Wine & Food

Snooth User: Jesse Chemtob

Fast Food Wine Pairings

Posted by Jesse Chemtob, Aug 23, 2010.

So, I'm new here in the Snooth office and put together my first "Weekly Wine News Roundup" this week (it will get better over time - especially with the help of the community).

I've taken @dmcker's advice and started a topic about fast food wine pairings (Zagat had an interesting article about this topic that I featured in the Roundup). Anyone have any suggestions?


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Reply by Carly Wray, Aug 23, 2010.

This is more food-cart wine pairing than fast food, I suppose (though, it's damn fast) -- but I love lamb gyros with Barbera. Long live street meat + reds with good spice and acidity.

Reply by dmcker, Aug 23, 2010.

The original article from Zagat can be found here. It pairs Burger King's Whopper with a Lambrusco, KFC's chicken Double Down with a Schereube Sekt extra-Trocken, Wendy's Double Baconator with a J. Swan zin, and McDonald's Filet-o-Fish with a Skouras Moschofilero white from Santorini.

I found her pairings a little weak (I always thought the TriBeCa grill was selling more sizzle than steak, though my visits were likely before her tenure as sommelier there), aside from the obvious fact that she was trying to pull in a number of wines that consumers wouldn't be familiar with. She seems to be afraid of secret sauces (seems to upset her stomach, my guess, since she pulls in so much sparkling) and salt, in which case she should stay away from American fastfood in general, one would think.

Anyone have any better ideas about what to pair with these fastfood standbys? Or any others for that matter?

I've had plenty of garnachas and GSM blends from the Rhone or elsewhere with Burger King, McDonalds and Wendy's burgers. Zins can also definitely work, as can some cabernet francs, petit syrahs, etc. Rieslings (German or Alsatian) work well for me with KFC, as do some pinot-noir-like garnachas from the Priorat. I like her Greek white recommendation for the F-0-F, but have also had success with albarinos, picpoul de pinets, sauvignon blancs, even a muscadet or two, and fino sherry (which also works with the KFC).

Of course, beer, coffee and milk also work just fine. Water to some extent, but I somehow need something more to counterbalance all those seasonings, oils and sugars. Afraid I'm not a sodapop kind of guy.

On a final note. I don't eat all that much of this type of food, but I do eat some. Sometimes get the craving, and when I'm out and about in various parts of the world, these are often the least-bad options for this kind of food. And somehow, the KFC in Japan tastes a helluva lot better than that in the US....


Reply by dmcker, Aug 23, 2010.

Late nights in Roppongi (a racy-nightlife part of Tokyo) have often ended (or almost so) with takeouts from street vendors of grilled chickens (with potatoes roasted in their drippings) or Turkish-style kebabs, which like many things from there are close-cousins (with maybe fewer veggies) of the Greek version, in this case gyros. If I take them back home, the chicken often gets pinot noir and the kebabs barberas (when I have them), or Greek reds or zins or garnachas or sangioveses or... (don't remember some of the other wines I may have dredged up from truly huge nights...)

Reply by Kimberly H, Aug 23, 2010.

Well, if I had to eat fast food, and I wanted wine to go with, I'd likely choose a dry Rosé, since it pairs beautifully with so many foods, super casual foods among them.  In fact, I've paired Rosé with both hot dogs and pepperoni pizza (on different occasions, mind you), and both pairings were a success.  I've also paired dry Rosé with ham and cheese biscuits -- mmmmm, very nice.  ; )  So even though those might not be true fast food pairings, they're pretty close, so Rosé could be a good choice.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 23, 2010.

Pizza and Sangiovese

Steak Sandwich with the lot - Steak, bacon, onions, egg, cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce - optional tomato sauce[ketchup], pepper and beetroot[I hate tinned beetroot] with shiraz

Roast chicken and chips [NOT KFC] with Riesling [drier styles]

Fish and Chips with Riesling [drier styles]

Hot Dog plain or with the lot - needs to be beer

Meat pie - shiraz

Pie Floater - this an aweful local concoction that involves turning a meat pie upside down in a plate of pea soup[blue boiler peas] and covering it with tomato sauce[ketchup].  It must be consumed after midnight after large quantities of beer.  No wine is so bad that it deserves the ignomy of being matched with a floater

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 24, 2010.

I don't eat much fast food... so I don't know about wine pairings.  But I confess to eating the occasional buttered popcorn with Chardonnay.

BTW- KFC makes me ill... the last I had was out of desperation in Mexico 10yrs ago (it was late, and nothing open after clubbing).  We dubbed it KFP, cause it tasted more like PIGEON than chicken!  YUCK!!!!

Reply by dmcker, Aug 24, 2010.

Napagirl, that's kinda how I feel about KFC in the States. It is definitely better in Japan. But don't knock pigeon. Cooked well it's a great match for a nice Burgundy.... ;-)

Stephen, I know the floater, and vile it can be. But so can a number of the meat pies without the mashy, soupy mess under it. You never want nutritional info on any meatpie, I'm sure....

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 24, 2010.

Mexican KFC - conjurs up mashed beans coated in KFC grease and spice.

I think we have just created a takeaway disgustation

Reply by amour, Aug 24, 2010.

How about a bracing linen-crisp Rose with Pizza or with a fast food Grilled Chicken Salad.

Domaine Ott's Rose/ France,

DomaineTempier's Rose /France ....

any decent  Rose from Bandol , Cotes de hot climes or summers anywhere.

Any takers?

Reply by amour, Aug 24, 2010.

Kimberly H is on target, in my humble opinion!

Cheers, Kimberly H!

I am getting hungry and thirsty as well!

Reply by ChipDWood, Aug 24, 2010.

Cheeseburgers.  With any red under the sun.  LAMB-cheeseburgers, all the better.

1) Fatty meat goes great with reds.

2) Nice, crusty rolls go great with reds.

3) Cheese (especially if you get creative with your selection) goes especially well with reds.

4) ...Cheeseburgers goes great with reds.  That's what we're doing tonight actually.  I'll take pics if you want proof.

Said beautious burgers are being prepared to pair with an unusual Italian red, called Maculan, 'Brentino', 2006.  55% Merlot, 45% Cab- but from the Veneto and not Tuscany as I would have previously guessed.

...I'm actually kinda pumped about tonight's dinner.

Reply by GregT, Aug 24, 2010.

I like Chips approach.  If fast food means chain food like MacDonald, BK, etc., then I don't get it.  If you spend any kind of money on wine, that implies some taste and I would assume it means you have a low tolerance for crappy industrial "food".  The only appropriate wine for the industrial stuff would be industrial wine.  E.g. the stuff in the huge box with the natural wine flavorings, added sugar and color, etc.

If you're making your own, that's not the same at all.  And I've been eating the push cart people's food for years.  It's trendy now but in NYC there have always been some great carts, esp in Chinatown, selling dim sum and duck and other stuff. 

Reply by dmcker, Aug 24, 2010.

Greg, occasionally, industrial food can be the least bad choice. Nothing wrong with improving it a little by some decent (you notice I didn't say 'great') wine or beer... ;-)

So what do you pair with dim sum? I kinda like jasmin or oolong or pu erh tea, myself....

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 24, 2010.

My personal view is that the only takeaway food that deserves wine is Pizza. 

I really enjoy a cold beer or a good quaffable red, nothing to serious or old.  Young, good fruit, competently made and in screw cap.

Probably relates to stage of life but I avoid KFC, Macca's, and other big commercial chain takeaways like the plague. 

Generally I have chicken and chips/fish and chips for lunch from my local place when I am doing chores at home on weekends.  This means I usually wash it down with water or sparkling water.

I do like hot dogs when I am running between meetings at work but they are washed down with coffee.

We do homemade burgers/steak sandwiches on Sunday nights because it fills up the kids [particularly 20&23 yo males and any of their freeloadng mates who drop in.  Again don't mind a "Pizza" red with those.

Plenty of time and opportunity to enjoy good wine without worrying about takeaway

Reply by ChipDWood, Aug 24, 2010.

"A beer or a quafable red"... I'm sorry but we're lumping these two scrumtious things together?  Let's not be silly.

Beer is good for a lot of things.  Pairing with food, as it IS a food, makes beer just a little more than a side dish.  If you think along those lines, then beer is fine as a side with any number of dishes... up to a certain point when even your friends begin to worry about you.

But wine... wine is a different animal.  It is a compliment to what you eat- or at least it should be.  It is the highlight or the filler to whatever you choose to munch upon.  At times it can be the perfect introduction to a meal shared by many- and within the same breath it can be the most exquisite kiss goodnight as your memory and your new love become one and the same as you gently blow the candles out amidst that windy night outside.

You would never remeber the beer- but you would never forget the nuance and being of the wine.  ...Cheeseburgers or otherwise.

They're different animals.  There is o harm in them being so.

Beer, simply put, is BREAD.  WINE, is LIFE.  And there's no need to judge either of them, nor those who enjoy either.

What DOES need to be known is the difference.  To drink beer is to wish away what is before us in life- to push it aside like a wreckless diner at such a thing.  To drink wine is to wish for more of life to ingest- to BREATH IT IN- and to welcome it along, albeit with purple teeth.

(That's my purple teeth smile)

...And cheeseburgers are still the best.  For reds, at least.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Aug 25, 2010.

ChipDWood, I love the musing, but to elevate cheeseburgers to evangelical food status is a religious direction that contradicts my mission to enjoy life and stay below 90kg

You are correct, beer does not much more than wash it down and adds a little gas to settle the contents.

I agree whole heartedly on your wine definition but cheeseburgers are well....chesseburgers and washed down with a cold beer while watching kids sport is their place in life [well my life anyway]

Plus isn't beer and pizza a standard Sunday at home US football watching combo, at least thats what your sitcoms tell us

Reply by ChipDWood, Aug 25, 2010.

Sorry... forgot the photo.

If you're patient, this bottle is a $30, wrapped in a $20 price tag.

I just, ya know, wish you could see it & stuff.

Reply by ChipDWood, Aug 25, 2010.

And it is the perfect fit... for cheeseburgers.

Reply by napagirl68, Aug 25, 2010.

OK... reading all of these... well.. I judge my pairing the best.  Buttered popcorn, but with a MINERALLY CHARD... RRV.  a butterbomb would go thermonuclear here.  A SS (non or minimally oaked)/minerally wine  is quite yum, butterbomb would nauseate.......

Of course, traditional crisp sauv blancs with anything spicy, including chinese or Mexican. 

No offense at all, I don't care much for this thread since I take a lot of time to pair my wine with food (note the order).

Reply by dmcker, Aug 25, 2010.

Frankly, I think this is a great thread. It's probably drawing out particulars of our individual palates better than any other I can remember.

"The only appropriate wine for the industrial stuff would be industrial wine." ?? I'll eat industrial food before I drink industrial wine!

"To drink beer is to wish away what is before us in life." ?? So beer with mates after a pickup ballgame is wishing away life?  And beer also works with cheeseburgers, dude...

"Fish & chips... water" "Hot dogs... coffee" ??  Come now, beer at least, though I also like French or other whites with fish and chips. Though I do understnad the specifics of time and place mentioned....

"Sauv blancs with... Mexican" ?? Don't see that with a bean, cheese and guacamole burrito, much less chili verde or a proper mole sauce! Maybe ceviche, though...

"Sauv blancs with... Chinese"??? Where do I begin???


;-)  ;-)  ;-)

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