I get this asked often in my travels: “What’s a good wine to go with (insert fast food restaurant name here)?”
This is especially so with cheap “Chinese” take-out. The answer is ridonkulously easy. Look at the color of the mess on your plate and match it with the wine. Chow mein and fried rice dishes are tasteless fodder so those don’t count.
If there’s beef involved, then go with something not oaky like a cheap merlot or blend, and always a vintage not more than two years past current date. Focus on lower-shelf dwellers and stick to Washington wines as they tend to explode with fruit and have a good spine of acid while not lingering too long on the palate.
For most of the menu, however, the selection should be a white wine (with its dominant flavor expectation) such as pinot gris (stone fruits), unoaked chardonnay (apple, grapefruit), riesling (peach, apple), orange muscat (tropical sweet), gewürztraminer (lychee) or a sauvignon blanc (lemon). None of these should set you back more than $15 per bottle at the top end.
The one caution is if the food arrives extra spicy. Red chili peppers and 13% alcohol beverages do not mesh well in the hatch. Stick to Tsingtao instead and stash the 750ml for another day.
Tasted at 49-55 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: straw. Nose: citrus, nectarines, grapefruit, tangerine, yellow flowers. Mouthfeel: medium-bodied. Tail trail: 5 seconds. Flavors: grapefruit bitters, green apple, peach. This wine is on the decline so drink your stash now. Pro tip: top-shelf pinot gris is solid for up to four years past vintage. No more.
Alcohol: 13.5%. Estate vineyard. A really sub-par website (grade: D) for such an established winery. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 1/5. Rated: 87. Value: $12. Paid: $12. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.