Spread the Love: Pimento Cheese + Pinot

By Lisa Elbert


Lisa Elbert
Styling by Hip Torres
Styling by Hip Torres

In Atlanta, pimento cheese, oh the spreadable delight, is as common as sweet tea and streets named Peachtree. But not all pimento cheese is created equal, as proven by Chef Nick Anderson’s “pot of gold” at City Winery. He incorporates Peppadew peppers, Dijon, cumin, and Pinot Noir fluid gel (bless his heart!) in with his cheddar. The result is a spicy, herbal, update on the Southern classic, which Anderson serves with “country club” saltines that are dipped in clarified butter and toasted. 

Sommelier Mani Gonzalez (who recently departed City Winery) welcomes the challenges of pairing traditional Southof-the-Mason-Dixon foods with wine. “Southern cuisine is an awesome genre to play around with wine pairings. There’s so much going on on the plate,” says Gonzalez. The lush, boozy Pinot Noir is made on premise at City Winery with grapes grown in Sonoma’s Shokrian Vineyards, and it performs a fruit-forward, high-acid balancing act with Anderson’s spicy, creamy cheddar spread. “It’s a warm climate Pinot with ripe red fruits, a touch of earth, and a bit of weight on the mid-palate,” she says. “It finishes really bright and clean, just like it starts, so it’s a great palate cleanser.” Anderson uses the same Pinot Noir for his fluid gel, but that wasn’t the impetus behind Gonzalez’s pairing. “The [Pinot Noir] has this tertiary hint of dried green herbs which really brings out the flavor of the Peppadews.” 

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