Consider the branded product. Because you like a car, that car’s brand will put its name on all manner of random items in hopes that you will buy them. I own a Porsche. Porsche has a commemorative 70th Anniversary wine, exclusively sold at the Porsche Museum. Would it smell slightly crayony inside the bottle and taste like winning? Does it pair well with Haribos? Naturally, I had to find out.
I was at the Porsche Museum when their museum-only wine was announced. The wine was made to commemorate 70 years of Porsche. I was even Porsche’s guest to see them break the all-time Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record the next day. My week was as maximum parsh as it gets short of waking up and discovering that you’re suddenly a 944.
[Greetings! If you’re reading this long-awaited taste test, it’s the first-ever Stef Tastes Weird Stuff BONUS TAKE for the parshtreon. Also, to get the necessary disclosure out of the way: Porsche paid for my travel, lodging and food for the trip last year, but the wine was on me.]
In order to defend my status as Jalopnik’s One True Most Absurd Porsche-Owning Fangirl, I had to buy a bottle of this wine, called Cuveé 356—yes, like the car. It was even made in Austria like the original Porsche 356. Moreover, it was only €19.50 a bottle, which was more than doable after I’d burnt through most of my available souvenir cash on the last remaining brown Cayenne Diesel model in the gift shop.
Yet I’m also the kind of Porsche bore who obsesses over whether they got it right. I don’t know if I can survive another betrayal on par with the Great Electric Steering Meh of the 991.1 911. This wine needed to be put through strenuous testing to determine whether it was worthy of sharing a name with my esteemed 24 Hours of Lemons race car. Smell it! Eat with it! And drink it!
Here is what I discovered, for science! Or something.
Just The Wine
The Cuveé 356 bottle I picked up was a 2017 vintage, made by Weingut Tement. It’s a pleasant blend of pinot blanc, chardonnay sauvignon blanc, and pinot gris. In place of the usual cork is a pretty clear glass stopper, which will hopefully keep ants out of my extremely Porschey souvenir bottle as I plan to display it somewhere in the kitchen like a fraternity’s latest empty.
For better or for worse, Cuveé 356 doesn’t smell much like a car. I picked up some light fruitiness—pears and peaches, maybe—and a faint woodsy smell as I was swirling it around.
Taking a sip was more of the same. Light and fruity, with just enough dryness and a hint of oak to remind you that you’re drinking a fancy-pants Porsche wine. I am by no means a wine expert, but I found it pleasant. Approachable. Enjoyable as a non-wine-snob. In light of that, perhaps it should've been named after a later watercooled 924 or 944 instead. Are we sure 356 was the right model number for the label? I can’t fix carbs to save my life, you know.
My wine-snob friend Joe wasn’t a fan of the second bottle of this wine I brought to Ringmeet last year, and described the taste as a bit “green,” whatever that means. I eat a lot of plants, though, so maybe that’s why I liked it?
Any wine worth its fancy glass stopper should go well with cheese, or else you’re probably drinking something foul. Of course, the kind of wine affects how well your cheese will go with it.
My friend Charles mistakenly brought over a couple Boar’s Head cheeses that would typically go well with a red wine. He assumed that a Porsche wine had to be red as it’s a known fact that Guards Red is the best Porsche color. (Full disclosure: I own a Guards Red Porsche.)
Of Charles' two cheeses, I actually liked the sharp cheddar—it tasted a little sharper and tarter when paired with the wine. The chipotle gouda, however, was almost completely overpowered by Cuveé 356.
I then dug out a wedge of Jasper Hill Harbison from my fridge—a soft, funky cheese perfect for spreading on crackers. It’s the kind of cheese that people will ask, “Is that a brie?” at a party. The wine brought out the extra funk in this one, which was great to me, but Charles jokingly compared the taste to old socks.
“Maybe my fondness for soft cheeses allows me to tolerate shoeys?” I wondered aloud.
The fairly bland water crackers I spread the Harbison on muted the funk just enough to be pure cheese and wine perfection.
Look, our Porsche Club of America region used to be considered a bit “wine and cheese,” and while that used to be a dig at our smaller showing at statewide track events, the wine-and-cheese part is an image I embrace wholeheartedly.
Also on hand was a dry sausage stick from H-E-B made of pork and beef, ready for snacking. This went exceptionally well with the wine, even if its peppery, smoky flavor bordered on a little much. If you’ve got a sausage stick that’s just a little milder, it would be perfect.
If we had this snack board to do over, though, we’d probably get a nice lox. This tastes like the kind of beverage that would go well with smoked salmon. (Let's face it, though: even things that don't go well with smoked salmon are a great excuse to eat more smoked salmon.)
With Blaze Doritos
Sometimes you don’t have a hand-picked array of mild crackers, cheeses and charcuterie. Sometimes you blew your entire fancy cheese budget on a new water pump because watercooling suuuuuuuucks. That’s okay! Doritos are always there for you, man.
Doritos’ Blaze flavor reminds me of Taco Bell’s Fire sauce, except in chip form. They’re mildly spicy corn chips as you’d expect, but just like Fire sauce, you can definitely taste the soy in these boys.
If you want to bring out the peppery flavor of the Blaze chips, pairing them with Cuveé 356 works far better than it should. The aftertaste of the chips combined with a mouthful of wine is downright pleasant.
With Carolina Reaper Puree
The Blaze chips proved that Cuveé 356 pairs nicely with spicy food, but how spicy? Luckily, I had a bottle of Carolina reaper puree to take this theory to its inevitable dairy-product-needing end.
It was good! The wine seemed to bring out the fruitier flavors in the pepper puree. A smarter person than I would have crowned a cheese-coated cracker with the puree to mute the heat and combine several tasty items at once, but I just used a spoon.
I, an avowed mayonnaise connoisseur, will stan McCormick’s Mayonesa until the bitter end. It’s made with lime juice, and is a bit thicker and creamier in consistency than frequent mayo favorite Duke’s. Thus, it is love, happiness and magic in a jar, and the ideal pre-dinner snack.
Clearly, I could eat this mayonnaise with a spoon, especially when I just tried a spoonful of Carolina Reaper puree like a big dummy.
Individually, mayonnaise and Porsche wine are delicious flavors. Together, though? No. These two flavors clash with each other in the worst way in your mouth.
[Watch the video of this taste test here.]
Given that this was a Porsche wine, I had to see how it paired with, uh, Porsche. I’m not talking about drinking and driving as that’s always a bad idea. Rather, I have some Porsche parts in my living room, including a set of 944 cookie cutter wheels I’ve been using as side tables.
It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a nose-full of old Dunlop Direzza Z2s, but they smelled oddly sweet somehow, like someone spilled a lone Pixy Stick into an old sweaty sock. Believe it or not, smelling old track tires paired oddly well with the just-sweet-enough wine. They're both just a little bit sweet.
[Watch the video of this taste test here.]
With An Assortment Of Fine German Delicacies
It was only fitting that I pair a German automaker’s wine with some of the finest foods the country has to offer. Luckily, Haribo makes various assortment packs of Germany’s most snackable candy: gummies.
Some of these assortment packs make more sense than others. I opened up the Phantasia mix to go with my Porsche wine (they’re both P!), which featured zoo animals as well as dinosaurs somehow, along with occasional other random shapes.
Sadly, a mouthful of Haribos will overpower the flavor of Cuveé 356 entirely. I tried taking a sip after eating a gummi dinosaur, however, and found that to be a slight improvement over combining the two in the same mouthful, albeit still too sweet.
Charles likened the combination of Porsche wine and Haribo aftertaste to trash can punch. He wasn’t wrong.
“Some central European foods are best enjoyed separately,” I remarked.
Not just no, but a hard no. It's just extra sour and bad.
There is no redeeming point to pairing these two otherwise delightful substances. Don't.
Out of a Shoe
You, a Porsche owner, wake up winning every day. You don’t need to wait for the end of a race to pound a celebratory shoey. You can do one for breakfast. It’s a free country! You can’t stop me!
Luckily, I had a relatively fresh racing shoe—with only one race weekend spent in it—ready to go for this feet-related feat. While that was a soaking wet weekend at Nola Motorsports Park, somehow it hadn’t soaked up the full swamp aroma down there. After all, this wasn’t the old shoe I filled full of beans and hot sauce in order to sneak newer, actually functional suspension components past the 24 Hours of Lemons judges without a closer look. This shoe was that older pair’s replacement and still smelled relatively new.
The nose of this shoe-full of wine was still mostly nomex and sweat You’re sniffing a large nomex-lined vessel that exists to absorb your foot stank here. Regardless, there’s a sweet hint of wine coming through to let you know it’s there, even if it does get lost in the miniature cavern of sweaty shoe liner.
Pinch your nose if you must, but this actually tasted much better than I expected. It mostly tasted like the wine, with only a little hint of foot in there. Shoot the boot with joy, fellow winners at life.
[Watch the video of this taste test here, and an outtake of me talking about proper shoey shoes here.]
My favorite out of all of these was probably the soft Harbison cheese, or perhaps the shoey out of principle. However, it's worth noting that even some serious-business sommeliers admit that recommended pairings can be total nonsense. Maybe you’re a trash can punch fan who got excited about those Haribos! If it tastes good together to you, eat it and drink it together.
Either way, it is a cool souvenir.
This is the kind of bizarre taste test I’m doing roughly every month or so as $10/month bonus posts for the parshletter. Subscribe here, if you want.
Shoot me a message if you’d like to send me bizarre beverages or foodstuffs to try, and I’ll send you the post regardless of whether you subscribed to that level or not. I would love to find out if Rich Energy tastes like the front the internet thought it was, for one. Suggestions are always welcome!