Raising a glass to Hostess

November 21, 2012 

I grew up in the mid-1960s with "Leave it to Beaver," "All in the Family" and "The Johnny Carson Show." But it was also an era where products like Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos weren't labeled as bad to eat.

So, Nov. 16, 2012, was a day that saw a large portion of my childhood memories evaporate -- when Hostess announced they were producing that last batch of Twinkies and closing their doors for good. Instead of Twinkies and a glass of ice cold whole milk, I thought it would be interesting to make one last toast with different wine varietals to pair with each of those wonderful Hostess products that my generation grew up enjoying.

My first course had to be that old staple -- Wonder Bread -- with my Grandma Hazel's homemade pimento cheese spread. That pairs very nicely with Conundrum, but then again so many foods pair well with this wine including spicy Asian dishes. Conundrum is a white wine that is a blend of several different grapes and the real challenge -- hence a conundrum -- with this wine is trying to guess exactly what grapes are in this tasty bottle. This wine is produced by the Wagner family, who are the founders of Caymus Vineyards, a winery that produces some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines in all of Napa Valley, Calif.

The Hostess Cupcake (with those very familiar white icing squiggles across the top), Ding Dongs and Ho Hos are all the perfect complement to the Mumm Napa Brut Rose and the Mumm Brut Prestige. The Mumm Brut Rose is blush in color and has evident hints of black

cherry and strawberry, while the Brut Prestige has a golden color, with spicy, toasty vanilla overtones. For those who want a sparkling wine to pair with your Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing, either of these Mumm offerings will be perfect.

As is usually the case, the best is saved for last: the Twinkie, the king of mass-produced snack cakes. While some may argue that the demise of the Twinkie might reduce coronary disease and obesity in our country, I would suggest that no child's life is complete without having Twinkies and whole milk for breakfast. For us adults, how about a Twinkie after dinner with your favorite ice wine or late harvest Riesling? It really doesn't get much better than that.

We should all take this last opportunity to eat those wonderful, calorie-filled Hostess treats and take a step backwards in time, reminiscing about days long gone when we were young with full heads of hair and no wrinkles.

In hindsight, maybe I will skip the wine and pour a big glass of ice cold whole milk to pair with each of those wonderful Hostess morsels.

Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at jimrawe@gmail.com.

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