When it comes to hot dog pairings, you have to consider both the hot dog itself and the toppings. For decades, Guy Gabriele operated Manhattan Beach, California French fixture Cafe Pierre, but late last year he partnered with local star chef Michael Fiorelli to flip the space into Love & Salt, a laid back eatery dedicated to seasonal and local Italian-focued plates. In addition to serving as an owner of the place, Gabriele also heads up the restaurant's wine and below he talks through pairing grape juice with a summertime staple: the hot dog.
Q: What is the best wine to drink with hot dogs? Red, white, rosé? What works best?
Gabriele: From barbecues to baseball games, the hot dog is undoubtedly the quintessential food of summertime, something that is particularly true in Los Angeles. When I'm headed to Chavez Racine for a Dodger Game, it's a given that my experience will involve a Dodger Dog and the requisite beverage to go with it.
When it comes to hot dog pairings, you have to consider both the hot dog itself and the toppings. For example, with the mortadella hot dog we serve at Love & Salt, you need a wine that will cut through the richness of the mortadella, but also stand up to the relish that's served on top. I gravitate toward white wines like the 2012 Pichler-Krutzler Grüner Veltliner ($24) from Austria, which has great acidity in the finish to work with both those elements in the hot dog. Its citrus notes pair well with relish or sauerkraut and its vegetal notes bring something extra to the flavors of the dog itself.
When it comes to hot dog pairings, you have to consider both the hot dog itself and the toppings.
Since we can't all be white wine lovers, it's important to know that red wine can go great with a hot dog, too. Take Pinot Noir for example— those smooth tannins and cherry flavors will fit right in with a savory hot dog with a little ketchup and mustard. If I was going with a red, I'd pick something on the lighter side that has balanced tannins and berry-like fruit notes like the Maison L'Envoyé Two Messengers Pinot Noir ($23) from the Willamette Valley.
Also, A Tribute to Grace's 2012 Grenache ($23) from Santa Barbara. Its brightness cuts through the richness of a hot dog, but it's still well-balanced and structured, and also offers deep cherry notes like the Messengers Pinot Noir.