As badass busy women, the occasional takeout or delivery dinner is basically unavoidable. There’s no shame in a Wednesday night spread of paper cartons and twice-microwaved beef and broccoli! But there is a way to make it a little more glamorous. Below, we present to you the best wine and takeout pairings, courtesy of sommelier and established wine writer Jim Clarke.
“When paired with wine, the food is in effect elevated, and so we begin to think a bit more about the pleasures it offers; it may be 'only takeout,' but we pay more attention to its textures and flavors,” says Clarke. "These pairings also take away the formality that sometimes stiffens wine drinking—a reminder that fascinating and complex as it can be, wine is still just fermented grape juice." Check out the pairings, and links to Clarke’s preferred brands, below.
1. Chinese Food and Crisp Sauvignon Blanc
“Chinese is a broad category, but soy-forward lo-mein noodles or fried rice are often a common denominator. The delicate floral notes and crisp minerality of a good Sauvignon can cut nicely through these Chinese staples,” Clarke explains. ($17; wine.com)
2. Pepperoni Pizza and Italian Sangiovese
“It’s true that there’s no beating pizza and beer (even the Italians prefer this combination), but if you’re going to do wine, Italy’s hallmark Sangiovese is a good place to start,” says Clarke. “The complexity of a Chianti Classico Riserva might be a little much for pizza, but a friendly, soft Rosso di Montepulciano or Rosso di Montalcino will provide the dryness necessary to stand up to pepperoni and sausage, while remaining light enough for the relatively simple ingredients.” ($18; astorwines.com)
3. Sushi and an Extra Dry Vermouth
“A well-crafted vermouth can be wonderfully light and floral on the nose but have a pleasantly surprising dry finish. It’s perfect for maintaining that light freshness we expect from a sushi dinner, while really drawing out the umami characteristics of our raw fish of choice,” suggests Clarke. ($24; drinkupny.com)
4. Burgers and Cabernet or Merlot
“A meaty, greasy burger calls for a big bold red. And the relative dryness, structure, and succulence of most food-friendly Cab blends will bring out the peppery, savory, pseudo-grilled qualities of your favorite flame-broiled fast lunch,” Clarke says. ($21; wine.com)
5. Burritos and a Savory Syrah
“While the peppery notes of the Syrah grape make for an interesting burrito accompaniment, spice in a dish and spice in a wine are very different,” Clarke explains. “What's more important here is that the red wine's tannins be ripe and soft; otherwise the spice of the chipotle chicken or fajita steak will make them taste harsh. More and more producers are making approachable red blends with food in mind, and a lot of times, Syrah is the grape of choice.” ($13; getwineonline.com)