Comfort food pairings

Gary Vaynerchuk, host of the video podcast Wine Library TV talks about inexpensive wines that will pair quite nicely with your boxed dinner.

Food: Boxed macaroni and cheese
Wine: Spanish reds from Jumilla, like the 2005 Altos de Luzon
Why: The Monastrell grape from Spain’s Jumilla region is where it’s at, according to Gary, because it has the right amount of fruit to complement the cheesy macaroni.

Food: Beans and rice
Wine: Portuguese reds from the Dao or Douro region, like the 2007 Lello Douro
Why: The $7 price is definitely right on this medium- to full-bodied wine with “ample fruit that isn’t too over-the-top or gooey.”

Food: Cereal, like Frosted Mini-Wheats
Wine: Oregon Pinot Gris, like the 2008 Pappas Wine Company Pinot Gris
Why: Because it stands up to the sweetness of the cereal, Gary’s all about this wine, which “offers up rich pear flavors and a little hint of sweetness.”

Food: Pizza
Wine: Spritzy white Italian varietals, like the 2008 Argiolas Costamolino
Why: Gary picks a wine made from a lesser-known Italian grape, Vermentino, to balance out the rich flavors of the pizza. Also nice that it “rolls in under 10 bones.”

Food: Fried chicken
Wine: Sauvignon Blanc from Chile; check out producers like Vina Leyda, Terra Andina, and Casa Lapostolle
Why: Gary says the key here is cutting the greasiness with a little acidity. Keep an eye out for the influx of quality, cheap Sauvignon Blancs from Chile to “deliver the thunder” for under 10 bucks.

Food: Ramen
Wine: Torrontes from Argentina, like the 2008 Alamos
Why: Gary puts this wine up against anything spicy because it is “extremely floral and exotic.”

Food: Hot dogs
Wine: A red (not sticky-sweet pink!) Zinfandel from the Lodi region, like the 2006 Starry Night
Why: Gary digs the red Zinfandel blend of fruit and spice that “jives with dogs, burgers and anything else off the grill.”

BONUS ROUND: A friend calls you over for dinner and you want to bring bottle of wine. Thing is, you only have $10 to spend. What to do?

Vaynerchuck’s words of wisdom: “Ask your shop owner for the best Portuguese red they have for under $10. Chances are it’ll work well with any type of meal!”