Monday, November 23, 2009


ZinfanGirl is a spoiled lil girl indeed! After a "fake" surprise birthday Thursday night to throw me off the trail, ZinfanHubby surprised me with the coolest birthday party I have ever had. ZinfanGirl's favorite candy is the local Jelly Belly brand jelly beans. ZinfanGirl's favorite drink is wine. Fave candy + fave wine =

Jelly Bean Wine Bar

Brilliant! I walked into a room to be greeted by 20 great ZinfanFriends and a whole lot of Jelly Bellies & wine.

ZinfanHubby sets up the "wine tasting" and the big surprise!

Blackberry (?) flavored Jelly Belly beans to pair with Central Coast Zinfandel

Can you believe there is a dirt flavored Jelly Belly?!

Lots of Zinfandels on hand, natch!

Super-duper, infinitely cool times eleventy billion. Props, ZinfanHubby! Everyone had a blast, wine novices & connoisseurs alike. Though I was not part of the plotting & set-up, I can deduce that this tasting takes quite awhile to set up (labelling the bean flavors, sorting them by "wine") and can cause a small mess (alcohol + small candies = mess). But it was a huge hit, and an awesome way to get newbies involved.

And if any ZinfanFriends out there would like to give it a try, please let me know. We have tons of leftover jelly beans (yet surprisingly, no leftover wine).

Jelly Bellies Up!

*Thanks to my lovely ZinfanFriend D for letting me nab her pics for this blog.


  1. GREAT idea! Just curious, did the sweets detract from the wine (or vice-versa)? The sugar would be the only thing that might cause some palates to get whacked out, otherwise I LOVE this idea!

  2. I didn't notice it too much. I always eat my Jelly Bellies one at a time, and the "menu" called for many flavors to be eaten at once which was a bit intense (like I could even fit 7+ beans in my mouth at once!).
    But it was really cool to eat one flavor then sip the wine to really "taste" said flavor-- the wine newbies loved finally being able to differentiate flavors in wine. I noticed some JB flavors "popped" more after a taste of wine. I highly suggest this idea, it is really frickin' cool!!!

  3. Yes, the sugar can detract. The WineX site recommends people sample the wine first, then eat the beans to get the flavor profile. Afterwards, you use individual bean flavors to help draw out nuances of each wine.

    Knowing that there would be some degredation in the perceived wine quality, we didn't use too expensive of wine for this, keeping everything in the low mid-range.

    I think the experience is more about prepping people's taste buds for the really good stuff on a different occassion. It does help wine newbies a lot to understand the subtleties and not just think "this tastes like wine."

  4. ^ dat's my ZinfanHubby! :D Thanks again for this awesome idea & even awesomer party!

  5. That sounds .... ummm .... interesting :). Definitely a unique wine tasting! I think I'd stay away from the dirt flavored ones, though.

  6. Jainomo: the dirt is supposed to be used very sparingly (less than a 1/4 a bean). It's purpose is to shift the flavor profile to represent a more French approach to a given blend.

    On it's own, blech. And no one needs to be reminded of what that flavor is. But within the whole profile, it really helps clarify the difference between a California claret and a Bordeaux blend.

  7. That makes sense, Kundabuffer, but I still shudder at the idea of a dirt flavored jelly bean. Kinda reminds me of those anything flavored candies from Harry Potter :P.

  8. Absolutely brilliant. Just awesome. I recently wrote about aroma exercises, but this is way more fun. Thanks for posting.

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