Bloomsday’s Guide to Gas Station Snacks and Natural Wine

Iris James Garrison recommends Cheez-Its with a chilled red, and more.

Bloomsday is the project of New York-based songwriter Iris James Garrison. To help celebrate the new issue of the  Talkhouse Reader — the Food Issue, available now digitally and in print — Iris put their sommelier skills to the test and shared some natural wine pairings to elevate your gas station snacks on the road. Bloomsday’s new record, Heart of the Artichoke, will be out June 7, 2024, on Bayonet. 
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music

I work mostly in restaurants when I’m home in New York. One of the things I like about working in restaurants is that I get to try a bunch of natural wines, because it’s kind of the hot thing right now. I’ve gotten really into it, and I miss it when I’m on the road. 

So much of what I eat on the road is snacks from the gas station, even though I try to avoid it. Bringing a little bit of the finers things in life together with the snacks is just a fun thing. I’ve only tested a couple of these pairings, but the following wines (and one amaro) are all my faves that I’ve tried. 

Also, I don’t want to promote people drinking in the car, just to be clear. Find these wines at a wine shop, and then save these snacks from the gas station to pair with them later!

1. Les Lunes (California) — chilled red

This is a really small wine maker in California. I first discovered them when I was working at a restaurant, and I’ve even visited where they’re mostly sold in, the Bay Area. I’m pairing it with Cheez-Its, for a wine-and-cheese vibe. I love a Cheez-It. I also love a Cosmic Brownie, which would probably pair well with a chilled red, too. Chocolate and red wine is always a nice combo. 

2. Les Vins Pirouettes (France) — orange 

This is a pretty popular orange wine, and it’s super yummy. I get it whenever I can. I think an orange wine is a good complement to a more chill, salty snack. It goes well, I think, with Chex Mix. I’m also into a classic Cape Cod potato chip — I like the original, just potato flavor. Also, those peanut-butter-and-cheese-cracker sandwiches are good. I’d eat those with any of these wines, but I’ll recommend them with an orange, just to have a completely orange time. 

3. Martin und Anna Andorfer, Anina Verde (Austria) — white

This is an Austrian wine that is super yummy. The first time I had it, I had it with oysters; it’s a really good oyster wine, but I’m pairing it with Cool Ranch Doritos. I feel like Cool Ranch is a good white wine snack.

4. Weeping Juan (Australia) — pét nat

This an Australian pét nat. Pét nats are fun, because they’re sparkling and can be really kombucha-ish. I’m pairing it with Snyder’s sourdough pretzels. In general, it goes well with a more plain salty snack, but I just love a sourdough pretzel, personally. 

5. Forthave Marseille (New York) — amaro

Forthave is a spirits maker in Brooklyn. I love salty snacks, so I’m pretty biased here — I didn’t really do any Twinkies or anything — but I will do one sweet pairing: I think Forthave’s amaro would pair well with Chips Ahoy mini cookies. 

It’s also really fun to find where I can get good natural wine in whatever city that I’m in. Here are some of my favorite wine bars and shops I’ve found on the road:

Ordinaire — Oakland, CA
Semi-Tropic — Costa Mesa, CA
La Dive — Seattle, WA
Outside Voices — Chicago, IL
Wilder Wines — Burlington, VT

As told to Annie Fell.

Bloomsday is the project of New York-based songwriter Iris James Garrison. Their new record, Heart of the Artichoke, will be out June 7, 2024, on Bayonet.