Why sparkling wine and fast food are a perfect pairing

Summer Lee
By Summer Lee
about 23 hours ago
4 min read

Think you need to spring for oysters or caviar next time you pop the cork on a bottle of Champagne? Think again. Sparkling wines love grease and salt almost as much as you do after a health kick or a morning after the night before. 

Despite its high-brow image, even the finest Champagnes aren’t afraid to get a little down and dirty with classic low-brow dishes. In fact, sparkling wines and fried, fatty food are an unlikely match made in culinary heaven. 

Don’t believe us? Here are five pairings that prove it. 

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Finger-lickin’ chicken and cava 

Fried chicken and a glass of fizz was an early champion of the foodie trend for pairing low-brow dining with high-brow drinking. Sparkling wine’s natural acidity cuts through the tongue-coating feel of greasy dishes, with the bubbles cleansing your palate between each mouthful and complimenting the satisfying crunch of deep-fried goodness. And no dish captures this quite like juicy, crispy fried chicken. Order yourself a bucket of drumsticks and pair it with Spain’s answer to Champagne – cava. A brut-style cava (‘brut’ sparklings offer a dry mouthfeel and low sweetness) brings a welcome freshness to the flavour experience and makes every bite as finger-licking tasty as the first.  

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A cheeseburger and sparkling rosé

Sparkling rosé primarily gets that dainty pink hue from the addition of a little red wine (the rosé d’assemblage method, if you want to impress the wine snobs in the room) or by allowing minimal skin contact (rosé de saignée). The added depth of flavour that both techniques create make sparkling rosé an underrated food-pairing workhorse. With a cheesy, greasy burger, a dry sparkling rosé lightens up proceedings while having the body to stand up to the protein of the patty. Take up a burger in one hand and a glass in the other, and you’ll soon be a convert. And we’re not talking artisan burgers here – a Macca’s cheeseburger, pickle and all, will do nicely.

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Hot chips and extra brut

Do you dip your chips in tomato sauce or douse them in vinegar? Maybe you’re on the mayo bandwagon (don’t diss it ’till you’ve tried it). Next time, try skipping the condiments altogether and reaching for the champers instead. A bowl of crunchy, salty hot chips is a dream pairing with a dry sparkling wine – try an extra brut Champagne, which contains low or no ‘dosage’ (the sugars often added to sparkling wines for balance). Even legendary French Champagne house Moët & Chandon recommends pairing one of their drops with a serving of pommes frites don’t mind if we do.

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Spring rolls and prosecco

Fried spring rolls may be a cheap eats classic in Australia, but in Chinese tradition spring rolls represent wealth – so pairing them with sparkling wine is fitting, really. Hailing from Italy, prosecco is traditionally made with the fruit-forward glera grape and undergoes second fermentation in tanks (unlike Champagne made in the traditional method, which ferments in bottle). All wine-wankery aside, this combo of the glera and tank fermentation results in a fresh, delicate sparkling that cosies up nicely to the umami (that elusive, savoury ‘fifth taste’) of Chinese cuisine. The sweeter aromatics of a prosecco contrast nicely with a salty spring roll, with the effervescence of the wine playing up the crunch of the fried wrapper. If you’re in a bit of a nostalgic mood, we’ll forgive substituting a Chiko Roll for the spring variety. 

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Fish ‘n’ chips with blanc de blancs

Blanc de blancs (literally meaning ‘white of whites’ in French) is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a sparkling wine made entirely from white grapes, most commonly chardonnay. The citrus profiles and low-key minerality of blanc de blanc enhance the subtle flavours of a nice bit of mild fish like flathead or whiting, while cutting through the hearty batter. We’re partial to our very own Bisou Bisou Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine, crafted with our friends from the Yarra Valley, De Bortoli. Throw in a couple of crumbed calamari rings, and you’ll never look back.

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