Dispatch from Aspen: Wine, Wieners, and the Perfect Match

June 2011

Nothing was more fun at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen than when Danny Meyer hosted “Sauce on the Side: Wine, Wieners & the Works,” an unpretentious poke at expert wine pairings. As CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, Meyer oversees almost a dozen highly successful NYC restaurants—from the Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park to the humble Shake Shack burger havens. So he's got just the right amount of clout to insist that diners be put back in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing what they like to drink.

To prove his point, he challenged the audience to do their own taste test, comparing samples of Anchor Brewing beer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and ice wine with typical hot dog condiments (ketchup, mustard, cheese sauce, and the Shake Shack’s relish and special mayo-based sauce).

Each budding oenophile taste-tested every beverage-condiment pairing to determine their personal preferences. Then, we slathered our Vienna Beef hot dogs with our favorite condiment combinations, paired with the beverage that best fit our taste buds. (My surprising discovery? Ice wine teams incredibly well with mustard.)

By leaving deep conversations about acidity and tannins aside, Meyer’s game is the perfect way to liven up your next wine group or summer barbecue.