Wine and ‘Spro
"Life is what happens between coffee and wine."
For some of us, there's no day without that morning brew. And for others, if you're reading this, you might approach the end of your day with a favorite glass of vino.
Many of us love both; some of us can get into lengthy discussions throughout the night discussing the varietals, best growing regions, qualities and characteristics of favorite wines/coffees, complex flavors of both, best pairings of wine or coffee with different foods, and so on. .
Interestingly enough, coffee and wine have quite a bit in common. Both are derived from fruit (wine from grapes, coffee from “coffee cherries”), the flavor and character of which is strongly influenced by growing conditions. Winemakers and coffee growers alike refer to this unique flavor stamp as “terroir.” Both go through an extensive preparation process, resulting in batches as unique as the fingerprints of those who produce them. Some of the earthiest or most citrusy coffees can actually carry notes reminiscent of some wine varietals.
As much as most of us love coffee and wine independently, their strong flavor profiles would, at first blush, seem to clash. I was inspired to read this 2015 take on pairing coffee and wine from Harvey Steinman, which seems especially relevant now that even Starbucks, in addition to your corner craft coffee shop, is serving wine well into the evening.
If you get an itch for some vinicultural adventure, check out these caffeinated combos.
Costa Rican Espresso & Sauvignon Blanc
Costa Rican coffee beans are almost always a crowd pleaser. Hit up a local craft coffee, beer and wine shop, and ask the barista to get you a well-pulled shot of Costa espresso. The shot should have a nice crema that is tart on the first sip, but opens up with floral and citrus notes as you stir it.
This fruitier varietal of coffee will play harmoniously with what is generally one of the tartest varietals of wine in sauvignon blanc. The light-bodied wine will be a beautiful counterpoint to the slight creaminess of the ‘spro (barista-speak for espresso.).
Rwandan Espresso & Merlot
African coffee is an absolute wonderland of flavors. Departing resolutely from the sweeter vibes of South America, African coffee is full of earthy, vegetal flavors. The robustness of these blends can stand up to a sturdy red, so consider enjoying a Rwandan espresso with a twist of lemon peel on the side and a sampling of a quality merlot. The dark fruit notes of a merlot will dance on the brinier tendencies of the African espresso.
Sparkling Americano and Sparkling Rosé
Sparkling Americanos are not the easiest drinks to come by, as American cafés are still learning how to properly serve espresso. Those who know their stuff will always give you a cortado glass of seltzer to cleanse the palette at the end of your ‘spro, or while enjoying it.
A traditional Americano is served hot—two shots of espresso in hot water for a bold coffee experience. A new spin serves it over ice with sparkling water, electrifying all the hidden layers of espresso in a seriously cool sipping experience.
Go toe-to-effervescent-toe with a pairing of sparkling rosé and see what happens when you put two complex and fizzy beverages side by side.
Regardless of how you decide to take your next sip, we hope you enjoy some great espresso, some nice wine, and a good meal. Cheers!