If you think of wine as exclusive to fine dining, you aren’t alone. And while it’s an excellent addition to a special meal, if it’s the only time you break out a bottle, you’re missing out. Wine is a surprisingly delightful companion to a variety of “lower brow” foods. (That’s just a fancy way of saying junk food.)
We’ve put together a list, pairing some of our favorite junk food and snacks with a wine that brings out the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) aspects of each one. So, grab a bag, open a tub, or just dive right in and prepare to elevate your food vice of choice to a whole new level of bad-for-you-bliss!
Popcorn & Chardonnay
The popcorn’s rich butter highlights the smooth, nutty undertones of a good Chardonnay. The buttery elements of a Chardonnay complement popcorn perfectly while the acidity provides a wonderfully delicious balance. Netflix and chilled Chardonnay, anyone?
Potato chips/French fries & Champagne/Sparkling Wine
The high acidity and carbonation of a brut sparkling wine (made using the traditional method) is an ideal pairing for the salty, fat starches of potato chips or French fries. The dry nature of a brut does a wonderful job of cleansing your salty palate between bites.
BBQ chips & Pinot Noir
BBQ chips range from tangy to sweet, but it’s the yeast they contain that when combined with the spicy, earthy flavors of a Pinot Noir lead to a delicious Umami flavor that will knock your socks off.
Rice Krispie Treats & Riesling
The sweet, floral undertones of a Riesling melt into the fluffy, marshmallow gooeyness of this childhood favorite while the sharp acidity refreshes your palate for another nostalgic bite.
Hot Wings & Pinot Noir
There are many wing flavors out there, but we’re focusing on the classic Buffalo wing sauce. The fruity, acidity, and spice of Pinot Noir make it a delightful sidekick for traditional hot wings.
Teriyaki Beef Jerky & Syrah
The slightly sweet teriyaki flavor pairs quite well with a peppery Syrah. The black pepper notes from the Syrah complement the sweet and smoky jerky without washing out the flavor combination.
Fried Chicken & Rosé
An effervescent rosé pairs exceptionally well with fried chicken: the crisp and spice of the chicken coating is a tasty contrast to the fruit and acidity of the rosé while the bubble cuts through and cleans the palate of grease and salt.
Twinkies & Moscato
The sweet, fruity flavors of this semi-sweet, gently sparkling, low-alcohol-content wine pairs wonderfully with the creamy sponge cake of a Twinkie. If you’re feeling bold, go ahead and dunk one in your glass!
Cheetos & Chenin Blanc
The high acidity of a Chenin Blanc increases the production of saliva which stimulates your taste receptors and ensures every bite of this oddly tasty pairing pops with the fried corn, cheese, and salty flavors of a Cheeto.