Pairing Wines with Takeout Favorites

By: Roberto Ferdman

Foie gras and French dessert wines might make for wonderful duos, but when’s the last time you had either outside of a fancy restaurant? The problem with most wine pairings is their inaccessibility — the wines tend to be too expensive for casual consuming, and the foods aren’t exactly ones eaten regularly. What would be really helpful is knowing how to pair wine with foods eaten more casually — like, say, takeout favorites.

The wine gurus at  Lot 18, an online wine marketplace, held an informal and refreshingly accessible wine pairing event for their favorite takeout foods. Held not at an uppity restaurant or sprawling estate, but at a long wooden table in a meeting room at their offices in Manhattan, the laid-back affair put forth a handful of interesting and useful recommendations:

1. Sushi and Bubbly: A Perfect Marriage

This may have been the most high end of the batch (with neither sushi nor champagne having a reputation for being light on the wallet), but it may also have been the most spot on of the pairings. The salty pieces of seafood paired beautifully with champagne that was sweet, bubbly and a teeny bit nutty.

The Food: Salmon and Tuna Sashimi

The Wine: NV Pommery Wintertime Champagne (75 percent Pinot Noir, 25 percent Pinot Meunier)

Also Pairs With: Dry Rieslings, Kerners, Pinot Blancs and even Pinot Noirs

2. Sweet Wines, Spicy Foods: Thai Takeout

A traditional Riesling, neither too sweet nor too dry, helped balance out the acidity (and considerable kick) from a fragrant bowl of Thai curry., Each mouthful was as smooth as it was refreshing. Rather than struggling to beat the heat with glassfuls of water, all it takes is a sip of sweet Riesling.

Fiery foods, beware: You’ve met your match.

The Food: Green Curry with Shrimp and White Rice

The Wine: 2007 Weingut Milz Laurentiushof 180° Riesling (100 percent Riesling)

Also Pairs With: Gewurztraminers and Gruner Veltliners.

3. Acidic Wines , Acidic Foods: Pizza Pairings

A high acidic wine, in this case, a Barbera, pairs perfectly with the acidic flavor in tomato sauce. Married with pizza topped with tangy tomato sauce, cheese and sausage, the Barbera’s notes of raspberry, cherry and coffee shined through beautifully. Alternatively, try pairing it with pastas, olives and other acidic foods.

The Food: Sausage Pizza

The Wine: 2008 Quattro Leoni Vino Rosso Barbera d'Asti (100 percent Barbera)

Also Pairs With: Chianti Classicos and Brunello di Montalcinos (both made from Sangiovese grapes), Barberas, Montepulciano d'Abruzzos and Montefalco Rossos.

4. Complex Wines, Complex Flavors: Indian Takeout

A rich and almost (dark) chocolatey Pinot Noir nicely matches up with spicy and aromatic Tandoori chicken. Any lingering kick from the Indian food was met with a delicious aftertaste of dark berries and spicy fruit. Next time you order your Naan to go, look for a glass of this deep, flavorful red.

The Food: Tandoori Chicken, White Rice and Naan

The Wine: 2009 Lucie Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (100% Pinot Noir)

Also Pairs With: Pinot Noirs, Rieslings, Gruner Veltliners, Pinot Blancs and Pinot Gris.

Tell us, what wines do you drink with your takeout?

Wine pairings by Lot18 wine experts Janine Lettieri and Alexis Brock. Register and become a member of Lot18 here.

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