Pick Wine for Fast Food
In the interest of full disclosure, I eat fast food with guilt. I gravitate toward an assembly line meal's stronger flavors, despite knowing I'm often choosing the least healthy option on the menu. To compensate for the large number of deliciously greasy calories, I pass on the fries and the supersize soda. But the lack of a sweet cold liquid leaves me craving something more.
My second confession is easier to admit: I drink strong peppery red wines with just about everything.
Even though I'm an avid reader of wine magazines, a veteran of wine club tastings and known among my friends for my improper thoughts, it still took time for me to concoct the odd idea to combine my two vices: A wonderfully deep fruity zinfandel would be just about perfect with my new favorite mushroom Swiss burger (I'm a sucker for those "limited time" sandwiches, too). The wine's peppery plums, hints of herb and a strong currant nose fit so well with the rich mushroom reduction, subtle creamy Swiss paste and firm sesame bun that for a moment I could not remember the reason they weren't delivered through the window of my car as a packaged meal deal.
"Hi, could I have value meal No. 5? Yes, with the Sonoma zinfandel, unless the chef has a different suggestion. Okay, supersize please."
After a little experimentation, turns out my odd pairing isn't so odd. The current fast food fixation on lighter, fresher foods and spicier sauces is made for a stronger drink. More suggestions for fast-food favorites made to pair with wines that usually cost less than $15:
Wine: 2002 Vina Alarba Old Vines Grenache
Why it works: Armand's uses a fresh tomato herb sauce that melds beautifully with the hot weather Spanish grapes in this fruity grenache.
BAJA FRESH BURRITO
Wine: 2001 Jacob's Creek Shiraz Cabernet South Eastern Australia