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Wine pairing... with hot dogs?

Don't laugh. To make a long, funny story short, its our turn to host the annual Nathan's hot dog get-together. We're not college kids, but 30-somethings... I'm not talking sausage or hot link, I mean Nathan's hot dogs as in Coney Island hot dog eating contest. I know it sounds looney, but after a brief search on the net, I found possible pairings: Barossa Valley Shiraz (on hand already, so a good possibility); white zin (NO); riesling (also on hand). Has anybody out there actually tried pairing hot dogs and wine? Suggestions?

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  1. Dynamite Vineyards Merlot - about $12 a bottle.

    1. Interesting question.

      I have not tried it, but Chardonnay may work. Especially an unwooded Chardonnay, try Australian wines.

      Since the hot dogs are salty, the tannins in red wine will tend to clash. However if a red is the color of choice I would try a Merlot since it tends to have less agressive tannins than Cabernet.

      A smooth and fairly fruity Shiraz or Zinfandel (red) could work as well.

      Wines with a bit of residual sugar like Rieslings from the US for instance, won't likely work really well.

      A good crisp Sauvignon Blanc?

      I suggest you do a taste test first.

      1. I say this in complete seriousness...Champagne. It goes with everything. In this case, I'd probably go for a sparkling something else, perhaps a Cava.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ccbweb

          Ditto. Champagne is it. (Which includes cava, sparkling, methode champenoise, etc.)

          1. re: ccbweb

            Champagne works great with them.

            1. root beer, real beer, bock beer. don't screw it up.

              2 Replies
              1. re: steve h.

                Steve h. has a point. Is this really a time for wine?
                If it is, then bubbly all the way.
                One thing that will affect your wine choice will be the mustards, sweet relish, onion, etc.
                In which case, bubbly will work.
                But I can't help think beer and soda are a better idea than wine.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  i like hot dogs. what kind of wine goes with a texas weiner (fried hot dog) topped with chili and fresh chopped onions?

                  my head hurts thinking about it.

              2. your answer is found right here...


                ....a bordeaux pomerol of course!

                1 Reply
                1. re: zack

                  lol! the hot dog dance needs to be preserved for generations to come.

                2. This is actually more complex than you would think. The reason being is that there are so many condiments and stuff that you can dress a hot dog that would completely change the flavor profile your meal.

                  For example, plain pork byproduct hot dog steamed, boiled or nuked with just bun and dog. Nice, fresh and flavorful. I think I try something like Heidi Schrock Muscat.

                  Same dog, but butterflied and grilled or just grilled on the bbq. I think I try a basic fruit forward merlot or zin. If merlot, nothing too earthy or tannic. Like garden variety Napa Valley merlot. I'm thinking Rombauer or Whitehall lane. Zin, I'd probably do something that is lower on the alcohol....maybe something away from Amador County.

                  Add some ketchup and mustard and onion and it's different again. A little sweet, a little spicy. I think I vote for Aussie shirazy. Thorn Clarke Shotfire Ridge works for me here.

                  Do it with the Sauerkraut and it's all riesling for me. A halbtrocken or a off-dry kabinett. Even a fruity one would be nice. Robert Weil Riesling Kabinett Trocken I think would be really cool.

                  Chili Cheese Dog. Most people would probably say zin. I say beer, but I can honestly say that I have done this with a 2001 Cask 23. It may not have been the perfect food wine match, but I really enjoyed the dog and I really enjoyed the wine.

                  Ultimately, though, when you are having a hot dog night, it's really more about the wine than the dog.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: waffleman

                    Thanks to everybody for the suggestions. The Nathan's dogs will be grilled on the BBQ with only ketchup, mustard, and relish offered as condiments. To all the naysayers: there will be beer for those who choose that option (my husband's domain) but in my opinion, it is almost always "time for wine". I know this is an unorthodox pairing, to say the least, but I'll let you know how it goes.

                  2. Honestly I've never had Hot Dogs w/ wine but I do like these "rags and riches" pairing challenges.

                    Keep in mind that the condiments AND cooking method make a big difference. I'll assume that you can grill the dogs OR boil them OR pan fry.

                    Grilling would definitely be preferred methodology to bring the dogs to the wine. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay all love the grill burn and "smokey" flavor from the grill. However, overall I don't think chardonnay would be a great match here unless there's prominent garlic in the flavor notes.

                    As for pure hot dog, if it has any level of spice content, then that tends to favor Riesling, Gewurztraminer, zinfandel, and to an extent perhaps Beaujolais.

                    BUT.... the ultimate would be to do gourment "cheese dogs" (since this might be a kosher event that could be out)... but assuming you're not doing kosher and you're open to cheese dogs, then why not make this a gastronomic masterpiece and serve the following:

                    FOR RIESLING: Grilled Hot Dogs with Emmental cheese

                    FOR GEWURZTRAMINER: Grilled Hot Dogs with Emmental or Gruyere... call them "Gruyere Dogs" or something.

                    FOR ZINFANDEL: Hot Dogs with dust/shavings of Parmesan Reggiano... this might be an incredible taste.

                    All of these are fairly "chilli friendly" so you might also add a dollop of chili.... Chili also can work quite well with Beaujolais....

                    Again, I've never tried these but pretty confident they are good to excellent taste matchings. Be a bit careful with your other toppings

                    1. IIRC, Nathans have some spice, but not much "heat." My first choice would be a non-Cru BJ, then a New World Syrah/Shiraz. Next, a fruit-forward Zin.

                      Also, a lot depends on how you "dress" the dogs. We do turkey franks, but then use chili, sauerkraut and cheddar. That really throws a curve, but we'd done some Brut Rosé with good effect. Heck, it will pair with almost anything.


                        1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                          Maybe keep it a NY thing and grab some Dr. Frank Riesling. Personally, I gotta say some frosty brews are the way to go with this one.

                          1. Here's a link to the wines we opened with our MIller hot dogs on Memorial Day for the 8 of us.

                            And, here's the food report.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              Yes a crisp rose seems like a great pairing.

                            2. Nero d'Avola from Sicily

                              1. Somebody eluded to this a little but hots dogs and pink wines are a good match. Tempranillo based roses i think are killer for grilling. They are not too simple have some body and usually very affordable. Another rose to think about is Cab Fran based one from the Loire (Saumur i think), green pepper notes and bone dry quality fit in nicely with hot dogs. On the white side i think Chenin Blanc has been left out of the conversation. Simple slighty off dry Loire valley chenin blanc pairs well with the spice and meat of a hot dog especialy with a little kraut on it. As for reds CARMENERE is my choice. Once again typicaly very afforable.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: arv

                                  Loire cab franc (chinon) roses rock ... can't wait for this year's JM Raffault

                                2. I would go with Zinfandel. Hell, it works for Cocoa Puff, so why not weenies.

                                    1. I think Rose is pretty delightful with hot dogs. In fact any sausage type thing served with condiments in a bun.

                                        1. I would pair a nice Oregon pinot noir with the hot dogs

                                            1. Scheurebe Spatlese

                                              Or Pilsner Urquell ;-)

                                              1. Whew...was I happy to read this post! My husband and I were enjoying a glass of Rosemount Estate Shiraz (2004) tonight and we were mulling over what to have for dinner. We decided on Chili dogs. I admit I never gave any thought to the hot dog and wine pairing issue but as we were eating I definately felt that the heat and spice of the chili tasted bolder with each sip of wine. After doing a little research on this shiraz I learned that it boasts an intense,spicy fruit flavor with a richly texture finish. So my palate is not deceiving me, accidental as it was it turned out to be a great meal. Try it!