Wine and Cupcakes… a Match Made in Heaven?
I don’t know about you but when I think of pairing wine pretty much the last thing in the world I think about pairing it with is cupcakes. It just doesn’t seem to be a match to me. That being said, I was intrigued when I saw a sign for a wine and cupcake pairing at D.O.C Wine Bar. It was not anything I ever would have thought of but hey, I like wine, I like cupcakes, why not?
On a Thursday evening my friend Allison and I stepped into a very crowded D.O.C for our foray into the world of wine and cupcakes. The cupcakes were being provided by Molly’s a Cupcake Shop, just down the street from D.O.C. and though I’d only had cupcakes from there a few times I’d never been disappointed.
I was surprised when our pairing arrived and we had four full glasses of wine. I was expecting tasting pours. Score one for D.O.C! The cupcakes were mini cupcakes, just a couple bites each. This was fine as I would have felt extremely gluttonous eating four normal sized cupcakes in one sitting, but the wine to cupcake proportions definitely didn’t match up and we needed to grab some food from the menu as neither of us had eaten dinner.
I was most nervous to try the savory cupcake which was a caprese cake. Pretty much it was bruschetta in cupcake format. It actually wasn’t half bad. The cake was not too sweet and almost had a corn bread type flavor to it. It was paired with the 2009 Vitanza Colli Senesi Chianti. This wine was a bit tannic and had the roughness you’d expect from a Chianti. There was some complexity that would definitely shine with a bit more aging.
The second cake was a brown sugar almond cake. This was my favorite cupcake! My only complaint was that it was too small. There was a red wine poached pear filling but the cupcake was so small that there really was barely any filling. You couldn’t taste the filling the way I think you would have in a larger cupcake. This was paired with a California Pinot and I would say that this was one of the best pairings of the night. The 2010 Bonaccorsi complemented the flavors in the cupcake without overwhelming them. Something lighter like a Pinot Noir really seemes like the way to go if you are pairing cupcakes and red wine. It didn’t overwhelm the cake, but did cut the sweetness.
The third cake was a lime zest cake with watermelon filling and watermelon buttercream. Again the filling was pretty much nonexistent. But the buttercream was pretty amazing! This was the only cupcake paired with a white wine and I actually really enjoyed this Italian white. The 2010 Strele is a Soave from the Venteo Region of Italy. I was not familiar with Soave before this tasting but I’m eager to try more. It wasn’t sweet but it was not super dry either. This was a white that I could see myself drinking on a warm summer night. Though I’m still not a 100% convinced that wine and cupcakes are a match made in heaven it wasn’t bad with the cupcake.
The fourth and final cupcake was a flourless chocolate cake. This was by far the richest of the cupcakes and probably the easiest to pair with wine, because let’s be honest chocolate and wine just go together! This was paired with the 2009 David Bruce Petite Syrah. This pairing worked because the richness of the cake could handle a heavier more bold wine then any of the others.
I really enjoyed this new wine experience but I would say at the end of the day I’m still a bit skeptical that wine and cupcakes are a good match. I thought the wine was better with the food we ordered then with the cupcakes. My favorite wine of the night was the Pinot although the Soave was a close second.