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Wine Challenge: What to drink with a Philly cheesesteak?



A Philly cheesesteak from Pat's, one of Philadelphia's famous purveyors of the sandwich.
A Philly cheesesteak from Pat's, one of Philadelphia's famous purveyors of the sandwich.

It's a simple combination of, canonically, bread, sliced steak, sometimes onions and always Cheez Whiz. It is not a miracle of healthy eating. But it is the signature sandwich of the City of Brotherly love.

It's the Philly cheesesteak. And thanks to a colleague, it's the first in what will become an ongoing DeWine Report feature: Wine Challenge!

Soooo.... What wine do you drink with a Philly Cheesesteak? I'll admit that I had to think on this one a bit. You have the beefy, the sweet (from the onions) and the tangy (from the Whiz). A rich red wine, say a California Cabernet Sauvignon, would be all wrong. A lighter red might seem to, well...refined for this inimitable street food. 

But wait! What if a somewhat lowbrow sandwich was paired with a highbrow beverage? Eureka! 

Champagne is your pairing. OK, I'm taking the easy way out — Champagne goes with everything. But in this case, I think the combination could be supremely delicious. I wouldn't recommend a truly grand Champers — Salon or Cristal — but you could certainly give Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label a whirl. At $40, it's affordable and it's everywhere.

And it would certainly turn a few heads if you popped corks and broke out the Champage flutes as you unwrapped your wonderfully greasy cheesesteak.

I promise that for future Wine Challenges, it won't be all "Champagne, Champagne, Champagne" when the going gets tough. In this case, I think it's the right call. The bubbles and the freshness of the wine, with perhaps a hint of sweetness, provide just the right symphony of harmony and counterpoint that the cheesesteak demands — an excellent foil for the gooey cheese, juicy steak, and crunchy bread. 

So bring it on! What's your Wine Challenge for DeWine Report?