate hints of cedar, smoke, and bay leaf cut the sweetness of the fruit, creating a nicely balanced bouquet. That luscious fruit bouquet continues onto the palate, where it’s joined by soft flavors of oak and savory notes. With a long and beautifully smooth finish, this Pinot Noir will melt in your mouth.

And something to consider, subscribing to a wine club.  Here's one that I've tried and I have to say every bottle I sampled was something I would order again.  WineShop at Home

Next Up in the series:  Nebbiolo

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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Sonic's Big Dill Cheeseburger is a must try - Bachelor on the Cheap

By Mike Thayer

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger
It's a must try

As a kid, I hated pickles, couldn't stand them.  And I wasn't satisfied with just didn't picking them off a fast food burger - didn't want the pickle juice residue flavor...  I would special order burgers without pickles.

My how the palate changes over the years.  Now I don't like having a burger without them!

Enter Sonic's Big Dill Cheeseburger

Sonic introduced the burger in late April, I couldn't wait to try it.

Here's the description from the Sonic website:  Crispy pickle fries, a creamy dilly ranch, chopped lettuce, crinkle cut pickle slices & melty American cheese layered on a 100% pure seasoned beef patty on a toasted brioche bun.

This burger is DILLICIOUS!  See what I did there... with the "Dill" licious...?  You get fried dill pickle in every bite.  A little crunch from the pickle, a little crunch from the breading, it's a nice fried twang to accompany the all beef patty and melted cheese.  And that awesome pickle twang is reinforced by the crinkle cut pickle slices, then there's the nice finish with the crisp lettuce and warm, toasty, brioche bun.  What an awesome bite!

Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger
You get fried dill pickle in every bite

Costing me $9.45 for a large combo meal to include tots and the iconic Sonic Cherry Limeade, I'm giving the Sonic Big Dill Cheeseburger 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  The only thing holding this burger back from a 5 star rating was the lack of dill in the ranch dressing.  There wasn't enough dill punch, it's almost like the dressing wasn't even there, getting lost in the burger and pickle goodness.  Perhaps put another layer of dressing on the bottom bun for a bit more oomph? 

This burger is worthy of a repeat buy, I'd have another right now, but I'm working on the Cherry Limeade...

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Today's Weather Outlook for the Corridor

Today's weather forecast and a four day outlook.  Check this page for the latest weather reports in the corridor area.  Up-to-date weather conditions for the Iowa City area are observed at the Iowa City, Iowa City Municipal Airport, IA.  For weather conditions specific to other cities outside the corridor area, just type in your zip code below.

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