So for those of you who don’t know (and to be fair, I accidentally discovered this just yesterday myself), today is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. I’m not sure of the origin of the cuisine that most of us have treasured since childhood. A quick search of the interwebs suggested it was a souvenir brought back by U.S. troops from World War II (which would put another notch in that generation’s claim on being the “greatest”). That’s the most credible sounding explanation of the genesis of the PB&J sandwich I found, and quite honestly, as far as I cared to search for a “correct” answer.
I prefer to think that in some random twist of happenstance George Washington Carver (who was checking the Facebooks newsfeed on his iPhone) and one of the Welch boys (who was texting that ‘Smuckers Girl’ his Momma warned him about) were in a crazy “Three’s Company”-like pratfall accident involving a bakery wagon, leading to a “you got peanut butter in my jelly”/”you got jelly in my peanut butter and it landed on one of Ol’ Man Wonder’s loaves”-type situation. The rest was history.
Not needing more of a reason to try a new wine pairing, I didn’t investigate the origin of the “holiday” either, but began scouring my cellar holdings for the perfect bottle to open with lunch. Here’s what I came up with:
Charles Duret Crémant de Bourgogne, Burgundy, France
“Crémant” is a sparkling wine from the Burgundy region of France that isn’t from the smaller Champagne region (thereby having no legal claim as “Champagne”). It is made in the “traditional” fashion, during which the wine goes through a secondary fermentation in the bottle.
On the nose, I got a slight floral and a touch of citrus and apple. The palate brought the apple and a slight pear on the heels of tight bubbles. A nice acid structure held this wine together without being overbearing. I’m a big fan of this bottle—it’s festive, but I don’t have to think about it too much.
As for my sandwich, I prefer traditional: white bread, Jif Extra Crunchy (I mean, are we partying, or are we just hanging out?), and Welch’s grape jelly. No fancy ciabatta bread, no bananas (although grilled peanut butter and ‘nana sandwiches taste good), and no frilly twelve-fruit jams or marmalades.
Did it work? Pretty much. Overall I would say that the wine held up to the sandwich and vice versa. It wasn’t the perfect pairing, but hey—I got to drink a glass of bubbly with lunch! All in all, not a bad day, huh? If that’s not enough of an endorsement, I’ll say this: I’d be happy to pair these two up again.
The Charles Duret Crémant de Bourgogne is a nice little sparkler that can be had for $15-$18. Go get a bottle and celebrate something—whether National PB&J Day, random Monday, or the fact that you folded the laundry.
Cheers from the Corkpit,