wine bar meets candy bar: jelly bean wine-tasting
If you find wine-tasting snobby and pretentious, the jelly bean wine bar is the wine bar for you: Just pop a handful of hand-picked jelly beans in your mouth and masticate to experience the flavors typically found in various varietals. Turns out the staff at Wine X magazine have analyzed the flavor components in a variety of vinos and matched them with corresponding jelly bean flavors, then put together kits containing the candy equivalents of syrah, say, or chardonnay.
If you chew a combination of peach, pear, apricot, apple, cantaloupe, grapefruit and tangerine beans, for example, it tastes (mmm!) roughly like riesling. The combos occasionally get quirky — the beans repping pinot noir, for example, include not just pepper flavor but also dirt flavor to capture that je ne sais quois earthiness of French burgundies. (And oui, the beans really do taste like pepper and dirt.)
You can even order wine flavors in shooter form — the candy comes in cute little plastic tubes — or in variety packs for reds or whites. In addition to the beans, you'll get signs you can download explaining the proper procedure (basically, put the beans in a cup, shoot them into your mouth, and chew sloooowly), the "recipes" of bean combinations and step-by-step setup instructions, starting at $17 per varietal.
It's an educational experience; for starters, you learn which flavors are characteristic of each type of wine as you collect the beans that together mimic its taste in your cup. All right, so the beans are a little too sweet to perfectly match the wines, but as it says right on the jelly bean wine bar directions, "remember, this is a fun exercise, so don't get too serious!" A good life lesson to consider as you toss back a swig of sauvignon blanc and chase it with a mouthful of complementary flavored candy, non?