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Guide: How to pair wine with Girl Scout cookies

Friday - 2/21/2014, 2:47pm  ET

GirlScoutCookies.jpg
Girl Scout cookie season is finally here. And there's a very sophisticated way to indulge in the sweet treats. (Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Take the taste of Girl Scout cookies to a whole new level

WTOP's Rachel Nania reports

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Forget milk and cookies, there's a new pairing option

WTOP's Rachel Nania reports

Download

WASHINGTON - Brightly colored boxes taped to delivery forms line the floors of staff break rooms, the "I'll just have two" theory is being put to the test and New Year's diets are being destroyed everywhere -- one cookie sleeve at a time.

Yes, Girl Scout cookies have finally arrived. And if you're looking for a new way to indulge in the classic treat, it's time to think outside the (cookie) box and look toward the bottle.

Eric Nagel, founder and partner of the Wine Club Group, says pairing wine with Girl Scout cookies is a great way to experiment with the different ways wine tastes when paired with different foods.

"If you're just drinking wine, you're probably getting less than 50 percent of the experience than you could if you were pairing it with different foods," says Nagel, who founded the wine website with two of his friends two years ago.

"It's actually kind of incredible how a wine, when you taste it, and then try a different food, and taste that wine again, how different it can be."

Nagel says his general rule, when it comes to pairing wine with Girl Scout cookies, is to start with the lighter wines, and then move to the darker varieties. He says the perfect cookie to begin a tasting, is the Trefoil, which is a shortbread cookie.

"I'd say start with a sparkling wine and Trefoils," Nagel says.

WTOP Syndicated Wine Columnist Scott Greenberg agrees.

Girl Scout cookies pair perfectly with a variety of wines. WTOP's Scott Greenberg offers his top picks. (Thinkstock)

"I like the buttery taste in shortbread, so I think you kind of need something that can cut through that, and there's nothing that cuts through that like the bubbles in Champagne," Greenberg says.

"Plus, you get those really crisp, apple, lemon-zesty flavors and you kind of get these brioche notes in Champagne that would really compliment shortbread."

When it comes to the peanut butter and chocolate cookie, Tagalongs, Greenberg says to try a sweeter wine, such as a dry tawny port or petite syrah.

"Ports generally have these soft, caramel flavors, and that would be great to pair with the richness of the peanut butter. And that chocolatey complexity would also be a real good visceral match because tawny ports generally have this underlying richness to them," Greenberg says.

Nagel and Greenberg also agree when it comes to pairing a wine with the top- selling Girl Scout cookie: the Thin Mint. Their advice? Choose a shiraz or a syrah.

"I can't tell you how many times I've actually described flavors in wine as a Thin Mint cookie," says Greenberg, adding that shiraz and syrah wines often give a pop of mint flavor.

"I really like the classic combination of chocolate and mint, and I think you need a wine that's going to be able to stand up to that," he says.

Chocolate, caramel, coconut and cookie: Is it possible to bring out any more flavors than those already present in a Samoa?

Greenberg opts for a dessert wine when it comes to savoring the Samoa -- particularly one from the Barsac or Sauternes region of Bordeaux, France.

"They have this real strong acidity that can cut through that rich coconut and caramel complexity. But then they have these concentrated flavors of nut and apricot and even some caramel flavors in the older ones," Greenberg says. "I just like the idea of Sauternes and Samoas."

Scott Greenberg's Top Pairing Picks

Thin Mints

These wafer-thin, mint-centric cookies are covered in rich chocolate. Such a classic combo of flavors needs to be paired with a wine that will complement the chocolate notes and play well with the minty characteristic.

My pick is a dark, brooding Australian Shiraz or a Napa Valley Syrah. Try the 2010 John Duval Entity Shiraz from Australia ($40) or the 2009 Arns Syrah "Melanson Vineyard" from Napa Valley, California ($40).

Samoas

This is reminiscent of a coconut macaroon with a layer of chocolate and caramel. My bet would be a dessert wine from either the Barsac or Sauternes regions of Bordeaux, France, where the abundant acidity can cut through the rich coconut and caramel flavors. And the concentrated nut/apricot/caramel flavors will pair beautifully with the flavors of the cookie. Try the 2007 Chateau Coutet from Barsac ($35) or the 2009 Chateau Rieussec from Sauternes ($40).

Tagalongs

Creamy peanut butter and chocolate-coated cookies may seem like a tough cookie to pair with wine, but I have a feeling that a red wine that has its own sweet tooth might do the trick -- something like a tawny port or a petite syrah.

The soft caramel flavor of the NV Taylor Fladgate 10-year-old Tawny ($30) would be a great bet to pair with the richness of a Tagalong. And the rich chocolatey complexity would also be a great visceral match. The deep, dark chocolate notes found in the 2009 Priest Ranch Petite Sirah ($40) from Napa Valley would also be a fun choice.

Trefoils

Trefoils are delightful shortbread-esque cookies that have a rich, buttery taste, and my definite "go-to" for these biscuits is Champagne!

The flavors of crisp apple, lemon zest, grated ginger and a hint of roasted almonds found in the Non-vintage Moet Chandon Imperial ($45) from Champagne, France would be perfect.

Listen to more of Scott Greenberg's wine recommendations on wtop.com.

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