Red Wine and Fried Chicken Pairing Sure to Ruffle Some Feathers

Ilustration by Andrew Saeger, tHEARTdept.
Hey, fellow lushes!

The other night I fried some chicken, turning my kitchen floor into an oil slick, but so what? It was so worth it. Just as that bird was turning perfectly golden in the cast iron full of molten lard, my better half comes up and starts speaking to me in a stricken tone, like the one he uses when he talks about the busted derailler on his beloved bike or Ichiro's dismal batting average: "We don't have any white wine!"

Chill, Mr. Man. Let's open up that Maryhill Merlot.

Some people stick by the old white-wine-with-chicken/fish and red-wine-with-red-meat rules like they're gonna be stripped of drinking privileges and hauled away to jail if they don't. The Wino is much more relaxed, going for the drink-what-the-hell-you-like party line.

Sure, some classic wine/food pairings make a lot of sense: A juicy steak makes cabernet sauvignon taste even better. (Or does the cab make the steak taste even better?) Asian food and riesling make beautiful music together, as does a California zinfandel and the Quarter-Pounder. (Not the Big Mac, though. That spicy red just doesn't play well with the complexities of Mickey D's secret sauce.)

Traditions are great, but half the fun of drinking wine while eating is coming up with your own killer combos. And, you know what? That 2007 Maryhill Merlot went well with that fried chicken, the wine's jammy berry and plum fruitiness a counterpoint to the rich, crispy bird. Kinda like the way ketchup works with fries. I love thinking about wine as a condiment to food.

After wiping the last bit of grease off my smiling mug, The Wino gives Maryhill Merlot four out of four brown paper bags!

If you want to try playing the match game with great food and wine, you really should go to Lamb Jam from 3 to 6 on Sunday at Bell Harbor International Conference Center. There will be 20 chefs try to kick each other's tails in this heated cooking competition and 30 wineries. (And beer from The Pike Brewing Company.) The Wino cracked the discount ticket code for this event! Plug in SEAJAM and you'll get 30 percent off the $50 ticket price on this site. Ewe better believe The Wino's gonna be there!

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