We all know the scene: it’s been a busy week at work, you’re feeling a little tired and in need of some indulgence, and your sofa is looking more than a little tempting right now. What’s more, Netflix and that new box set is calling your name, and you can think of nothing better than curling up for the evening with a mountain of your favourite binge foods, a hefty load of snacks, and a well-paired bottle of wine. Now, doesn’t that sound heavenly?
Due to the somewhat pretentious nature of the wine world, there isn’t a huge amount of information when it comes to pairing wine with snack food and ‘junk’ foods. Sure, you’ll find hundreds of pairings documented for filet mignon, oysters, and all manner of restaurant and bistro classics… but hunt around for pairings with your favourite flavour of chips, and you’re probably in for a bit of a struggle. This is a shame for a number of reasons, but not least because there are some truly fantastic and joyful pairings out there, especially for the kinds of foods we really crave on an evening in with a decent movie and a couple of good mates.
So, with that in mind, we thought we’d gather together a few of our favourite tempting treats and binge classics, and take a look at which wines work best with these kinds of foods. There’s something brilliantly naughty about bringing together decent vino with snack foods, and while we wouldn’t recommend doing this on a nightly basis, it’s a real treat you can absolutely enjoy once in a while. What are you waiting for? Dive right in, and discover the key to lazy evening bliss!
Who doesn’t love settling down for the evening with a great pizza? It’s Italy’s greatest gift to the culinary world, and whether you’re tucking into an artisanal, sourdough crust number topped with quality ingredients, or something heavier, stodgier, yet no less delicious from your local takeaway, there’s plenty of joy to be had in this particular food.
The problem with pairing wine with pizza, however, is that you’ve got a whole load of flavours to contend with. The tomatoes offer a mix of acidity and sweetness, you’ve got the tanginess of the cheese, and a host of other savoury components to keep in mind. Our best advice for a wine which goes well with almost any (tomato-based) pizza? A classic Tuscan Sangiovese. Try to avoid the more complex and subtle aged Chianti Classico Sangiovese wines - most pizzas tend to work better with something younger, fresher, brighter, and less complicated. With its own tangy acids and bright fruit flavours, this favourite Italian vino never fails to hit the spot when it comes to a night in with a pizza shared among friends!
When it comes to having a bit of ‘me time’, there’s nothing like opening a big bar or box of delicious chocolates, and feeling your pleasure sensors light up in your brain with every bite. Of course, pairing wine with chocolate is something which takes a bit of thought, as chocolate comes in a wide array of different styles and characteristics. Get it right, however, and you’re in for an experience that won’t soon be forgotten!
If you’re a fan of white chocolate, you’re best off sticking with classic dessert wines such as Sauternes, Tokaji, or Late Harvest Riesling. Milk chocolate works brilliantly with dry Sherry and Port, and dark chocolate (especially the trendy high cocoa solids numbers) can pair gorgeously with an Australian Shiraz, or even a bottle of Bordeaux.
Vanilla or Caramel Ice Cream
It’s funny how we never quite grow out of the childlike joy that ice cream provides. It’s the stuff of summer holidays, of adventures with your childhood friends, and of lazy days spent exploring endless beaches in your formative years. Naturally, ice creams of different flavours pair best with a wide range of different wines, and there’s a new trend for more savoury ice creams which probably deserves a wine pairing article of its own. Despite this, we always seem to fall back on the classic vanilla ice creams we remember from our youth… and this flavour works fantastically with a chilled bottle of oaked Chardonnay.
It may not be the most fashionable wine out there right now, but those oaky, caramel, butterscotch and vanilla flavours in a classic Chardonnay really work fantastically with vanilla or caramel swirl ice cream. It’s an indulgent treat that’s great for sharing, although it works just as well when on your own enjoying the guilty pleasure of a great rom com in your pyjamas.
There are no snacks foods in the world more tempting or moreish than a big bowl of chips. With a massive array of flavours and styles to choose from, you might imagine it would be quite difficult to find a wine which works well with almost all of them. That’s where you’re wrong - somehow, we’re yet to find a packet of chips which doesn’t pair perfectly with a cold glass of rosé wine, or a with a flute of supermarket Champagne.
There’s something deeply comforting about a truly great hamburger. The softness of a brioche bun, the juiciness of the meat patty, the salad, the sauces… it all comes together to create a taste and texture sensation that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Whether you’ve opted for a fast ‘n’ easy example from one of the leading takeaway places, or have gone for something a little more artisanal and fancy, there’s no doubt that this particular dish has the potential to take pleasure to whole new levels.
If you’re looking for the perfect wine to pair with your burger, there are few grape varietals out there that do a better job than a great Pinot Noir. Whether from Burgundy, California, or hidden-gem locations like Romania, Pinot Noir is an incredible meat-friendly wine. Soft, silky, bursting with ripe and red fruit flavours, this wine - when paired with a burger - is a real recipe for indulgent success.