Wine and junk food pairings that work

The nuance of flavour in wine is rarely a match to cuisine as gutsy as junk food. Most wines will end up sulking in the background and ruin the flavour with sourness and bitterness. One could say that wine is a finicky beverage.

Fortunately, you can easily make some incredible junk food wine pairings, all you need to do is reach for the more unusual wines. Here are a few kick-ass junk food wine pairings and why they work so you can make your own.

Brut Sparkling Wine

It doesn’t matter if it’s Champagne, American bubbles, Cap Classique, Cava or Crémant, as long as it’s made using the traditional method and has lots of tiny bubbles then it will be perfect with any sort of salty-fried potato thing you throw at it. The reason why you want traditional method bubbles is that they have the highest carbonation of all the styles. The reason you want a Brut or the more dry “Brut Nature” is because you want the wine to be very dry and astringent so that it will properly cleanse your salty palate. In our humble opinion, sparkling wine beats any soda/chip pairing and has the benefit of slowing down your munching just from the sheer intensity of the pairing.

Ruby Port

The only thing better than brownies are chocolate chip fudge brownies. Nobody wants to admit that they are addictive, but we they arre because just thinking about them will have your lower brain sending you signals of desire! The perfect wine to this devilish food must have both the fortitude and flavour to complement the intensity. For this, Ruby Port is the clear option. Ruby Port is unlike other Ports in that it’s freshly made and, for this reason, it still has all the bold black and blue fruit flavours and tannin. The tannin in this wine will help scrape your palate, while the complementing sweetness (usually about 90g/ℓ RS, or slightly less than Coke) will make sure that the wine doesn’t come across bitter. When you put the two together, it will taste something like a fresh chocolate covered cherry.

Cabernet Franc or Carménère

What could be worse for you than fried cheese? For pairing this food, you can actually work with a wide range of both dry red or white wines. That said, here’s why wines like carménère and cabernet franc are our top pick. They are known for their higher acidity and peppery flavours, ranging from green bell pepper to smoky sweet red pepper. This is the type of flavouring that would be awesome with fried cheese and might even remove the need for marinara.

Pinotage or Shiraz

You did it. You ordered a donut cheeseburger and maybe even added some bacon to it. You may die, but at least you will die having known what a junk food masterpiece tastes like. And now that you’ve taken one bite, your mouth is desperately thin. Don’t cheapen this experience with a coke. You need something that is sweetly rich in aromas and flavours, but dry on the palate. You need pinotage! Pinotage is as South African as “braaivleis, sunny skies and …” and the “awkward child” of pinot noir and cinsaut (also known as hermitage). Despite the elegance of its parents, this grape produces massive wines that will even make an Australian shiraz feel unworthy. With intense smokiness and equally ample fruit, this wine might be enough to complement your bad decision.

Sparkling Wine

When it comes to pairing wine with fried chicken, your best bet is sparkling wine (MCC or Cap Classique). Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back to pairing fried chicken with coke, lemonade, or sweet tea ever again.

Why? There’s a lot of oil, salt and fat in fried chicken. (Sad, but true, and also so delicious!) With abundant acidity, effervescence and complementary flavours, sparkling wine effortlessly cuts through all of it, cleansing and refreshing your palate with every bite – sans the bloating. Consider the following and look for Brut, Extra Brut, Dry and Extra Dry examples where you can. (Dry is sweeter than you think!)

  • Champagne
  • MCC or Cap Classique
  • Cava– If you want something dry, lean, and with zesty aromatics and a great quality-value ratio.
  • Prosecco– If you want something a little more on the sweeter, fruitier side that’s also fairly affordable.
  • Sparkling Rosé– If you’re dealing with spice and heat.

Alternatives

Need more options? Check out these utility players for your fried chicken.

  • Tempranillo– Savoury notes and fat-softening tannins make this wine a winner.
  • Riesling– Aromatic sweetness and high acidity in Riesling cut through fat and embellish the umami notes in fried chicken.
  • Grüner Veltliner– You’ll need acid with fried chicken. You’ll get it with Grüner.
  • Sparking Shiraz– What you want with anything sweet and tangy, like you like.

(Source: Wine Folly)

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