Fast food pairings

In a perfect world, we would always eat fresh fruit and veggies purchased at the farmer’s market, paired with free range chicken or locally raised and butchered beef or pork, maybe augmented with wild-caught salmon. 

In real world, you are going to eat some fast food picked up at the last minute. Some tips on pairing wine with take-out.

• Chinese—semi-dry riesling. Its slight sweetness pairs with salty soy sauce and chiles.

• Burgers—chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. America’s most popular wines go well with America’s favorite fast food. Both wines pair with red meat. Go decadent with a buttery, oaky chard and a cheeseburger. It may not be healthy, but it can taste good.

• Barbecue—pinot noir or a rosé, including sparkling rosé. Smokey BBQ flavors play well with pinot noir, which will not compete but complement the slow-cooked flesh, while rosé can meld with the slight sweetness of the sauce. Sparkling brings joy and elegance to a meal, even one served on grease-stained brown butcher paper.

• Pizza—Chianti. Sure-fire tip is to pair wine with country the food comes from. Italy. Chianti. Pizza. You don’t have to over-think this one.

• Garden salad—crisp sauvignon blanc. The acidity will cut through creamy salad dressing or hang with tart dressings. Sauv blanc’s herbal and grassy elements will reinforce your health-smart choice.

• Sushi—chenin blanc. If you eat raw fish, do not pour a wine that dominates. Chenin blanc’s delicate flavors and acidity will not pummel your piscatorial pick. If you yearn to add layer of snobbery, pour Vouvray, which is chenin blanc from the French AOC region dedicated exclusively to chenin blanc.

Tasting notes:

• Sean Minor Four Bears Chardonnay 2014: Pear, green apple, pineapple; food friendly. $13-15

• Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc 2014: Fumé Blanc is name Mondavi created to obscure fact wine was sauv blanc because cheap sauv blanc had bad reputation; this, however, is winner in its tier. $20

• Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 2014: Polished, plush, ethereal, silky tannin, nice acidity, reserved oak knits everything together. $19-22

• Stoller Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2013: Sophisticated, balanced, medium body, dry, cutting acidity. $27-35

Last round: Do you know what rhymes with Wednesday? Wine’s day.

Facebook: Gus Clemens on Wine.