Sunday, March 22, 2015

Chili Dawg Wine

Not everyone is a wine drinker, and I can definitely understand that. I wasn't a huge fan of it myself, and I even worked at a vineyard for a few years. I like to think Chili Dawg is for those people that don't necessarily like the juice of fermented grapes, but still want to look like they're drinking like an adult.

I was first introduced to Chili Dawg during a trip to the future in-laws' house. As we sat around imbibing and talking, they told us we just had to try this new wine they found. Since they're much more experienced wine drinkers than I, I gladly accepted a glass. They said it was like nothing else they've ever tasted before, and I'm inclined to agree. I ended up finishing the rest of the bottle on my own, and spent the rest of the night passed out in a drunken stupor. Ah..good times..

I was lucky enough to get a bottle of my own this past Christmas. I never really noticed the label before, but it definitely has the look of something from a small operation. Starring what looks like Clifford in a blue suit holding a flaming glass of wine, most would likely steer clear of this wine. I definitely think they're missing out. Sure, it looks a little rough, but that's part of the charm isn't it? I guess I'd rather they spent their time crafting a tasty beverage, and let the fancy shmancy folks worry about their pretty labels. Besides, what it lacks in flash, it more than makes up for in flavor. As they say, you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover..

Chili Dawg is made up of a mixture of apple wine and chili pepper wine. Apples into wine, sure, I can get behind that. Turning fruit into alcoholic beverages is something people have been doing for thousands of years. Chili pepper wine though, that just sounds like insanity to me. I'm not even sure how something like that is made, but sometimes it's best to not know what's going on behind the curtain. If you're confused as to why there's a can of Easy Cheese sitting there, keep reading. It will all make sense soon enough.

One of the best things about Chili Dawg is its aroma. Popping the cork releases the scent of fresh apples, with a bit of jalapeno pepper mixed in. The flavor is akin to a lighter apple juice, and it has a sweeter taste that normal wines and ciders. It's definitely not syrupy, like other sweet wines tend to be. There's also a bit of spice, enough to remind you that there is chili pepper wine mixed in, but not so much that you'll burn your mouth. Chilled, I could see it making a nice refreshing beverage. However, the magic doesn't happen until it's mixed with a little Easy Cheese.

Now, I don't literally mean you mix the cheese and the wine together. Just the thought of what that would look like makes my stomach clench. No, what you do is spray a little Easy Cheese on the back of your hand. Hopefully your hands have been washed, because the next step requires you to lick the cheese off before taking a sip of wine. Now, I've always been told certain wines go great with certain foods, and I usually find this to be a load of bullsh*t. For the most part, a sommeliers main function is to upsell you on the more expensive wines offered in a restaurant. That's not to say that some wines don't taste better with certain foods, but for the most part that taste is entirely subjective. Just because some guy says that the $25 a glass wine goes best with the choked goose with ham jelly doesn't mean you'll absolutely agree. Still, even taking all of that into account, I can tell you Chili Dawg goes with Easy Cheese like peanut butter and jelly. Take that lick of cheese, follow it with a sip of wine, and your mouth is instantly filled with the taste of chili dog. Thankfully, your mouth won't actually be filled with chili dog, because that would just be weird, and utterly confusing.

Curious if this phenomena was isolated to just the Easy Cheese, I tried a couple different varieties. Sadly, the sliced American cheese product and cheddar didn't create the same magic. Maybe it's the difference in consistency, or perhaps it's the cocktail of chemicals that makes up spray cheese, but these just didn't work for me. Still good, but it's rather unappetizing having wine and cheese chunks floating around in your mouth. Lesson learned, stick with the cheese in a can.

Chili Dawg is available from Peaks of Otter Winery in Bedford, Va. You can actually order it online, but they can only ship it to Virginia addresses. For  everyone else, you have to go through a store licensed to ship out of state.

So, go get  some Chili Dawg wine, a can of spray cheese, put on some sexy music, and have yourself a party.


  1. You're right, it is like Clifford getting drunk! That puppy grew up so fast...

    1. He just couldn't handle the fame and the fortune I guess.

  2. I think i would pass on this one Chris...the ideal of chili pepper wine doesn't pop with me.

  3. Definitely keeping an eye out for this on my upcoming trip. It'd make a perfect confusing gift for my brother who loves wine yet hates stunt food.

    1. It almost seems like a novelty item, but it's actually pretty good. You might end up with a bottle for yourself!


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