By Samantha Leal published
There's a pivotal scene in Grease where Jan, ever the running joke, takes all you know about wine pairings and flips it on its head: "It says right here, it's a dessert wine," she says, as she eats a Twinkie.
On first viewing, you might laugh—Oh, Jan. That's *not* what it means...—but then, you begin to think. A dim lightbulb flickers on somewhere above your head. Wait a second...
And here we are. After consulting with two top wine experts—Susan Lueker, SIMI Winery's Director of Winemaking, and Alexander LaPratt, owner and wine director of The Atrium in Brooklyn and lead sommelier ambassador of Ribera del Duero y Rueda wines—I've come to the conclusion that wine pairs just swimmingly with junk food. And these are the pairings that work best. (Though if you want to down some Chardonnay with your hotdog, who am I to judge?)
"Popcorn brings out the nutty flavors of the Chardonnay," says Lueker. "The acidity of the chardonnay balances—while the buttery aspect complements—the richness of the buttered popcorn taste." LaPratt agrees, and recommends trying a White Burgundy. "It's 100% chardonnay that has seen well-balanced oak with a creamy texture," he says. Translation? Creamy, buttery goodness all around.
2013 Monticello Vineyards Estate Grown Chardonnay ($35)
Love BBQ? Pair it with a pinot noir. "The yeast extract, which is common among BBQ potato chips, combined with an earthy, spicy pinot noir creates a savory, almost umami effect," says Lueker. Whip that reference out whenever you're feelin' like licking your hands and grabbing your glass of red is coming off undignified to your roommate or date. UMAMI.
2013 SIMI Sonoma County Pinot Noir ($26)
Regular potato chips go great with chardonnay or sparkling wine. "The balance and acidity in Chardonnay stand up to the fat and saltiness in potato chips," says Lueker. *chomp, gulp*
2013 SIMI Sonoma County Chardonnay ($18)
Cheetos, the food of the gods. These cheesy bites of goodness pair nicely with a bright white, like Rueda Verdejo, or Sauvignon Blanc. "The lemon and mandarin orange citrus focus of the wine with a light and crisp texture make a great partner for the messy, cheesy, Cheetos," says LaPratt.
Recommended wine: 2012 Martinsancho Verdejo Superior ($16)
Both agree this is the *ideal* pairing, since the saltiness and richness of the French Fries are cut by the high-acidity (and bubbles!) of sparkling wine or Champagne. Take it from LaPratt: "Fried foods work well with Champagne. The bubbles help clean your palate in preparation for the next bite." You heard the man.
Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne ($41)
Pizza and wine is perhaps an obvious choice, but we're giving you another reason to eat and drink both so let's not split hairs here. Pair your saucy minx (that's the pizza, duh) with a higher-acid red like the Spanish red Ribera del Duero Tempranillo or a Malbec. "The smooth, red berry flavor keeps it lively and makes it a great match," says LaPratt.
2013 Vina Satre Ribera del Duero ($20)
For chocolate, a normal wine ain't gonna cut it. You need to pair sweetness with sweetness—in this case, a vintage-style port.
2008 Graham's Late Bottled Vintage ($22)
It's like the double-whammy of deliciousness/happiness."Every once and a while I'll want to enjoy my guilty pleasure with a night cap and I'll reach for Bual Madeira from Portugal," says LaPratt. "It's oxidized and cooked, so you can buy a bottle and leave it open forever without it going bad—which is awesome—but it's also perfect for cookie dough ice cream. Bual is the grape varietal that features flavors like burnt toffee, hazelnut, and caramel with a touch of sweetness."
Blandy's 10 Year Madeira Rich Malmsey ($24)
Designs by Jennifer Baumgardner
I'm Sam, the senior editor at MarieClaire.com. I love shining a light on awesome people doing things that matter, cool products and hacks for everyday life, and advice you'll actually use. I'm pretty much always looking for the perfect GIF for any situation. When I'm not trolling the internet, I can be found dancing like a weirdo or napping like it's my job. Right now, I'm probably eating or drinking something filled with sugar or booze. (Sorry, mom.)
Meghan Markle Probably Declined to Stay With Prince Charles Because It Would Be Too "Awkward," Royal Expert Says
To be fair, I wouldn't want to be at *that* breakfast table.
By Iris Goldsztajn
The 12 Best Makeup Bags for All Your Beauty Goodies
Marie Kondo would be proud.
By Alexis Gaskin
Will There Be a 'Cheer' Season 3 on Netflix?
We're ready to get back on the mat.
By Marie Claire Editors
Meet the Woman Blending the Traditional and the Modern in French Winemaking
How Florence Haynes combined the traditional and the contemporary for Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire.
The 10 Best Nonstick Cookware Sets
The nonstick pans, pots, and skillets that make cooking easy.
By Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping Institute
The Royal Family Shared the Recipe for the Queen's Favorite Boozy Christmas Pudding
The Royal Family Twitter account shared the royal chef's recipe for the Queen's favorite boozy Christmas pudding.
By Kayleigh Roberts
5 Best Soda Streams for Convenient Carbonation
Upgrade your sparkling water game with a Soda Stream carbonator that'll fizz up drinks in a flash.
By Zarah A. Kavarana
3 Pro Tips for Putting Together the Best Bouquets
Essential advice for everyday enthusiasts and budding florists alike.
By Marie Claire
39 Super Easy Fourth of July Cocktails to Try
Forget the fireworks. The real show is what you can make with your bar cart.
By Bianca Rodriguez
15 Percent Pledge Calls On Stores to Dedicate Shelf Space to Black-Owned Businesses
"We must do better. So, we’re starting now."
By Kristin Salaky
The Power of 10 Restaurant Relief Effort Joins With Capital One
The collaboration has served 20,000 meals to frontline workers so far.
By Bianca Rodriguez