This post is sponsored by Gallo Family Vineyards. All opinions, photos, and recipes are my own.
My love for bacon is no secret, nor is my love for wine. Do the two pair well together? Despite my favorite line “everything is better with bacon,” not every wine pairs well with the beloved meat candy. One wine that does, in my opinion: Gallo Family Vineyards’ Hearty Burgundy.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to create a wine pairing to help celebrate Gallo Family Vineyard’s 50th anniversary of its iconic red blend, Hearty Burgundy.
Gallo Family Vineyards Hearty Burgundy
Winemakers Ernest and Julio Gallo first introduced this red blend in 1964. It’s a fuller medium-bodied blend, comprised of delicious dark berry and plum notes. I like that it’s not too oaky, nor too fruity: it’s somewhere in the “just right” category for each of those descriptors.
The Gallo brothers loved how this blend reminded them of wines they would enjoy in Italy at meal times surrounded by family. After tasting it myself, I could quickly see how this was an ideal wine to share with friends and family over great conversation and hearty laughs. It is definitely MY kind of red wine: big, bold, full of deep, dark berry flavor with each sip.
While I could easily have paired this wine with any number of hefty, meaty meals — such as with steak frites, a big bowl of my Tri-Pepper Pasta, or even my Sausage and Peppers dish — I wanted to pair this with appetizers that would work well for entertaining guests. It does, after all, come in a 1.5 liter bottle, which is the perfect size bottle to enjoy with friends!
You already know I’m going the bacon direction here, right? I quickly decided to pair this with two bacon dishes: Bacon Jam and Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese.
As luck would have it, I was hosting the next Bunco night. The perfect opportunity to share and test out the pairings!
Bacon Jam Recipe
Making jam is fairly simple, but time consuming. At least, it is for this working mother of two younger kids. Is it worth it? YES. Absolutely. I have the full recipe and directions at the bottom of this post. Basically, you cook the bacon in a skillet; remove bacon and saute onions and garlic, making sure to lift up all that yummy bacon bit goodness that might be stuck to the pan; then you add the cider vinegar, maple syrup, and the bacon back to the pan and simmer. Next, you place the entire mixture in a slow cooker and cook on high for 3.5 to 4 hours. Finally, you blend the mixture in a food processor.
The ingredients and steps are simple (but like I said, just time consuming), and in the end you get about 2.5 cups of tasty Bacon Jam!
I served it with goat cheese and sliced baguette. You can also serve this on toast for breakfast; as a condiment with a tasty sandwich; or smother it over some pork chops for dinner. It’s versatile, and it keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks (if it lasts that long!).
Hearty Burgundy Pairing With Bacon Jam
How did this appetizer fare with the Gallo Family Vineyards Hearty Burgundy? I personally enjoyed it. I thought the berries in the Hearty Burgundy brought out the sweetness of the Bacon Jam. One guest was not a fan of the pairing, while other guests liked it as I did.
Which emphasizes my personal mantra when it comes to wine pairings: go with your gut, and follow your taste buds. Just as we don’t all take to the same wines, our palettes don’t all agree with certain pairings. You won’t know, until you try — and I definitely think you should at least try this pairing (because it’s delicious!!).
Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Goat Cheese
The next recipe I paired this wine with was the quintessential party favorite: Bacon Wrapped Dates. Everybody knows this dish, right? Even people who do not normally like dates AT ALL (including me!) love this dish. Why? Bacon. Bacon is the gateway food to normally shunned food like dates. For this pairing, I added stuffed goat cheese to my bacon-wrapped dates. YUM!
And for those who are short on time, in contrast to the Bacon Jam recipe, this dish takes no time at all, and dare I say, almost no skill! Seriously: someone who just learned out to turn on an oven could make these. SO simple, and yet, these are always crowd pleasers at any gathering of friends and family. Win-win!
Take a package of pitted dates, stuff them with goat cheese, wrap with bacon, then bake for 20-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Done! The full recipe is at the bottom of this post as well.
Burgundy Paired With Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Goat Cheese
Now this dish, most people seemed to really enjoy with the Gallo Family Vineyards Hearty Burgundy. The saltiness of the bacon balanced with the sweetness of the dates pairs very well with the bold Burgundy. I loved this pairing in particular.
So the next time you are having friends over or if you’re throwing a party for any occasion, I’d heartily recommend serving the Gallo Family Vineyards Hearty Burgundy alongside my Bacon Jam recipe and/or the Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Goat Cheese recipe. Makes entertaining a delightful, successful breeze!
- One 8-ounce package of pitted dates
- Small log of goat cheese
- 8-10 bacon strips each cut into thirds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Most packages of pitted dates contain dates that are split open on one side. If you find any that are not split open, use kitchen shears to carefully slice dates on one side.
- Take a small amount of goat cheese and stuff into the middle of each date. Use just enough goat cheese to almost fill the gap in each date; do NOT overstuff!
- Wrap each date with a cut strip of bacon, placing the slit opening of the date down against the first edge of the bacon strip before rolling it, so that the opening of the date is wrapped carefully in the middle of the rolled bacon strip. Basically, you want to make sure the goat cheese isn't allowed to ooze out of the date while it's cooking.
- To help ensure the bacon doesn't unwrap, place the opening side of the bacon wrap down against the baking sheet. You can also use a toothpick to make sure each piece stays tightly together. Spread bacon wrapped dates about an inch apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until bacon is fully cooked, turning the baking sheet around halfway to ensure even baking.
- If you didn't already use toothpicks, place a toothpick through the middle of each bacon wrapped date, and set out about 10-15 minutes before serving.
Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Gallo Family Vineyards, and I am compensated as part of the Mom It Forward blogger network. All photos and opinions are my own.