Hot Dogs and Canned Wine? Truro Vineyards is Gonna Rock Your Summer.
Advice for the “Smart” Wine Drinker (and the Smarter Ones)
If you visit Domaine Carneros in the Napa Valley you’d be smart to order their 4-wine Grande Tasting. The tasting lineup currently includes their 2014 Late Disgorged Brut, a sip of the fruity 2013 Le Rêve Blanc de Blancs , the exceptionally silky 2018 Le Ciel Serein Pinot Noir and a “The Famous Gate” Pinot Noir, which, if you want to take a bottle home (and you will), will run you close to $100. The cost of the tasting is $50 (standard for Napa Valley), but if you’re like me, and enter a winery all guns-a-blazin’, you’ll want to tack on some food. Skip the $45 Charcuterie plate and go “all in” with the slightly pretentious–but undoubtedly delicious–$175/person caviar tasting. Why not? You’re in the Napa Valley! Oh, and don’t just show up unannounced (you rube), you have to book a reservation online–and there’s a $25 deposit, per person. That’s what a smart wine lover might do.
A really smart wine lover might forgo the hefty deposit, click on “cancel order” and head to Truro Vineyards + South Hollow Spirits in Truro, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Why would a really smart person do this? Because wine should be fun, and if you’re taking your wine too seriously, well, you’re probably taking yourself too seriously–and that’s never a good thing. In fact, Truro Vineyards is having so much fun with their wine they started canning the stuff a few years ago, and canned wine is, well, undeniable fun. This year they’ve rolled out 750 cases of Beachcomber Rosé (made in partnership with the Wellfleet Beachcomber beach bar and restaurant–“the best place to drink our Rosé”, they say), and 400 cases of their Sauvignon Blanc (while canning they also pulled off 250 cases of a scrumptious Rosé, Gin and Lemonade canned cocktail, but we’ll visit that another time).
The winery describes their Sauvignon Blanc as having a “nice tropical zip” that accompanies aromas of flowers, pear, peach and honeydew. The wine is certainly elegant enough to impress a date with a gourmet, candle lit dinner, but going into a can, lips first, adds an additional dimension that says “Life is short, wine is fantastic, let’s get this afternoon started”. Which is what we did on our latest visit to the winery. Most Sauvignon Blancs are best paired with briny oysters, shellfish, swimming fish of all kinds, and they’re a perfect balance to spicier foods. Truro Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc certainly fits into that category, and the Truro Vineyard Rosé wine has been my beach go-to choice for many years now. Rosés can be a tad more fragile than Sauv Blancs (especially the dryer ones), and typically pair with green salads, soft cheeses and, often in my case, salty potato chips and a chicken salad sandwich with a sprinkling of beach sand. But, again, when at a winery it’s best never to hold back, so today’s pairings will be different.
Wine and Hot Dogs: A Love Story
Today we’re enjoying our cans of Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé with a hot dog–and not just any dog. This frank is a thing of beauty, and should go nicely with the wine. Will they be the perfect pairing? Who cares? We’re talking wine and hot dogs, and if you don’t get where I’m going here, you are definitely taking yourself too seriously.
The thing about wine…and hot dogs for that matter…that if it’s in a bottle, box or can (OK, the wine, not the hot dog), when made right, and with the right amount of care, the vessel doesn’t matter–it’s what’s inside. Getting back to the hot dog, (I’m ping-ponging here, bare with me), it’s the same theory. Buns are buns, but I want a decent tube steak nestled inside that sucker (and if you can do something special with the condiments, than I’m a happy boy). So we’ll grab a table on the vineyards lawn, kick our Birkenstocks off, nestle our toes in the green grass and enjoy two of life’s biggest pleasures…hot dogs and vino. And that brings us to today’s pairing lesson:
If you can get one amazing tasting thing, and introduce it to a second amazing thing, that’s a perfect pairing.
See? Now you see where I’m going here. Life is short. Pour the wine, stick a napkin in your shirt, and have at it.
Crush Pad: Our Hot Dog Hosts
Truro Vineyard’s Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé have both been tried and true, classically balanced wines year after year and they simply don’t need to prove themselves anymore, whether in a bottle or a can. The hot dog I’m holding in my other hand? That’s a bonus dropped from Heaven, or specifically, from the Crush Pad food truck located in the winery’s front lawn. When hearing “food truck” one generally thinks, burgers, dogs and tacos, and in this case you’d be right. However, this sneaky fifth-wheel holds as many surprises as a Quaker roller derby. The Crush Pad’s hitch is hooked up to Blackfish, Truro’s heavy hitter fine dining restaurant, located at 17 Truro Center Road. The Blackfish menu typically highlights dishes such as Confit Duck Leg with Shiitakes and Duck Fat Roasted Sunchokes, Tuna Bolognese with Mascarpone Cheese and Lemon Confit, and Panko Crusted Sole with Lemon Caper Beurre Blanc. So we’re talking food truck favorites that deliver flavors on a whole other level.
Our plump, skin-popping Kobe beef hot dog, which hails from Snake River Farms, delivers plenty of juicy flavor, and the accompanying dill pickle relish and sweet tomato jam are made in-truck, making this hot dog worthy of 2 fine wines in a can. But suddenly our menu plans take a quick turn, and we have to reconnoiter. I pulled a neck muscle craning to see a Niman Ranch burger with Bleu Cheese whiz by (at the winery guests scan the menu and order on their cell phones–the waitstaff delivers all the food and drink right to your picnic table–brilliant), so half the hot dog suddenly became tomorrow’s breakfast.
No Pumping the Brakes: Lunch at Truro Vineyards
Perusing the menu for the burger, we added on the Fried Cauliflower with Parmesan, Red Pepper Flakes and Lemon Zest. The cauliflower is crisped on the outside, tender on the inside, and the lemon made for the perfect mate to the Sauvignon Blanc. Scrolling further down the paper menu I saw two words that always stop me in my tracks: “Peking” and “duck”. The Peking Duck Sausage on Brioche with Hoisin Aioli and Slaw was also added to the banquet. The sausage, like the hot dog earlier, has that poppy skin and sweet, juicy interior (with a little help from the hoisin, no doubt) and our crisp can of dry Rosé does a nice job of balancing an underlying heat, whether from the sausage itself or the slaw. The burger arrived fat and juicy, and knowing its from Niman Ranch makes it all natural and grass fed. Although the Rosé might be able to stand up to a burger, we considered ordering the Truro Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, but the sun is shining, the air is warm and the Hollow Spirit’s drink shack (called The Hollow, also located in the front yard) is featuring Red Sangria Slushies. We order a couple more, and raise our plastic cups as a toast to Truro Vineyards.
Walk-ins for tastings and dining at Truro Vineyards are welcome, but can sometimes be a wait. To make reservations for a table outside click here.
~ Tommy Dott is an innkeeper, restaurateur and award-winning food writer. He, his partner Ali, and their two Yorkies, “Jiminy Cricket” and “B.G.” live on Cape Cod.