Peas and carrots. Milk and cookies. Wine and delivery food. Some pairings are just meant to be!
In general, I suggest pairing Chinese food almost exclusively with white wine, preferably with a touch of sweetness. Riesling would be my choice, but if you’re in the mood for red, go with a cheaper French, New Zealand, or Chilean Pinot Noir – and make sure to serve it slightly chilled. A few of my favorite pairings…
- General Tso’s Chicken – For this takeout favorite, we recommend going with an unoaked Chardonnay from California. This wine is slightly fruity, but the crispness really helps cut the sweetness of the dish.
- Potstickers – I like to pair potstickers and dipping sauce with Chenin Blanc – Vouvray from France. It’s a medium weight white wine – meaning it’s not big and in-your-face, but can stand up to the prominent sauce and heaviness of the food.
For spicy American dishes like chicken wings, I like to recommend sweeter wines that balance and compliment the flavors. Sugar in the wine helps cool off the spiciness. Think Riesling, Moscato, or Gewürztraminer. The tannins in dry wines start tasting sharp and acidic when mixed with hot food, so I tend to avoid those pairings.
- Buffalo Chicken Calzone – Italian Dry Lambrusco. It’s sparkling, it’s dry, and it’s served cold which is great with pizza and something on the spicy side like this dish.
- Fried Food – Believe it or not, salty, oily fried food pairs incredibly well with “delicate” sparkling wine. The high acid levels in the wine balances the fat and salt to make a fantastic pairing.
Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp, refreshing white wine like Spanish Albarino. Light and delicate food requires equally as light and delicate wine. You want the wine and food to get along, not fight with each other. A few of my favorite pairings…
- Spicy Tuna Maki – This is one of Grubhub’s most popular sushi rolls, and I recommend pairing it with Gruner Veltliner from Austria. Not only is it affordable, the super-crispness of the wine pairs great with tuna.
- Crazy Maki – If your sushi is spicy, I’d do a Rhone Valley white wine or something made with a blend of Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, and Viognier. These are heavier, drier white wines that will hold up well to spicy food and heavy soy flavor.
Big, huge, bold New World reds like Argentine Malbec, California reds, or even Spanish Reds pair really well with meat and flavor-focused BBQ dishes. Wines from these regions make sense for BBQ, as they’re known for large, outdoor, meat grilling festivals — they have the wine to match!
- Ribs – California Zinfandel is big, bold, in your face, and can stand up to heavy foods like spare ribs. Get your glass, face, and everything in your apt covered in sauce.
Seafood tends to be on the pricier side, but that doesn’t mean your wine has to be. Muscadet, Picpul de Pinet – really, any crisp white wine like Vermentino, Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, or Santorini is a great pairing for seafood dishes.
Do you have some great wine and food pairings? Let us know in the comments!