Give way avocado toast, there is a new power breakfast in town. From Instagram picture of psychedelic rainbow dough, to Montreal’s small and dense style, to jaw stopping displays such as Sadelle’s towers, the good ‘ol simple bagel is the hottest thing around. And with long lines to prove it. And since bagels are getting a bit fancier, these boiled and baked affairs call for more than just a cup of coffee and The New York Times; so we’re pairing the best wines to drink with them. Grab a bagel, pop a bottle and say hello to your favorite new brunch combination.
1. Everything bagel with scallion cream cheese – Alsatian Riesling
This pungent combo pays homage to Alsatian cooking, a rich cuisine that’s heavy handed with the onions. Think of it as a tarte flambé in sandwich form, minus the bacon (but hey, if you want to add bacon, no one here will stop you). Let the slate, petrol and ripe fruit of an Alsatian Riesling balance those pervasive flavors while the acid moderates the creamy spread.
2. Toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with butter – Amarone
Toasting is verboten to bagel makers, but who can resist the nostalgic aromas of baking spices and melted butter wafting from those warm flavor swirls? Pair this with a wine that’s essentially made from raisins: Amarone. Winemakers dry the grapes on mats to concentrate the sugars before vinification. The wine’s jammy flavors play off the sweet fruit in the bagel and spice notes complement the sweet cinnamon.
3. Poppy seed bagel with lox, capers, onion, and plain cream cheese – champagne
Back in the day, Scandinavians salt-cured their salmon as a way to preserve the fish without refrigeration. Quite a bit of fuzzy folklore ensued and somehow this salty treat, known as “lox,” made its way to New York with Jewish immigrants. Over time, the heavily salted style fell out of fashion and nowadays, much of what we call “lox” is actually smoked. However, this classic Sunday brunch spread still brings on the brine and nothing pairs better than Champagne. The bubbles cut through the salmon’s fattiness while softening the salinity of the capers. Keep it pure; sugary mimosas and Bellini’s need not apply.
4. Pumpernickel bagel with vegetable cream cheese – Zinfandel
A little earthy and kind a malty, pumpernickel’s complex and dense flavors call out for a big wine. Zinfandel’s rich, deep fruit balances the savory elements while bringing out the tinge of sweetness in the bread. Vegetable cream cheese, usually made with peppers, works with the spice and tobacco notes that often come through on the wine’s finish.
5. Rainbow bagel with strawberry cream cheese – Brachetto
Earlier this year, The Bagel Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, rocketed to social media fame when pictures of its multi-hued bagels flooded Instagram. Other shops, coveting the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (bagel), attempted their own versions and copycats can now be found across the country. Surprisingly, the vibrant bagel is not a crazy cornucopia of flavors; only a subtle hint of vanilla comes through. Pair with strawberry cream cheese and you have a sweet, but not sugary, combo on your hands. Pair this colorful breakfast with Brachetto; its fizzy body and fruit profile are as playful as the bagel. It’s often served with berry-based desserts, making it an ideal match.
6. Sesame bagel with whitefish salad spread –Assyrtiko
The thinking man’s tuna, whitefish’s nuanced flavor marries smoke and cream. Its oily character lends a richness to the spread that albacore can’t match. Layer this one on a sesame bagel; the crunch of the seeds offsets the velvety texture. Pairing-wise, look to Greece, a country well-versed in seafood. Assyrtiko shows a lot of citrus notes and minerality, which contrast with the smokiness. This wine is naturally fuller-bodied and the slight beeswax consistency gives a round mouthfeel; it definitely holds its own against the unctuous fish.
7. Salt bagel with horseradish cream cheese – Txakoli
The unsung hero of bagel bins, salt versions are often given short shrift in favor of their seeded counterparts. Give this flavor a chance as salt adds a punch to almost any cream cheese. Crank up the POW factor with a horseradish schmear; in our sriracha-obsessed world, it brings heat to an otherwise mild spread. The sea spray quality of Txakoli drives home the saline notes of the bagel, while the high acid cuts through the spice and cream of the cheese.
8. Multigrain bagel with hummus and sprouts – Palo cortado
Craving a bagel but the clock reads after noon? This sandwich makes the leap from breakfast to lunch successfully. Pureed chickpeas enhance the hearty grains and oats of this toothsome bread, while the sprouts … actually, what purpose do sprouts serve? Regardless, this legume-based combo is perfect with Palo Cortado. Nuts and spice dominate the palate with this wine, complementing the earthy elements of the bagel, but the high acid lightens the density of this circular creation.
By: Shana Clarke