If You Like (This Coffee), You Might Like (This Wine)


If the meal was good, the conversation has been great, and I don’t have to get up early the next morning, I’ll often conclude a meal out with a cup of cappuccino.

(This is most likely to happen at an Italian restaurant, where it just feels “right.”)

On other occasions, I might opt for one more glass of wine — either a sweet dessert-style elixir, or the last few drops of the bottle we’d been enjoying with dinner.

But now there’s a way to get the best of both worlds. John Jenkins in Orange, Va., is producing a brew called Merlot Infused Coffee.

It’s made with Merlot-infused Arabica beans that are aged in oak wine barrels “for a unique profile of fresh, red berry flavors and subtle hints of currants and blackberries.”

Starbucks started using “wine terms” to describe some of its “Reserve” coffees a long time ago, and now wine has actually found its way into coffee.

As both a coffee guy and a wine guy, I’ve noticed a lot of similarities between the two beverages — not so much in their palate feel, but definitely in their aromas and flavors.

While one would never confuse the aroma of a cup of coffee with the aroma of a glass of wine, it’s definitely possible to pick out similar nuances within the aroma spectrum. The same goes for the flavor spectrum.

Even the languages of wine and coffee are similar, including descriptors such as chocolaty, fruity, spicy, floral, nutty, grassy, citrusy, etc.

Here are five “If you like, you might like…” selections from the Starbucks coffee menu to help coffee drinkers identify wines they might like, and vice versa.

* If you like Caffe Misto (a one-to-one blend of coffee and steamed milk), you might like mild red blends.

* If you like Espresso (with a rich and caramelly richness), you might like Chardonnay (which often picks up a caramelly impression from oak barrel aging).

* If you like Caffee Mocha, you might like Zinfandel or Syrah.

* If you like Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, you might like oak-aged Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc or Sauternes.

* If you like this season’s favorite coffee beverage, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, you might like Chardonnay from Washington state, or Gewurztraminer.

If you missed International Coffee Day on Sunday, here’s your opportunity to make up for it by toasting the goodness of coffee with a great glass of wine.


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Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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