With the rolling restriction tightening that recent COVID surges have brought, I’m starting to think about hunkering down again for the winter as we did back in March. One tiny sliver of silver lining is that our food sources have had a bit of a summer breather to innovate for the dark days ahead. One such innovator is (believe it or not) Taco Bell, which, given my demographic (Canadian) and location (rural), I literally haven’t thought about in years.
But now I am intrigued with the Tex-Mex-esque chain, thanks to their brilliant recent marketing: developing and serving a wine at select Ontario locations paired specifically with their new Toasted Cheesy Chalupa. The punnily-named Jalapeño Noir was blended by Queenston Mile Vineyard near Niagara-on-the-Lake, and has “notes of wild strawberry, cherry and beetroot,” as well as “spice” and “leather.” The marriage of low- and high-brow is magnificently absurd — and now completely sold out in the two trial Taco Bell locations. From an op-ed in the Toronto Star (whose author managed to score the special):
“‘The Toasted Cheesy Chalupa promotion is exclusive to Canada, and so we wanted to partner with a local Canadian winery too,’ says Kat Garcia, director of brand marketing. ‘With Taco Bell unveiling its fanciest menu item yet, we wanted to celebrate with something equally fancy.’
Some will probably ask if it’s too fancy. I don’t think so. Somms love doing cheeky pairings with popcorn (sparkling), chicken nuggets (rosé) and fish filets (sauvignon blanc). There’s even a book coming out this fall called Big Macs and Burgundy: Wine Pairings for the Real World by sommelier and wine writer Vanessa Price, who even goes so far as to find a pairing for Cheetos (Sancerre).”
Unfortunately for me (or actually… maybe fortunately?) the Taco Bell locations where this special is on back-order are nowhere near me. Even the winery itself is out of the whole bottles of Jalapeño Noir they were offering! I’m just going to have to wait until supply meets demand, and the perfect storm of pandemic and hygge this winter. By then, ordering out the Bell and vino will seem like a very good idea indeed.