You’d think Nate Gomez is perfectly positioned to help with this week’s pairing. After all, he runs the Puma Road Winery tasting room in downtown Monterey, and it’s getting better.
“It’s my partner’s favorite cookie,” he says.
Yes, there may be times when you’re throwing a party and someone is baking cookies or, in this case, picking up half a dozen snickerdoodles from The Perfect Crumb Bakery on Lighthouse in Monterey.
Now you’re stuck with a wine pairing riddle. So you turn to Gomez, but there’s a catch. While her partner may crave a dusting of cinnamon and sugar, “he doesn’t drink wine, though.”
So pairing wine with snickerdoodles is uncharted territory — and it can be tricky to navigate, as you have to tackle the sweetness of the cookie and the fruity zing of many bottles.
“Wine and sugar, you have to have the right ratio,” says Gomez. “Pie and snickerdoodle don’t go well together.”
For this reason, it steers away from whites, suggesting instead a sparkling Blanc de Noirs that promises to be quite unctuous or a blended red.
Puma Road’s 2015 cache leans heavily on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, at 50% and 30%, respectively. However, this leaves a substantial 20% space for the Cabernet Franc to play.
On the nose, the blend is decidedly fruity – fresh black cherries spilling from a bowl. But there’s also an alluring notion of chocolate, sweet spice and a dry, grassy feel. A sip of Cache releases more cherry, this time like hard candy, its sweetness undermined by heavy graphite. In between is a comforting cushion of toasted spices, split cedar and chewy chocolate. The Cab Franc gives it a lighter body, which makes it an easily accessible wine.
The holiday spice offered by the mix favors the dash of cinnamon and sugar on the cookie, as does the sweet chocolate and juicy fruit. It lingers on the finish, leaving the signature dusting of snickerdoodle clinging to the palate, with a warming vanilla creme feel. It’s as if a trio of sweet sauces were drizzled over the snickerdoodle.
So yes, invite friends over for wine and tell them to bring cookies. Snickerdoodles, to be more precise. Chocolate chips or Thin Mint would mean another trip to a tasting room.