In Loving Memory
Brunello the dog, who “writes” this blog with my help, and has such for the past ten years, has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. He died peacefully with all the love and support of his family, and dad, Ed Giancola on March 21, 2022.
On a warn, sunny, day during an outdoor Zinfandel wine tasting event, (Saints and Zinners) Suncoast Dog Rescue had some pups up for adoption. I spotted a white, fluffy pup, and was dying to go see it. When I was able to break away from my table, I walked in the store and there was the white pup, in the arms of Ed Giancola. “You’re adopting him?” I asked, a little disappointed. “Yes I am!” declared Ed. Brunello became a fixture in the store, greeting guests, and making friends everywhere he went. Over the course of time, Brunello became part of the store’s website; after all, he attended most tastings and events, and many loyal customers would come in just to see him and bring him a dog cookie. I had been writing blogs on wine for an Albany, NY tv station website, so when Perry and I discussed the blog, writing it under the guise of Brunello seemed a perfect fit. The system of “awarding” bones for ratings was a fun way to say this wine rates great! If it got “two bones” or “three bones” on the Brunello scale, it was above average. To keep Brunello’s memory a part of the store, we will continue Brunello’s blog about wine on the website monthly.
My love affair continued with Brunello weekly when I came to the store to call on Ed and Perry- mostly I stooped on the floor and rubbed Brunello’s belly, I made him homemade doggie treats, and Ed used to say his tail would start wagging when I pulled into the parking lot (well, me and the UPS driver). I was thrilled to publish my first wine book, Brunello’s Book of Blogs, born out of a furlough during the pandemic; it was a good time to organize the near decade of 500 word blogs by Brunello. In honor of Brunello, I am going to repost my all time favorite wine blog, that Brunello had a big part in. He was a very big part of my life, and a really awesome dog.
BRUNELLO’S NOSE KNOWS…
I know I’m a “hot” dog, especially this time of year, and who doesn’t love a good dog off the grill in the summertime? But wine with hot dogs? What kind of wine pairs with the all-beef frank? natural casing, of course, though it kind of depends on the toppings. I love hot dogs- salty, fatty, and oozing with flavors, like a sausage. Franks can be served on a bun or naked, with relish, ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, mayo, even chili. The wine pairing should probably go with the accoutrements, but in this case, nearly anything goes. Our number one rule here at Ed’s is to drink what you like with whatever you like. Hot dogs sing of the summer, easy to throw on the grill with a bun, served with some potato salad and baked beans, YUM. My mouth is watering! Hot dogs originated from Frankfurt, Germany, often referred to as the Frankfurter sausage, and can be made with pork, beef, chicken, or a combination of all. They became popular after being imported into the United States as a food cart snack, and then by baseball. Today, hot dogs can be dipped in breading and fried on a stick- the corn dog! or served on bread or rolls, toasted or grilled, or even fresh out of the bag. I can eat a whole package without any rolls, but that’s me, being a dog.
Corn dogs don’t need a roll around them, and are great with a glass of Chardonnay, the bigger and more buttery the Chard, the better, especially if you put a swish of mustard on the corn dog. I recommend Bogle Chardonnay from CA. It will also be delicious served with your picnic side dishes of pasta and potato or even fruit salads. The wine has just enough oak flavor, with hints of banana and apples. I give it two bones.
There are a few other options to go with the dog as far as choosing a wine, perhaps a Pinot Grigio on the lighter white side, as it is non-offensive and won’t interfere with the meaty flavors. Or you could go with a hearty red Zinfandel, big bold fruit with touch of spice. I recommend the Danzante Pinot Grigio from Italy. It is clean and crisp, with subtle flavors of citrus. I give it two bones.
Alexander Valley Vineyards makes “Sin Zin”, a red Zinfandel with just enough zip to stand up to the fat and spice, and enough fruit to balance the meal. I give it two bones. If Zinfandel is too spicy, you could go with a nice light Pinot Noir; red fruit flavors that won’t interrupt the tomato ketchup, and might pair nicely with French mustard? I might go with the Laetitia Pinot Noir, from CA; the Arroyo Secco region is producing some remarkable Pinot in the French Burgundy style, yet with a bit deeper red fruit, cherry and mushroom flavors. That gets three bones!
If you’re sitting around a camp fire with a dog on a stick, making the prefect chili topping, or simply boiling up the frankfurters on the stove, it doesn’t have to be beer that you serve with your meal. Oh, and make one for me, too!
Brunello will always be a part of the fabric that is the family that makes up Ed’s Fine Wines; employees, vendors, delivery drivers, customers and friends. Yes, wine DOES go with hot dogs. So cheers to Brunello, fly free, sweet pup, you were so fortunate to be loved, and to have touched so many lives. I’m sure you’re hanging out with Grandma Jane.
Carolyn R Brown