Wine Wednesday

Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz 2014

“This wine rains kisses in your mouth.” –Insatiable By Gael Greene

The first Wednesday of every month is Wine Wednesday! Spectacular wines under $10.00. Yep. Under $10.00. Sometimes wine is less expensive where I am, but most of the time it’s more expensive. Hopefully that means that I will pick wines that are well below the $10.00 limit for most of you.

I will post wines that I particularly like. I am no specialist by any means, but I do love wine. I know the basics of the different varietals, what regions generally produce, how wines are made, but this space is all about preference. We all like what we like, and you might like what I like too. I will post food pairings and why those pairings are suitable for the specific wine.

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Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz

Price: $8.99

Variety: Shiraz

Previous Awards or Ratings: N/A

I am feeling a little bittersweet about wine this week. Right after I took the pictures for this post, I happened to drop a bottle of wine on my foot. I can finally walk normally, but I have a sinking feeling that my big toenail is about to fall off. Tragic right? At least I got all the wine out of my carpet and tile grout.

But who am I kidding? I can never stay mad at you wine! Especially after this pairing. It’s incredible, believe me.

So I picked a sweet red this week because I figured that many of you are looking for something to enjoy easily this summer chilled, and perhaps a great base for sangria. Jam Jar has become extremely popular with the young wine drinkers. In fact it’s “on fleek”. If you aren’t familiar with that term, don’t worry. I’m sure it will disappear from the vernacular shortly. Anyway, Jam Jar is a semisweet to sweet wine brand that creates wines that drink easily and bring to mind a flirty summer dinner party. Perfect right?

Maybe not so perfect…just kidding! I was curious about Jam Jar because they have done an excellent job marketing and designing their brand to appeal to a younger audience, but I have come to resent sweet wines. Unless it was created as a late harvest or eiswein, I can just picture a lazy enologist pouring sugar into a wine that didn’t make the cut for a dry wine. And that’s just cheating. I always subconsciously sneer in my head at those bottles. But as I picked up Jam Jar, I was hoping for something better and gave it a chance. And guess what? It’s lovely.

Seriously, if you are a wine lover, give a sweet red a chance. It’s an easy drinking wine, and it’s got some nice tasting notes. It tastes a lot like raspberry with some blackberry and chocolate, and it’s sweet at the end. And you know what’s so great about a sweet red? They are incredibly exciting to pair with foods. A pairing is supposed to change the profile of a wine so that you can discover new flavors in the same glass of wine. A sweet wine has a lot of interesting notes below the original façade it gives you that is just begging to be discovered. I told you it was flirty right?

I paired this red with a chocolate chip cookie made with dark chocolate, pistachios, and pepper. The cookie is just sweet enough to complement the wine, and they’re giant so they encourage excess consumption. Awesome. But better yet, the dark chocolate brings more of that chocolate out in the wine while the pepper brings out spice and heat and a little bitterness. The pistachios add yet another layer by contributing a different kind of sweetness than the jammy sweetness native in the wine. In other words this was an extremely fun pairing to create. I really encourage you to try it! Honestly, trying to bring out the nuances in any sweet wine, particularly reds, will change the way you think about pairings.

Other great ideas from Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz include a couple of cheeses. One mild cheese like Havarti would be an awesome dessert cheese course, and a sharp cheese like a cheddar or asiago would wake the wine up a bit more and add some bite.

I hope you enjoy today’s Wine Wednesday! And be careful not to drop it on your foot.

PS: Yes that is the Eiffel tower decal stuck onto my fridge in all of these pictures. This pairing takes me to my happy place…which is Paris. So it made sense to me.

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Giant Pistachio, Pepper, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Nestle

2 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 cup butter, softened

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

½ cup dark chocolate chips

¼ cup pistachios (I used dark chocolate covered pistachios, and they were divine)

1/8-1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 375⁰F. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, or about 3-5 minutes.

2. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat for another couple of minutes. The mixture should be slightly puffy.

3. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter mixture by the ½ cup. Scrape the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.

4. Add 1/8 teaspoon black pepper and mix to combine. Taste, and determine if you can taste it. If not, add another 1/8 teaspoon to have a total of ¼ teaspoon black pepper in the dough. I encourage you to add ¼ teaspoon because it’s harder to perceive once baked.

5. Add the pistachios and dark chocolate chips and mix in by hand. Drop by ¼ cup onto a parchment-covered sheet pan at least 5 inches apart. They will spread.

6. Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for about 10-14 minutes, or until the edges are just slightly browned. Eat while warm with a matching large glass of wine.



  1. Leeliiee
    June 3

    this looks fabulous! :) Thanks for sharing 😀 Hope your toesies feels better soon xoxo

    • Kelsey
      June 3

      Thanks Lily! Only time will tell if my toenail survives :/

  2. This is such a fun series! I’m not a fan of red wines, but I could see myself learning to like them and I think sweet reds would be my gateway into them. My first foray into sweet wines was after meeting my husband, because he grew up in Finger Lakes wine country and that area is known for sweet wines. I actually LOVE the sweet wines from the winery where we got married (where we have close ties to the family), but a lot of others seem too sickly sweet to me. I like the ones from Lakewood (where we got married) because they tend to have a more complex sweet-tart flavor profile that I love. When we meet up I’ll have to have you try some and see what you think. :-)

    • Kelsey
      June 3

      Yes I am always up for tasting wines Sara! 😉 The sweet ones do get a little cloying if you have more than a glass, especially if you like drier wines (like me!). Thanks for the comment!

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