Chardonnay + Zebra Cakes (And 6 More Wine And Crappy Snack Pairings)

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Wine Pairings for a Freaking Grownup

A good glass of wine is the cornerstone of a relaxing evening at home after a long day of work, or parenting (which is work), or both. So many of us enjoy this small luxury but can't afford to splurge on the higher end, vintage, found-in-a-wine-cellar type bottles.

No, for us it's Woodbridge and Beringer, maybe Sutter Home, Yellow Tail or Barefoot when we're feeling fancy, and Liberty Creek after we pay our monthly bills.

But you never see a good wine pairing for our brand of high-class. As a mother of seven-year-old twins, I need some life-giving sustenance to help me make it through each day  you know, sugary cereals, cheese puffs, Little Debbies and the like.

Through intense trial and error, I have come up with the perfect pairings for any mom on-the-go. We'll start with the whites and go right through.

1. Gatao Vinho Verde and Velveeta

Vinho Verde is one of the lightest wines you can buy, and Gatao goes for $7.99 a bottle. It's slight effervescence is due to the barely there bubbles and leaves a crisp, fresh feeling in its wake. It's sweet around the edges, so it needs a hearty compliment. The gooey processed cheese flavor grounds the fruity taste and is best enjoyed while slumped over the stove in a darkened kitchen using a large serving spoon before you call your kids for dinner.

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2. Woodbridge Pinot Grigio by Robert Mondavi and Goldfish crackers

Slightly heavier than Vinho Verde but still sweet and light, Pinot Grigio needs a kick of salt and preservatives to really help bring out its flavor. Woodbridge goes for $6.98 a bottle, and you can get a pack of Goldfish for a buck. I suggest traditional cheddar flavor. The add-ons are trying way too hard and leave that powered almost-spice-but-not-quite on your fingers.

This is best enjoyed right before you pick up the kids from school or daycare, or wake them up from their nap. You're fixing them a snack anyway, and you know it's going to involve Goldfish. Why not grab a few for yourself?

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3. Clos Du Bois Sauvignon Blanc and Zebra Cakes

This drier, more earthy wine pairs perfectly with those plastic-and-foam treats known as Little Debbie Zebra Cakes. Its straight and strong flavor cuts right through that gunky feeling of the frosting on the roof of your mouth, which without the aid of wine could linger for up to two hours. Blech.

It's a great pairing for 1 AM when you know you should've been in bed three hours ago but are determined to make poor life choices. You can find Clos Du Bois for as low as $9, but be prepared to shell out $12. Remember, poor decisions are expensive.

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4. Belle Ambiance Chardonnay and Laffy Taffy

The buttery, oak flavor of chardonnay helps weigh down the light, fluffy, sticky, gooey delicacy that is Laffy Taffy. It detaches the insistent gum-like sweet adhesive from your teeth while providing you with an extra boost of sugar. It's like mixing an energy drink with alcohol. What could possibly go wrong?

This combination works best right after dinner, when you're staring at a stack of dishes in your overflowing sink, while listening to the dulcet tones of your children beating each other up over a walkie-talkie instead of getting dressed for bed. This Chardonnay costs about $9 a bottle.

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5. Barefoot Pinot Noir and Milk Duds

This slightly spicy wine acts like a palate cleanser between the chewy bites of fake caramel. After the chocolate-flavored coating flakes apart in your mouth, it's nice to have a sophisticated sip of Pinot Noir. Not to mention, the liquid helps you dislodge the gummy bits from your molars. Barefoot goes for just about $6 most places, and is by all accounts an excellent cheap choice.

Please enjoy this treat just after (or in place of) lunch to get over that just-can't-even-with-this-day feeling. There are a lot of hours between 1 PM and 8 PM, and they will be filled with whining, no doubt. Refuel.

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6. Yellow Tail Merlot and Fruit Loops

Merlot is the perfect blend of fruity and full, just like Fruit Loops. While some of the more discerning wine lovers might balk at mixing wine and milk, the sense of slicing the roof of your mouth open on hardened carbohydrates completely overpowers the odd coupling. For extra oomph, you could even leave out the milk, and shove those suckers in your mouth dry by the handful. Right from the box, of course.

Yellow Tail will only run you around $6 and is best consumed right before bedtime, during that odd dance and jumble parents have to do between nice-and-fun guy and stern, get-your-ass-to-bed guy. The mix-up of flavors mirrors the mix-up of emotions you have to go through just to get a little thing to sleep.

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7. Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon and Tastykake Mini Donuts

This combination isn't for the beginner cheap wine pairer. The spicier, more acidic taste of the cheaper cabernet mixes help temper the plasticity of the donut rocks and cleanse the palate between bites, ensuring you enjoy every hardly edible treat as if it were your first. Ravenswood costs about $9 but you can find it for cheaper if you know where to look.

This pairing works well on weekends when there's no escaping your mom duties with any planned activities, school, or sports. Try eating this snack on Saturday afternoon after kicking the kids outside so you don't eat them instead. Hell, relax and turn on some NSYNC or something. You've earned it.

winesearcher / brandeating

The main lesson here is that wine can be paired with anything you freaking want, because you're a godd*mn adult and you get to make the rules. Happy crappy tasting!