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Wine and Takeout: The Quintessential Combo Meal

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(Family Features) - Carryout. Delivery. Drive-thru. Heat and eat. America is a nation of on-the-go eaters. We're also a nation of wine lovers. But even after 10 steady years of wine consumption growth in this country, only about 40 percent of wine drinkers say they are likely to enjoy wine at home with takeout, according to a new study from the Wine Market Council and Merrill Research.

"Wine and food are meant to be enjoyed together - and that holds true whether you're having a five-course gourmet meal or a takeout burrito," insists wine expert Andrea Robinson, Master Sommelier and author of "Everyday Dining with Wine" and "Great Wine Made Simple." Robinson, who also hosts the new wine pairing/cooking show "Pairings with Andrea" on the Fine Living Network, has teamed up with the Wine Market Council to share wine pairings for America's favorite on-the-go eats.

  • PIZZA - The red Sangiovese grape, whether as a varietal or in the classic Chianti wine from Italy, is perfect with pizza. Sangiovese grapes have zesty acidity to complement tangy tomato sauce and cut through rich cheese. For white wine lovers, the Sauvignon Blanc grape's lively acidity and grassy character create flavor fireworks with tomato sauce, oregano and bell peppers.
  • CHINESE - Whether sweet and sour or stir-fried with soy sauce, Chinese food has lots of crunchy-sweet veggies, sometimes with a kick of spice. Pair Chinese with a wine made from the Gewürztraminer grape - the soft fruity, spicy flavors complement the veggies and contrast with the salty soy and spice. Or consider a red wine made from the soft, Gamay grape, which complements sweet and sour and hoisin sauces. The Gamay's earthiness also brings out the subtle tastes of soy, garlic and fermented black beans in stir-fry.
  • FRIED CHICKEN - There's nothing better than the scrubbing bubbles of a sparkling wine to cut through the crispy coating of fried chicken. Look for value choices like Spanish cava or American sparkling wine. For red wine lovers, wines made with soft and juicy Gamay or Beaujolais grapes have lively acidity and plush fruitiness - perfect for cutting through the richness and showcasing chicken's tenderness.
  • MEXICAN - Mexican and Tex Mex have spunky flavors that need a lively yet rich wine to beat the chili heat and complement the spark of lime while matching the richness of avocado and cheese. California and Washington wines made from rich-but-racy Fumé Blanc grapes are perfect with these foods. Another alternative is dry rosé wine, which has the fruity intensity and spice of the red grapes from which it's made while providing the lively acidity and refreshment of a white wine.
  • BARBECUE - Wines made from Riesling white grapes are the best with barbecue. The concentrated fruit of the Riesling grape stands up to even the heaviest meats. For red wine fans, the big, bold Zinfandel grape works well, offering lots of smoky and spicy flavors to stand up to barbecue's bite.

Don't see a pairing for your favorite takeout meal? Find additional pairings for other on-the-go favorites like Indian and sushi, plus tips and information at www.wineanswers.com.

SOURCE: Wine Market Council

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