My Fast Food & Wine Pairing Experience: Pancheros

After reading an article recently about pairing fast food options with wine, I decided to try my own version to see if it was even worth attempting to pair in my opinion.  I decided that I would like to try the concept of fast food pairing with some of my favorite carry-out options.  I want to test a spicy Chinese dish with a Rose, a local fried chicken joint with a barrel fermented Chardonnay, a local pizzeria pairing as well as a burger pairing from the local dive bar that dishes out some fabulous, juicy burgers and hand-cut fries.  My first experiment was with one of my go-to lunch/dinner on the run stops, Pancheros.

One evening I stopped at Pancheros Mexican Grill and bought a steak and carnita burrito with chips and salsa for dinner.  For those of you unfamiliar with Pancheros, it is similar to a Chipotle.  They make their own homemade tortillas and press them fresh when you order and load up the burrito with your choice of proteins and fresh vegetables (along with the typical rice and beans). In a word, delicious. On my drive home, I decided that I would try to pair it with a red wine that I had at home.  Upon finding a Tempranillo on my shelf, I decided to go for it. The Tempranillo was from Spain, the burrito derives from Mexico.  They speak Spanish in both countries.  That seemed like enough reason for me to pair them.  In all seriousness, I thought the flavors from this wine would compliment the pulled pork in my burrito.  This pairing did not fail me.  The particular wine I purchased was fairly weak in intensity, but the savory spice flavors in the wine married with the acidity of the pico de gallo and chips as well as the fresh veggies and meat in the burrito.  I would definitely put this combo together again!

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Wine & Food Pairing Tip: Aged & White Wine

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

When the wine is aged and white:

* Serve with dishes that feature similar flavors (nuts, sherry and dried fruits) to mirror the flavor profile.

* Compensate for the lost acidity in the mature wine with acidity in the dish (a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar).

Wine & Food Pairing Tip: Aged & Red Wine

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

 

When the wine is aged and red:

* Serve rare preparations of meats to fill in the flavor gaps left by the drying out of the youthful fruit that occurs as the wine develops in the bottle.

* Remember that because tannins soften over time, an aged red gives you a broader range of food options than a tannic young wine.

* Remember that wines become more delicate as they age; choose simpler preparations to show them off rather than make them compete with complex recipes.

Wine & Food Pairing Tip: Oaky Wine

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

When the wine is oaky:

* Accompany them with bold recipes, because really oaky wines will always seem “bigger” with food.

* Play up the oak through the choice of ingredients (include nuts or sweet spices) or cooking methods (lightly grilling or smoking).

* Remember that oak aging adds rich texture that can be nice with rich and textured sauces and dishes.

Wine & Food Pairing Tip: Tannic Wines

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

When the wine is tannic:

* Counterbalance the tannins by serving foods that are high in protein, fat or both.

* Remember that an entrée relatively low in protein or fat may make the wine appear more tannic.

* Remember that tannin and spicy heat can clash!

* Use pepper (cracked black or white) to counterbalance the tannins, as it is somewhat bitter by nature.

* Serve foods that are bitter (eggplant, zucchini, chard, endive, broccoli rabe, etc.) or prepare ingredients in a way that accentuates bitterness (blackening, cooking over a wood fire, or grilling) to achieve taste symmetry.

Wine & Food Pairing Tip: High Alcohol Wine

I am a firm believer that everybody should eat and drink what tastes good to them.  That simple.  Every person has a different palate.  Every person finds different tastes pleasurable.  Find what makes your tastebuds sing and go with it! That being said, there are many wine and food pairing tips that work beautifully for the majority of the population.

When the wine has a high alcohol content:

* Make sure that the dish being served is ample in personality and weight, or it will be overwhelmed.

* Don’t serve very spicy-hot food!

* Remember that food will make the wine appear even hotter.

* Avoid excessive salt, which will exaggerate your perception of the wine’s heat/alcohol.