How To Pair Fine Wine With Cheap-Ass Food. Or: How to “Church Up” Your Guilty Pleasures

Let’s face it, sometimes you have a great  bottle of wine at home that you want to enjoy but you don’t have the time, energy or interest in preparing a fancy-shmancy meal to go with it. For days like this, remember the principals of wine and food pairing and you can improvise with pairings like these.

Alternatively, if you love high-end wine but can’t shake your addiction to fast food-level “cuisine” Here are some great ways to dress up your favorites in their Sunday best and “Church it up”!

Champagne with Potato Chips. The acidity of the Champagne plus the saltiness of the golden--potato-chips--bowl--potato_3295146chips is perfection.

Wanna “church it up?” Top the chips with creme fraiche and caviar and you’ve got an hors d’oeuvre worthy of pairing with Cristal.

Bordeaux and a Burger. Red meat’s chewy proteins are melted away by the chewy tannins of a sturdy, terroir-driven Red blend.

Wanna “church it up?” Use grass-fed beef, top it with Brie de Meaux or Camembert, add sauteed mushrooms and serve on a brioche roll. Bon appetit!

Coindrieu and Fried Chicken. This is actually a favorite of a good friend and mentor of download (1)mine. With this pairing, it’s all about matching the weight of the wine with the weight of the food. A beautifully heavy Viognier from the best region possible aside the guilty pleasure of the crispy, rich chicken is sinful and heavenly all at once.

Wanna “church it up?”  Skip the drive-thru and make the chicken yourself. Consider adding crushed toasted nuts to the breading for a bit of complexity.

Chianti Classico and Frozen Pizza. There really is no good excuse for freezer food but let’s be honest – it happens. I can’t tell you how many times my co-workers and I have resorted to it after a long work day. Besides, a red sauce and hearty cheese, no matter the resource, will go well with any Sangiovese-based wine.

Wanna “church it up?”  Chianti Classico with artisinal, wood-fired, authentically Italian pizza with hearty salamis, bright tomato sauce and rich cheese. Duh…

Old Vine Zinfandel with Baby-back Ribs. The juicy, jammy fruit and typically American bbq2-620x406Oak takes on the spicy sweetness and mouth-watering gristle so well it’s as if Bacchus himself planned their union.

Wanna “church it up?”  Why? Is there really going up from ribs?

And furthermore: Spanish Wine (Priorat, Rioja, Tempranillos) go amazing with slow cooked BBQ. A favorite of mine is pulled pork. “Pinterest” yourself a crock pot recipe if you’re a twenty-something wineabe. Smoke yourself a Brisket if you have hair on your chest.

Wanna “church it up?” Lamb riblets with mint and raspberry preserve. Mmmm.

Cooked_BaconTokaji and Bacon. …Or bacon with any dessert wine, really. The acidity and sweetness of the wine with the fattiness and saltiness of the bacon is basically an amazing “last meal.” It’s the perfect pairing of flavors before a Diabetic and/or Cholesterol-induced death.

Wanna “church it up?”  Take extra large red or white grapes, remove the seeds, stuff with a strong cheese like Gorgonzola, wrap the bacon around it while it is still malleable and secure with a toothpick!

Red Burgandy and Stuffed Mushrooms. The savory quality of the mushrooms brings out the fruit and the Garlic highlights brown-sugary notes in this French Pinot Noir. Plus, it’s a great way to enjoy a football tailgate party in style.

Wanna “church it up?” Saute the garlic in butter and olive oil and de-glaze the pan with the wine itself. pour the reduction over the mushrooms before serving.

Auslese Riesling with Chinese Takeout. the sweetness of this later-harvest German white cuts the mild heat of General Tso’s Chicken and the acidity leaves your palate refreshed. Going really spicy? Be super extravagant and trashy all at once by choosing the Beernauslese; the German nearly-dessert wine instead.

Wanna “church it up?” Trick question, you can’t church up take out. But you can take a bottle with you to an Asian Fusion restaurant. Try a mild coconut curry with a Kabinett, too; I love this combo.

Barbaresco and a Meatball Sub. Honestly, A big, masculine, tannic, acidic and full-force downloadRed deserves a big, masculine, hearty and Italian-inspired something. Think about it: decadent meatballs, acidic and ripe marinara sauce topped with Provolone, carbohydrates and Italian spices! It’s perfect. I think even the Italians would agree.

Wanna “church it up?” Swap out the bread and sauce for wild mushroom risotto with shaved Romano cheese

imagesNew Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Arugula. In the world of leafy vegetables, Arugula makes a high-end salad. But in the wine pairing world, no one really talks about pairing wine with a vegetable; it’s difficult to do. However, Sauvignon Blanc, like a Sancerre or from New Zealand,  can be a refreshing pairing with a spicy arugula salad. This is is a very convenient truth for those of us who kid ourselves and pretend to diet by pairing wine with salad…

Wanna “church it up?” Toss in a tangy cheese like Chevre and heirloom tomatoes and you’ll feel spoiled.

Wine with Life. I’m not from an Old World region so I don’t always follow the rule of wineIMG_20130926_123325_701 with food. Sometimes, i just kick back and make a bottle of wine my bitch.

Wanna “church it up?” Wine with friends. Nothing enhances wine more than sharing it with loved ones that are equally enthusiastic about a good bottle and good conversation. 



9 thoughts on “How To Pair Fine Wine With Cheap-Ass Food. Or: How to “Church Up” Your Guilty Pleasures

  1. Pingback: Food and Wine Pairing Infographic… | Chocolate Spoon & The Camera

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