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The Right Wine
by Melvin Lee

Being in college is actually pretty difficult. No, not the work, that’s the easy part. Maybe my problem is unique to me, but regardless I have to get this off of my chest.

Last summer I worked as a waiter at a hoity toity restaurant in Maryland. As part of our training we had to familiarize ourselves with the wine menu and learn what pairs well with the restaurant’s dishes. At first, it was a pain in the neck, but I soon enjoyed it. I tried learning more about wine and trying to find meals that pair. This brings me to the college problem. All I eat is junk. I am on a relatively strict ramen, McDonalds, and sub shop diet. Sometimes I cheat and have ice cream.

Here at school, one of my favorite dishes comes from Are U Hungry, a relatively new, but popular sub shop near the Penn State campus. They offer a sub called the “Fat Bitch” which features an 8” sub roll stuffed with cheese steak, chicken fingers, 2 mozzarella sticks, fries, ketchup, and mayonnaise. It is delicious, but what wine pairs with such a monstrosity? There are so many confusing ingredients.

In the restaurant biz I learned that most red wines pair well with steak, I happen to enjoy Shiraz. I also learned that Sauvignon Blanc, a white wine, goes well with fried chicken so you can see where my problems start to begin. I knew that I had to seek help from the outside world.

I decided to go to a wine store, hoping someone who worked there could help. After the initial laughing subsided, I finally got a little advice. The man working there said to try a wine made from the Muscat grape variety. At first, I was a little uneasy about the suggestion. My inexperienced mind felt a red wine would be more suitable. Plus, Muscat is usually used in dessert wines. I remembered learning that Moscato D’Asti, a sparkling white wine, does pair well with mozzarella. After my initial shock, I listened to the worker and bought a 2006 Moscato D’Asti from Rashi. It was relatively cheap, and it was made in Italy so I figured I could not go wrong.

I brought the bottle with me to my apartment at Penn State and called Are U Hungry, for a Fat B delivery. It was finally the moment of truth. Had I indeed found a wine to wash down this sandwich of grease? Unfortunately, I did not. The wine was delicious, and something I will buy again, but it was just too sweet for such a hearty sub. As I continued to enjoy my meal I began to realize that maybe some dishes are just meant to be paired with boxed wine.