Another Giveaway!

Hey, would anyone like some Potato Chips with their Champagne?  No, I’m not kidding.

See, Natalie MacLean, the author of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass, whose book I reviewed last Friday, has offered to send a free, autographed copy of her book to the person who comes up with the most interesting or unusual food and wine pairing.  Natalie loves the pairing game and has created an interactive matching tool with thousands of matches right here.  You must check it out, but I’m warning you it’s addicting.  Here’s a picture of what it looks like on her site…it’s so easy to use.

Zinfandel with your Tex Mex?  Not a problem.  A little Chardonnay with your fried chicken take-out?  Delicious.  Pinot Noir and wild boar?  Why not, Natalie says.  “The old rules about white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat just don’t give enough guidance anymore.”

Here are Natalie’s top 10 fun food and wine matches:

1.   Popcorn with Chilean Chardonnay
2.   Nachos with California Zinfandel
3.   Potato chips with French Champagne
4.   Pizza with Italian Chianti
5.   Fish and chips with German Riesling
6.   Hamburgers with Australian Shiraz
7.   Smoked Salmon with Canadian or Oregon Pinot Noir
8.   Quiche with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
9.   Canned brown beans with tawny Port
10. TV Steak Dinner with French or Washington Cabernet Sauvignon

Natalie’s amazing matching tool pairs wines with any dish: meat, pasta, seafood, vegetarian fare, pizza, eggs, cheese and even dessert, including Jell-O and fudge (for those who like to layer their vices).  You simply choose the food or wine from the drop-down menu to get the pairing suggestions.  There are also lots of recipes for those planning a meal.  The matcher is updated regularly with new dishes and wines from the 90,000-plus readers who subscribe to Natalie’s free, award-winning-e-newsletter, which offers tips on how to buy, cellar and serve wine.

So what do you have to lose?  Think of something you love to eat and pick a wine you think it will go with.

Here are some out of the ordinary wine and food pairings I have unexpectedly come across but worked well.

One night when I faced a kitchen lacking any type of dessert, a horror I can barely deal with, I fished out a box of Oreo cookies from the pantry and paired them with a Late Harvest Zinfandel.  It was actually good.

Then I discovered Vermentino with asparagus, a match made in heaven.

And on one very long car trip with my family we stopped at a diner for our evening meal.  I had pancakes.  I paired them with Merlot and surprisingly they went together well.

So you see, this is not hard.  You do not have to be a wine connoisseur to suggest something; there are no wrong answers.  Think of one food and pick a wine to go with it.  It could be a main dish, side dish, dessert, appetizer or anything.  It could also be a very specific pairing or very generic.

This is such a wonderful book and I am so excited I am able to offer another opportunity to have one!  You all deserve it.

And thanks for doing this Natalie!

So leave a comment here with your best food and wine match by tonight (Wednesday) at 10:00 PM Pacific Time.  Natalie will be picking the winner to be announced Thursday or Friday!

Good luck!  Again, you can do this.

Post a Comment


  1. How fun! How about Caramelised Pineapple with Cabernet Sauvignon? It’s yummy!

  2. Dee 2

    I’m not very good for this, but I’m always game for a bit of fun. Let’s see, papadoms+mint yoghurt+a dry riesling :)

  3. Thanks Cathy! I like the suggestions so far: very creative.

    I also hope someone can suggest if there’s any wine on the planet to make my son’s mac and cheese taste better?


    Nat Decants Free Wine Newsletter

  4. aww man…i like fresh cut, salted cucumbers and champagne–i do…

  5. I would have a tannic red with mac and cheese with enough structure to stand up to the fattiness of the cheese, but also a little bit of spice to go with the inherent sweetness of the cheese that usually goes on kids maccaroni. (Although it would depend on the cheese). I’d say a Syrah/Grenache like a Chateauneuf du Pape
    …but then I just had a crazy idea: What about an Arbois from the Jura. These can have a red-wine structure and a nuttiness that goes well with certain stronger hard cheeses.

  6. Katie 6

    Ack! I am wracked with indecision. My favorite “blow off your shorts” pairing is a crisp, acidic marlborough sauvignon blanc with green apple slices, white stilton, and candided lemon peel. The creaminess of the cheese mellows the acidity of the wine while the apples and lemon really bring out the citrus and grass flavors.

  7. Barbie with a T 7

    Went to Natalie’s site and paired my barbecue beef ribs and Shiraz. That does make an interesting combo. Our local winery makes a very good Shiraz. Messina Hof. WOW that Natalie has some fabulous recipes on her site. Thanks for the link. I am always looking for new recipes. However, between you and Emeril, I need not go any farther!

  8. Leah Q 8

    I can’t wait to see the pairing selected by your readers! Hope some of you share!

  9. Marcy 9

    Since I don’t drink alcohol anymore I’d have to say I’ll never get to try those aformentioned combos but they do sound good!

  10. Guretztraminer with pepperoni pizza!

  11. I like to eat pickles straight out of the jar, and I pair it with a lovely Shiraz. Heaven on earth.

  12. Maureen 12

    Hmm..I have so many favorites, it’s hard to decide. I’d have to go with gorgonzola stuffed turkey burgers with cranberry mustard and a Mendoza malbec.

  13. HoneyB 13

    I’ll take one of each of her suggestions – then I’m sure I can come up with another one with no problemo! :p

  14. Wow–that’s a very cool site! I will definitely use that!

    My favorite dessert wine, Bigaro, with milk chocolate and hazelnuts!

  15. Bunny 15

    Mas Amiel with Chocolate Cake. I’m an absolute dessert freak!

  16. Claudia 16

    Oysters on cracked wheat crackers with Riesling. YUM!

  17. darn…i’m not a wine drinker…but i do put M&Ms in my popcorn when i go to the movies. :)

  18. Well, this is fun.

    How about our old stand-by: A nice unoaked chardonnay with a crispy, delicious corn dog??

    It doesn’t even have to be a Wisconsin State Fair corn dog, but that helps :)

  19. Melissa 19

    How about wine….with another glass of wine???

  20. ntsc 20

    I’ll be doing a deep fried turkey in about two weeks, with BBQ ribs as the second entree.

    We think this is a beer night, but I may try a Chardonay as well.

  21. Oops! Outta my league with this one. I’m gonna scroll back and drool over those scallops one more time. : )

  22. Grilled Pineapple and Chianti

    We had it a month or two ago and OMG it was just the right balance :-D

  23. I would say peanut butter with grape jelly wine. :)

    And I would lose!

    It really is quite terrible when I sing. Dogs have howled along with me. Several times.

  24. I would eat anything and drink it with any wine. Really. I’m so not picky at all. There’s food and wine? Where do I sign up?

  25. Bunny 25

    Mas Amiel with Chocolate Cake, I am a dessert freak!

  26. I’d say a delicious homemade peach and raspberry cobbler with a bright, crisp prosecco. It would be a kind of play on the Bellini cocktail.

  27. dlyn 27

    I actually had this last night – Pico Shiraz with tricuits, mixed olives and hummus. On the porch. Watching the sun set. With Riley and Larry. Maybe you had to be there…

  28. Cheese fries with Jalapenos coupled with any bottle of cheap pinot grigio available.

    I don’t think this was what you were going for, no?

  29. Nell 29

    Well, it’s still cold here so I’m making a venison stew and pairing it with an Amarone (which I’ve never had but am so excited to go find!)

    Neat site – one I’ll use over and over!

  30. Amanda 30

    How about chocolate cake with a nice merlot… Particularly one from the Chadds Ford Winery (local here in se pa)…

  31. Daisy 31

    When I was in high school, I got to go to Italy, and while in Rome, I remember being “released” from the group adventure to go out by ourselves. We’d already had dinner so several of us went to a restaurant and ordered ice cream…. and the house red.

    Ever since then, I’ve loved the pair of ice cream (any kind really, but I think vanilla works best because it’s not complex), with a red wine… usually a shiraz, but anything that isn’t sweet. In fact, it’s almost the bitterness that makes it good – because it’s opposite the ice cream. I have no idea what my palate is thinking, but it loves it!

  32. @gorillabuns–
    I’m no wine expert, but I am well-versed on cheese fries. That sounds like a winner to me!!
    I’m kinda like Jennifer. I like some foods and some wines better than others, but I’ve yet to met one I didn’t like.

  33. I can’t wait to go try out that matching site. I never know what to pair with what.

  34. Lorrie 34

    Jenny Craig Peanut Butter Flavor Anytime Bar with an ice cold glass of Santa Margharita

  35. Rayrena 35

    I’m sorry I can’t enter the drawing (please, draw again if my name comes up!) since I don’t do well with pairings! I just love love love German MSR Reislings from Piesport but I like them solo. i just love how they smell like dirt and have so much acidity.

    Anyways, your posting about potato chips and champagne brought back great memories of Parma. It was fall, we were in a large park and the trees were turning colors. An older gentleman was sitting at an iron bistro table, wearing a chunky cable knit sweater drinking a chilly glass of champagne and eating potato chips from a silver bowl. It made me sad that I wasn’t an Italian…

  36. sharon 36

    I’d like a San Diego fish taco with a glass of Vinho Verde!

  37. Erinn 37

    Just last night I dipped big juicy strawberries in peanut butter and found that they went down sublimely with my Red Diamond Shiraz. (I stumbled upon Red Diamond at Trader Joe’s.) And for under $10 a bottle you can’t beat it, quite tasty!

  38. I’m an expert on crazy food pairings but no wine included. But I still enjoy your enjoyment of the same.

  39. Bridlewood Port paired with Carmelized Banana Brownies with Peanut butter frosting – Off the charts

  40. Andie 40

    I absolutely love a cheap bottle of Andre Pink ( I know it’s cheesy but its a throw back to my college days) with some saltines sprinkled with cheese and microwaved or put under the broiler and a slice of tomato on top.

    I have found much better things to drink since those days but there is something delicious about that still….

  41. barbara 41

    my fav match is smoked marlin and dry riesling.

  42. Sarah 42

    I like spicy Chinese take out with rose champagne. Yum!

  43. Stephanie 43

    champaigne with fresh pears and ganache drizzled over the pears…Yum!

  44. Shirley 44

    Dark chocolate covered peanuts with cabernet sauvignon.

  45. Tipper 45

    California Zinfandel and fried catfish.

  46. fresh blackberry cobbler with Pinot Noir–the taste of summer.

  47. Vicki 47

    Ever mix artichokes (simply steamed) with a white line pinot griogio? Something weird happens in your mouth, and makes both taste awful.

  48. coddled eggs w/champagne….

    sirloin steak w/petite shiraz…actually petite shiraz with anything – I know nothing about it except the 3 times I’ve had it (the petite shiraz) I’ve LOVED it!

  49. Cheryl 49

    Wow, it may not be the most elegant of combinations, but more than once I’ve had dark chocolate M&Ms with Cycles Gladiator Syrah. ;)

    (Although I tend to lean toward Melissa above…why not a glass with another glass? ;) )

  50. Shandy 50

    I LOVE the Nat Decants site! Thank you so much for sharing and it is fun. Who would have thought? =D

  51. Liz C. 51

    Hmmm… well, I must go with what I had for dinner this evening.

    We had Bohemian Highway (a 2006 California Chardonnay) with Kicked Up Black Bean, Avacado, Tomato & Corn Salad, and it was amazing.

    We also had Jamaican Jerk Grilled Salmon, which it was also amazing with.

    It was even great with the garlic toast.

    In my opinion, this wine would be excellent with many dishes. Additionally, it’s INEXPENSIVE, which satisfies my increasingly tight hubby.

  52. Daziano 52

    I would not say I like cheetos and Argentine malbec ;) … so I’ll try with my strawberries with cilantro — marinated with a warm balsamic reduction — and Chilean carmenere.

  53. Tracy 53

    My friend and I took our daughters to a Shakespeare in the park and we had a wonderful picnic together. We had a Silver Goat chevre cheese with fig jam on slices of baguette with a fruity red blend 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah (Domaine Lafond Cotes Du Rhone 2007).

  54. Ok, the fact that you thought of those combinations and executed on them is fantastic! I love that you think that way about wine and food. You have inspired me to try some of these out.thanks!

  55. Am I in time?! OMG what a fun post and contest!!! My suggestion is tuna sushi paired with Pinot Grigio. We had this combo on my b-day last month and I was in love! :D

  56. Paula 56

    Well, I missed the deadline. Oh well, I need advice about wines anyway. Still, if I had to choose, I’d close my eyes and eeny meeny miney mo, pick an Oregon wine to go with whatever graced my plate! Sad, I know.

  57. grace 57

    ah, there’s nothing i like better than settling into the couch with a can o’ brown beans and some tawny port. :) different strokes for different folks, i guess. :)

  58. Donna 58

    I know I’m too late, but I just wanted to say what a great give-away!

    If I had to choose, I would say my Funky Chunky Caramely Monkey Dessert Pizza with a nice glass of deep red Rioja!
    link to

  59. I know I’m too late but I like champagne and mango and I like sparkling Merlot with bbq!

  60. Mrs. L 60

    I completely missed the contest but I had to put in my pairing. 100% Cab with Jack in the Box Tacos. No seriously, I fell in love with my husband over this combo! Long story, but it sealed the deal for me :-)

  61. Woo 61

    Southern Fried Chicken paired with a French rosé.

  62. Timothy Selig 62

    fish sticks and muscatel
    hmmm goood!

  63. Debbie 63

    Wanted to play but my work’s security system blocked that website because of “alcohol content”.

    I’m half Italian and half Irish surly I’ve got “alcohol content” in my DNA!


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