As is our custom, being huge baseball fans, baseball’s opening day means the all-american dinner. Hot dogs! Normally hot dogs or sausages are beer territory. One does not immediately think of wine but I thought this would be a fun pairing question to solve so I set out to see what might work.
After a decent amount of research, I found that it’s not type of hot dog or sausage that determines the pairing but what is going in it. For example, a Texas dog will need a much different wine than a Chicago dog. What you serve on the side can also play into your choice.
First, let’s look at the pairing problem I presented in the picture above. As a point of information, your humble narrator is now, always has been, and always will be a foaming at the mouth, bleed orange and black, San Francisco Giants fan. I have many very fond memories as a kid eating the Candlestick Park polish sausage. This was a basic polish dog with red onions, kraut, and Gulden’s spicy brown mustard (at the time, the official mustard of the San Francisco Giants). As an adult, I always paired this with a tasty Anchor Steam beer. Alas, when AT&T park opened, the basic polish dog with the Gulden’s was lost to garlic fries and Cha Cha bowls.
So for this opening day, I decided to go back to my roots and make an old school Giants polish dog. I started by grilling the polish sausages indirect over hickory wood. The dog was served with raw red onions, sour kraut, mayo, and the Gulden’s mustard. On the side was cheddar cheese chili and BBQ potato chips and the left over kraut. After some deliberation, I keyed on the kraut and mustard for my first take. For my second take, I looked at the dish as a whole. This gave me two wines to try and may the best pair win…
For take one and the kraut / mustard key, I went with a Trefethen Dry Reisling. This is a wonderful cool climate white with peach, honeysuckle, tropical fruit and citrus notes. Just the right amount of acidity to handle the kraut and spicy mustard. The surprise here was how well it picked up the chili and tang of the BBQ chips! Take two will be hard pressed to beat this. A perfect pairing. A+
For take two I went with a J Vineyards Brut Rose Sparkler. The crisp berry and blood orange notes were solid but the lower acidity of this wine put it in a bad position with the kraut and mustard. Although this is my new favorite reasonably priced sparkler, it did not hit the right notes to make this a strong pair. C+ at best.
Here are some other pair ideas for different types of common dogs:
Chicago Style (tomato, onion, pickles, yellow mustard)
Gewurztraminer, Dry Riesling
A Husch or Heitz Gewurz or the Trefethen or Pacific Rim dry Riesling would be outstanding.
Texas Style (tomato, cheese, chili, jalapeno)
Syrah, Petite Syrah, or a jammy Zinfandel
A Seghesio/Rosenblum Zinfandel or the Bogle or Big House Syrah offerings would work great here. If you want to go more upscale the Robert Craig Zin or Radio Coteau Timbervine Syrah would kill this dish.
New York Style (yellow mustard, kraut, onions)
Dry Riesling hands down.
Trefethen will nail this. Pacific Rim would also be good here. J Vineyards Pinot Gris would be another option.