First things first. I really have to give the staff at Penns Woods some props for all of the hard work & creativity that they put into these events. It sounds like a lot of fun, but they are exhausted. And it’s really paying off for them. Today’s pairing was a bit more challenging, but they pulled it off. I didn’t doubt them for a minute.
The equally ambitious guys over at West Chester based Righteous Felon Jerky Cartel offer natural seasoned jerky made with locally raised beef. They broke onto the scene in 2012 with three styles of this awesome stuff. For today’s pairing, RF is test driving two new flavors.
Now if you’re thinking ‘Beef jerky & wine?’ I’m way ahead of you. It took considerable experimentation from Penns Woods and RF, but as you’ll see this turned out to be a successful, well planned endeavor.
Hungry yet? Enough small talk, let’s get to it.
Penns Woods’s crisp, citrusy Traminette is one of their top sellers. I got some for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Righteous Felon provided a toned down version of their hot & spicy Habenero Escobar to go with this straw colored, easy drinking wine. The Traminette cooled down the jerky and the combined finish was pleasant and lasted forever. We finished this off with some creamy, local cheese to help put out the fire.
2. Sauvignon Blanc 2011 & Bangkok Brown Fave pick of the day!
This is the combo that really sold me today. The not yet released Bangkok Brown is a Thai flavored gem, with soy sauce and lemongrass infused in the seasoning. This was accompanied by the dry Sauvignon Blanc, a primo choice pairing with asian cuisine. Subtle acidity and citrus flavors bring out the flavors in the beef like a mini Thai dinner.
The O.G. is Righteous Felon’s original recipe with classic hickory flavors. Penns Woods put the powerful Merlot Reserve up against this one. The hickory brings out the smokiness in the wine. The Merlot has a full bodied, dark fruit character but doesn’t overpower the beef. The flavors in the wine and the jerky fused together and lingered together nicely with a pleasant finish.
4. Ameritage 2004 & Che Potle Guevara
This jerky is well named. As the spicy restaurant conglomerate Chipotle is one of my choice lunch spots, I have to say that the Che Potle Guevara is very characteristic of that. Cumin & chili powder give the dried beef a very pleasant southwestern character. Penns Woods classic Bordeaux style Ameritage is an awesome, fruit forward wine with hints of tobacco & chocolate. A very nice combination.
Can you say C H O C O L A T E ? The Cocoa & Hazlenut jerky is not yet for sale, but the skinny is that it may be released in time for Valentine’s Day. Coincidence? You decide. Anyway, this is really a treat. The sweetness of the chocolate & savory hazlenut flavors really combine well into this very unique delicacy. Now if you throw in the well documented dessert indulgence, Lacrima Dolce … well, let’s just call it decadent. This Merlot based cherry chocolate wine balanced the similarly flavored jerky very nicely. This was a close second to the Thai experience for me.
The tasting was wrapped up with a glass of Penns Woods seasonal Mulled Wine, available now until February.
Thanks to the efforts of Carley, Andrea, Cliff and the hard working staff at Penns Woods for yet another great experience. And hats off to Brendan, Geoff and Kyle of Righteous Felon Jerky Cartel for your innovative, much needed detour from the average, mass produced truck stop jerky that until recently, was all that was available. Cheers from a self proclaimed meat lover.
This event, along with Penn State’s 4 OT classic victory over Michigan today makes me prouder than ever to be from Pennsylvania. (I had to get that in there. WE ARE!)