October 9, 2015
Everyday Food & Wine Pairings
For those nights when we simply can't be bothered to cook that roast lamb, and are just craving mac & cheese or some wings… but still want to sip on some wine. The truth is, a meal doesn’t have to be fancy to be wine-worthy. Plus, it’s never a bad time for wine, right?
Food and wine pairings don’t only work their magic in high-end restaurants with expensive wines and ingredients. Your favorite home-cooked meals and carryout options – simply, your everyday food, also calls for wine. And by everyday food, I mean mac & cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, tacos, hamburgers, grilled cheese, etc. So here are some tasty wine companions for your everyday food favorites:
Mac & Cheese: Feel like drinking a white or a red? Both options work for us, it’s up to you to pick your favorite: try a Pinot Noir from Burgundy, especially if the Mac & Cheese is gruyere-based. And for a white alternative, pair it with a dry Chenin Blanc.
Grilled cheese: No special occasion needed here; just enjoy your grilled cheese differently for once – with bubbles! Remember that champagne is one of the most versatile and food-friendly wines, and its refreshing frothiness makes it a delicious companion for the crunchy-melted feeling of the sandwich. A quick tip for your next party: serve the grilled cheese as an amuse-bouche, in small portions, with, obviously a glass of your favorite champagne.
Spaghetti: I’m talking about spaghetti with meat sauce here – and yes, even from the jar too. For this, go with the easy pairing – Chianti or Barbera. Also works with spaghetti and meatballs or a classic, the meatloaf. And for you fettucine alfredo lovers, Chardonnay it is! Rich and buttery, ideally.
Pizza: Similarly to spaghetti, pizza and Sangiovese-based wines’ refreshing acidity get along pretty well; it pairs best with a Chianti or a Barbera.
Buffalo wings: The amount of spicy heat in wings makes it a tough pairing. The key is to stay away from very high alcohol levels. Riesling’s fruitiness and acidity is a good pick, as is a light Zinfandel; if none of these ideas work for you, try the wings with a Lambrusco Dolce – you will not be disappointed.
Nachos, tacos & others: Mexican foods will pair best with fruity and bright whites like Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz or Pinotage on the red side.
Sushi: My personal favorite! Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles. Anything sparkling, from champagne to Prosecco or even Cava will pair beautifully with sushi. The bubbles and high acidity freshen the palate, while the vivid minerality complements the different flavors you can find in sushi. For still options, go for a Chenin Blanc or Riesling. Medium-bodied reds work as well – what about a California Pinot Noir?
How about you? Tell us about your favorite everyday food and wine pairings!