Wine pairings aren’t just for swanky dinners anymore. Now, foodies dining on their couch at home can elevate their takeout experience, too.
Elizabeth Schneider’s mission is to make wine approachable for the everyday food and wine enthusiast. Not only is she a certified sommelier, she’s also a local expert for the wine-discovery app Vivino.
No matter what your taste buds are craving, there’s a wine pairing for it — as long as you keep a couple of things in mind.
“The way to pair is not to look at the protein, but the main flavors,” Schneider said. “You also have to think about the weight of the food and the final flavor in your mouth.”
If you think chicken has to go with white wine and steak with red, think again.
Get your wine glasses ready, we’re delivering four of the best takeout dishes around town, and their wine pairings to get you started:
Lemon curry chicken tacos from Bone Garden Cantina, 1425 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd. N.W., Atlanta.
Best wine pairing: off-dry riesling
The lemon curry chicken tacos at the quirky Westside cantina pack a warm and zesty punch. To play off the tongue-tingling flavors, Schneider recommends an off-dry riesling (“off-dry” signaling mild sweetness). “With lemon, you automatically think acid,” she said, and pairing the acidic wine with acidic food softens the heat in the curry. Look for a riesling from Germany.
Bastardo pizza from Varuni Napoli, 1540 Monroe Drive N.E., Atlanta.
Best wine pairing: montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Head to this Midtown gem for an artisan pie created by pizza mastermind Luca Varuni. Not your run-of-the-mill takeout pizza, the bastardo bites back with a kick of heat from sausage and spicy pepperoni. Bonus: It’s ready in minutes, thanks to a wood-burning oven. “With spicy food, you have to be careful,” Schneider warned. “The salt magnifies the tannins.” Montepulciano is light and fruity — the perfect partner for the spicy pizza.
Tandoori chicken from Mint Leaf, 2350 Spring Road S.E., Smyrna.
Best wine pairing: gamay
Looking for a takeout adventure? Visit Mint Leaf in Smyrna. Tandoori chicken marinates overnight in a blend of spices and yogurt, making for a juicy — yet spicy — dish. Because of that dialed-up spice, the tandoori is best paired with a lighter red wine. Schneider recommends gamay, which is a lesser known light-bodied red wine from the Beaujolais region of France. This makes it a good partner for the hotter tandoori chicken. As Schneider pointed out, “You don’t want to drown the spice; you want to complement it.”
Shrimp pad thai from Little Bangkok, 2225 Cheshire Bridge Road N.E., Atlanta.
Best wine pairing: sauvignon blanc
Popular Little Bangkok’s pad thai is just the ticket for a dose of Asian comfort food. The classic noodle dish is sweet, sour and crunchy, and is balanced nicely by a sauvignon blanc. “You don’t want something too thin, but fruity and floral, with earthiness,” Schneider said. She recommends snagging a bottle from New Zealand for optimal fruitiness.