The first time I heard about the use of Jelly Bellies to educate wine lovers was during a discussion with Kristi Snyder, one of my favorite and very talented sommeliers, who happens to work at Lone Eagle Grille, Hyatt Regency, Incline Village. Kristi works with groups of executives and others who are at convocations at the Hyatt to provide some relief in the heavy-duty education process. Her wine tasting classes make liberal use of Jelly Bellies!
The basics of a Jelly Belly wine exercise is that you taste the individual Jelly Belly beans first, in order to understand the different flavors associated with certain wine varietals. Then, if you put all of the Jelly Belly flavors in your mouth at the same time, and chew them together, you can come close to the taste experience of the wine varietal itself.
Here are some classic combinations of Jelly Belly beans that emulate the basics of certain wine varietals. Go to a store that has a good range of Jelly Belly beans, and put the “glass of wine” together yourself. Or drive to the factory in Fairfield for a fun family day. Kids can go on the tour, you can hand-pick the beans!
Pinot Grigio: Lemon Lime, Lemon Drop, Pink Grapefruit, Tangerine, Peach, Juicy Pear
Riesling: Peach, Juicy Pear, Green Apple, Cantaloupe, Pink Grapefruit, Tangerine
Cabernet Sauvignon: Blackberry (2), Very Cherry, Raspberry, Plum, Dr. Pepper
Malbec: Blueberry, Plum, Raspberry (2), Very Cherry, French Vanilla
Chardonnay: Pineapple, Mango, Juicy Pear, Pink Grapefruit, Peach, French Vanilla, Chocolate
Merlot: French Vanilla, Toasted Marshmallow, Chocolate, Very Cherry, Plum, Raspberry, Strawberry, Dr. Pepper
Sauvignon Blanc: Lemon Lime, Pink Grapefruit, Tangerine, Mango, Peach, Juicy Pear
Pinot Noir: Very Cherry (2), Raspberry, Strawberry, Plum, Pink Grapefruit, Cappuccino
Zinfandel (red): French Vanilla, Chocolate, Very Cherry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Dr. Pepper, Blackberry, Plum
Don’t want to hand pick the Jelly Belly beans, but thinking of doing a Jelly Belly wine tasting at home with friends? Check out http://www.jellybeanwinebar.com . There are more than 40 varietal kits offered there!