It was a bit of a trick question. What wine you pair with a hotdog depends on what condiments you choose to top it with, said Peturson-Laprise.
This was back between 2002 and 2003 when she was studying for her International Sommelier Guild diploma in Banff and Calgary, but the red hot wringer has stuck with her over the years.
She was working for a large hotel and resort chain at the time, she said, “so being in the thick of restaurant work [she] was very interested in pairings.”
“I’m also a natural geek,” she said. “So the queer nature of this request piqued my interest.”
In light of barbecue season, here are the Happy Gourmand’s wine pairing suggestions, broken down by condiment.
Choose a red, but not one too full-bodied, because the sweetness of the ketchup does not match well with the earthy nature of full-bodied red wines.
Peturson-Laprise suggested a fruity Cabernet Merlot blend. A white blend would also work, she said, as long as it has intense flavours.
“Too light and it would be lost amidst the overpowering intensity of the ketchup flavour,” she said.
Mustard fans might do for a history lesson, Peturson-Laprise said.
“Dijon is world-renowned as a mustard source,” she said. “Although the stuff in the yellow squeeze bottle is tamer in flavour, the basic taste profile is similar.”
Since Dijon is the capital of the Burgundy region in France, look for grapes that are famous in Burgundy.
For fans of white, she suggested a wine that has mineral, earthy tones, like an unoaked Chardonnay. For fans of red, she suggested a wine with astringent elements, like a Pinot Noir.
If you prefer pickled things like relish or sauerkraut on your dog, it’s best to match the acidity of those condiments with something tangy in the glass and a bit of fruit to round it all out.
“A good Sauvignon Blanc is just the thing,” said Peturson-Laprise, adding that if you don’t want too much tanginess, you can try a Bordeaux white blend.
And if you prefer a spicy pickle like kimchi, you’ll need a bit of sweetness to cut the heat.
”Gewurztraminer is a great pick,” she said.
If savoury flavours like grilled onions are your go-to, Peturson-Laprise suggested Chardonny or Cabernet Franc.
“The caramelization [of the onions] works well with an oaky Chardonny or a medium-bodied, earthy red,” she said.
Chili and cheese
Cheese dogs work well with the same wines that work with grilled onions, Peturson-Laprise said, but choose a fuller-bodied red if the cheese is a strong flavoured variety. And for a chilli dog, she said a red Meritage would work well with the meat sauce.
“But remember to look for something more fruit-forward if there is heat,” she said, suggesting a Syrah rather than say, a Cabernet.
With such a whirlwind of flavours and aromas at play, Peturson-Laprise said her training tells her a dog with “the works” dictates something that will refresh the palate.
“Traditionally, this means bubbles,” she said.
If you’re not a fan of sparkling wine, she added, an off-dry Rosé usually works well, too.
“Or, you could just go for a more common hot dog pairing — a good old-fashioned beer.”