Wine With Cheetos – The Eponymous Pairing

Let’s get right down to it.

The name of the site is “Wine With Cheetos” – how can we NOT?

So with that in mind, I recruited my girlfriend Jess to embark with me upon an avant-garde wine tasting and pairing adventure. That’s right. THIS is the wine/cheetos pairing post no one asked for you didn’t know you needed!

The wines:
2015 Rascal Pinot Noir
2014 Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon
2015 Charles & Charles Rosé

The Cheetos:
Crunchy Cheetos
Flaming Hot Cheetos
Cheetos Puffs

We paired each variety Cheeto with each wine, in search of that high/low mix of sophisticated snacking at sensible price points. No wine selected was over $13 and all are easily found in your local wine shop. Let’s begin!

FullSizeRender (2)

Because we’re kinda pros at this, we began with the classic sniff test. No, not with the wine, with the Cheetos! DUH!

Cheetos Puffs:
WD: “I’ve never had these before. When I think of puffy Cheetos, I think of those bargain store cheeseballs you buy in big tubs, that smell like feet and old socks when you open them. These smell ok.”
Jess: “I get pure mac-n-cheese powder packet.”

Flaming Hot:
WD: “Tangy! Quite the nose on these. I don’t really smell cheese at all.”
Jess: “Chinese food hot sauce packet. Maybe even a touch of sweet n’ sour sauce?”
WD: “YES! Nailed it.”

Crunchy Cheetos:
WD: “Cheese and yeasty dough. Deelish.”
Jess: “Yeah, this smells like a Cheeto. Classic.”

And now…let the pairing commence!

  • 2015 Rascal Pinot Noir – an Oregon red with slight minerality and distinct northwest terroir. (Yep. I used it in a sentence. And you can too! Refer to last week’s post here for a context refresher!)
    Paired with: Cheetos Puffs
    The puffs can’t take any liquid without immediately dissolving into mush; it’s hard to get any flavor from them at all as the texture is all we get: gritty wine slop. These are definitely the cotton candy of Cheetos. We decide to eat a puff first, then drink. This flavorful Pinot washed away any cheese taste, completely overwhelming the feeble puff. Not a match.
    Paired with: Flaming Hot Cheetos
    : “I’ve never had these Cheetos. The young people all love them though…My first bite of just the Cheeto is like a spicy lime thing happening.”
    Jess: “These are gross solo. But with they make this wine even better! I taste less mineral and more sweetness!”
    WD: ” Agreed. I get currants now from the wine that I didn’t before. I like these together.” This is a match!
    Paired with: Crunchy Cheetos
    WD: “Oh, I like this one. When eaten with the wine, I’m getting hints of strong Brie and Camembert-in-summer notes. A pungent cheese.”
    Jess: “Too pungent for me. Straight Limburger. No bueno.”
    Mixed results – a match for aromatic cheese lovers.
  • 2014 Bogle Cabernet Sauvignon – a California red that’s versatile and fruity.
    Paired with: Cheetos Puffs
    We both agreed that the cheese flavor made the initial burst of this jammy wine sweeter. But the aftertaste was all salt coating and wine; preservative-laden cheese powder will NOT be defeated! Neutral to negative on this match.
    Paired with: Flaming Hot Cheetos
    Again, we were in agreement: the wine enhanced the spice and left a peppery pop on our tongues after we swallowed. The sweetness of the wine diminished and created a vinegar based tangy taste, somewhat reminiscent of a pulled pork profile.
    Jess: “I almost get jerk seasoning here – woodsy and earthy together.”
    This is a match!
    Paired with: Crunchy Cheetos
    A bite and a sip and we had a buttery nacho crunch thing happening in our mouths.
    WD: “That doughy yeast smell I got from the Cheetos alone is bigger in the aftertaste for this pairing. It’s kinda like eating the burnt crunchy edges of pizza crust. I like it!”
    Jess: “I just keep tasting a mouthful of butter. Not a match for me.”
    Mixed results – only a match for lovers of burnt pizza edges and butter. (You know who you are…) 
  • 2015 Charles & Charles Rosé – Note: It turns out that Jess hates rosé to begin with. ROSÉ HATER ALERT! Jess: “The Frosé looks tasty, but this?” Her summer is hereby cancelled. She’s fired.
    Paired with: Cheetos Puffs
    I’m over these fragile, circus peanut puffs. We’ve been at this about 30 minutes and already these are going stale and humidity soft.
    Jess: “The cheese on these makes the rosé tolerable.” ::SHADE::
    WD: “I get cheeseburger cheese – oil and food coloring melted to its full glory. Oddly delicious and familiar. This pairing works for me!”
    Jess hates the pairing. Jess hates rosé. JESS HATES SUMMER, Y’ALL! Mixed results.
    Paired with: Flaming Hot Cheetos
    , setting her Cheetos remainder down: “This tastes like when you vomit a little in your mouth. I’m not finishing this.  Put this in the shame box.”
    ::Jess picks up the soapstone and draws a shame box on my fancy slate platter::FullSizeRender (3) WD: “Yeah, I definitely get a heavy vinegar taste here, and that extra tang is NOT tasty. Put my Cheeto in the shame box too.” Vomit is not a good flavor profile. FAIL. Not a match.
    Paired with: Crunchy Cheetos
    We like this pairing from the very first bite.
    Jess: “This one’s not bad! And I don’t even like rosé!” (See also: Jess hates summer.)
    BUT! Our resident hater is liking this match, and takes a second Cheeto. Look out, Frito Lay, she’s even drinking her rosé!
    WD: “I like this one! An unexpected match for me.” This is a match!

Overall, our faves were the Rascal Pinot Noir with Flaming Hot Cheetos, followed by Charles & Charles Rosé with Crunchy Cheetos. The worst? Rosé and Flaming Hots – throat vomit city. Don’t do it.

As for Cheetos Puffs, they were every bit the disappointment I expected them to be. By the end of the tasting, they’re totally soft and chewy.

Jess: “They taste like the midwest in the 1980’s.” (Listen, Missouri, I don’t know what you did to Jess, but she even gave rosé a chance. It’s not looking good for you.)



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