I had a quandary. I wanted to feature the bagels created by San Miguel’s El Brillo and the wines distributed by Hédoné Experience SMA. And I wanted to do it at the same meal.

Breakfast? Nah! Even I don’t drink wine at breakfast.

Lunch? Bagels at lunch? Of course. Wine at lunch? Well, sometimes. Out went the invite and, a few days later, lunch was served.

Don Day’s Wife helped me (OK, I helped her) design four courses, all of them with bagels as a base.

I emailed El Brillo, and asked them to match up four different bagels to each of the planned toppings.

I emailed Rafael Arciniega Franco of Hédoné Experience and asked him to match the bagels up with four different wines.

Bagel number one was the classic. The obvious. The lox with a schmear bagel. More precisely in our case, Kraft Philadelphia cheese puréed with a little red onion, then topped with thinly-sliced English cucumber, capers and locally cold-smoked Canadian coho salmon (thanks to Yannis Dettingmeier). Onion and poppy seeds was El Brillo’s choice of matching bagel.

Rafael Arciniega’s choice for wine number one was an Italian, a Pinot Bianco from near Venice.

The grape, more popularly known as Pinot Gris in France makes a nice, affordable ($131) alternative to Pinot Grigio.

The Boido Pinot Bianco had aromas of apple and grapefruit and a hint of toast. Rafael, also serving as our sommelier for the day, liked “the mineral and floral notes”. Served very cold, the white went very well with a sunny, San Miguel day. And the smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Bagel number two had flax and pumpkin seeds and was topped with Don Day’s Wife’s homemade chicken liver pâté and a store-bought fruit compote from France (blackcurrants are impossible to source in Mexico).

Rafael’s recommended wine this time was a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, the country that probably offers the best value for money anywhere with the grape.

William Cole’s Vineyard Selection ($175) had a nose that suggested apples and grapefruit. On the tongue, there were grassy and green bell pepper notes. Rafael used the words “medium acidity and citric notes”; I used the word “crispy” to describe the freshness.

For the third course we had Don Day’s Wife’s take on the BLT. El Brillo’s bagel was an onion, garlic, poppy and white sesame seed and this time we toasted it. On top was a smear that included avocado, mayonnaise and sriracha chile sauce; then came slices of sweet cherry tomatoes; and, finally, some imported thick-sliced bacon that had been smoked with apple wood.

For the wine, we went back across the ocean to Europe, this time to Spain for a Garnacha, a grape that I usually associate with reds. Veramendi Garnacha ($188) was, instead, a rose, a nice choice for a meal we were eating outdoors.

“The wine comes from Navarra in the north of Spain”, Raphael Arciniega told us. “I like the aromas of red fruits, caramel, milk and herbals.”

The final course was another bagel with a schmear. This time, the spread was Don Day’s Wife’s mix of mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, icing sugar and lemon zest. On top was her homemade raspberry, blackberry and blueberry compote plus peppered pecans.

The companion wine was our first red, Malbec El Molino, from Mendoza. I used to drink a lot of Malbec ten or fifteen years ago; it was every red drinker’s darling in those days.

“Check out the aromas of plums and cherry blossoms”, said Rafael.

Tasting this fruity Argentinean made me wonder why I’d ever stopped drinking Malbec. Not to mention that, at $168, it’s two-thirds the price of the reds I usually buy.

I was worried about how the dessert bagel would go over so cut them into halves. Almost all of the other halves disappeared as well.

So what do I think I proved with the unusual pairing of bagels and wine? Good bagels…or perhaps that should just be good food…can be paired with almost anything. And the same can be said for good wines.

And to prove it, I leave you with the opinion of my guests.

Hédoné Experience SMA distributes an international selection of wines to bars and restaurants, as well as directly to the public. For a copy of their product and price list, email Rafael Arciniega Franco at rafael.arciniega@hedone.mx.

El Brillo supplies fresh custom-crafted bagels to San Miguel bagel lovers only. If you would like to place an order, email them at elbrillobagels@gmail.com and they’ll tell you about choices, prices, delivery, etc.


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