Matching the right wine with the right candidates

Presidential pairings.

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With the Republican National Convention heading to the Tampa Bay area in August, I’ve been wondering what wines would pair well with the esteemed GOP candidates. What do their personalities and actions say about the type of wine they like to swirl, sniff and sip? So I set out to give each of the top-tier candidates his own wine pairing.

Newt Gingrich

I always say, “There's a wine for everyone.” And for Newt it’s the Folie à Deux Ménage à Trois white. This is a blend of Chardonnay, Muscat de Alexandria and Chenin Blanc. It had been a long time since I'd tried a Ménage à Trois — I am married, after all — so I went to the wine’s website to refresh my memory. As per the site: The varietals are individually harvested and fermented to preserve freshness and character and retain the juicy fruit aromas. The Chardonnay is rich and firm. The Muscat is wild and exotic. The Chenin is soft and supportive. Just like Calista, Marianne and Jackie?

Mitt Romney

Thought I wouldn’t be able to come up with a pairing for the abstemious Willard, didn't you? Well, I'm going to prove you wrong. Old “Plug the Jug” Romney (no relation to tee-totaling First Lady Lucy Hayes, aka Lemonade Lucy) can enjoy a glass of Verjus from Long Island’s own Wölffer Estate Vineyards. It’s technically not wine because it is made from unripe grapes and there is no fermentation; however, it is made from a blend of vitis vinifera (wine grapes) such as Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. At $10 a bottle, Mr. Romney can serve this at White House functions and showcase the wonders of America’s ability to make juice without increasing either our deficit or our alcohol intake.

Ron Paul

Do you think his family and friends call him Ronnie? Ronnie wants to restore America. One of the best ways I know to restore America is to highlight the positives, like wines from Liberty Vineyards & Winery located in Lake Erie wine country. This area has been a backbone of U.S. commerce since 1825 when the canal was completed. Liberty Vineyards offers us a variety of wines including the Traminette, which is a hybrid with origins in New York State. Like most Americans, the grape does have an immigrant forefather but otherwise it’s as apple pie as you can get. And as luck would have it, the wine has sort of an apple pie flavor, with spicy nutmeg and a tinge of cinnamon.

Rick Santorum

Well, wouldn’t you know it? Santorum means “holy” in Latin. Personally, I like sex-advice columnist Dan Savage’s definition, but I'll go with the Latin for the sake of the senator's righteous moral fortitude and my wine recommendation: Castello Monsanto Vin Santo La Chimera. The wine is a blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia, two indigenous Italian white varietals. Vin Santo is a lovely dessert wine and pairs with a variety of foods such as bleu-veined cheeses, dark chocolate, pecan pie, Panforte and seared foie gras. This wine pairing makes especially good sense, I think: the holy one (Santorum) drinking holy wine (vin santo) made at a saintly castle (Castello Monsanto) that is named for a wild illusion (la chimera) — kind of like his run for president.

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