What about that drive you took, when you pulled into a roadside stand, sat on top of a picnic table and ate the most delicious Italian beef sandwich and fries of your life? Would wine have made that better? Probably not.
Wine with fast food, junk food, ballpark food, candy and breakfast — it all makes me shrug. You can do it, and you can probably find a decent wine match for any food imaginable. But do you really want to? Do you really want a glass of wine to accompany your grandstand hot dog with mustard, onions, relish and tomatoes? Your movie theater box of Mike and Ike candy? That roadside beef sandwich with sweet and hot peppers, and a few judicious dabs of sweet ketchup and tangy horseradish?
Drinking wine with food brings a lot of baggage, a lot of connotation, and sometimes you just don’t want that — even when it’s good baggage. Sometimes you just want something else when you’ve got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a bag of potato chips, or a sack of fast-food burgers. Even though you can find wine matches for those foods, sometimes you’re better off not even looking for them.
Every time I drink wine, I go to a place in my mind that feels like a gentle, controlled floating, as if I have just jumped out of an airplane and a wide parachute has snapped open above me. All I have to do at that point is take in the lovely view, feel the wind on my face and float peacefully down to my landing spot. I surrender a little bit to the wine each time it’s warranted.
Of course, any situation can be appropriate for wine consumption as long as you decide it is. If you want to drink wine with Good & Plenty, blueberry waffles or jalapeno poppers, you go right ahead — and have a ball with it. But I will probably take a pass.
Wacky pairings can be fun, but in my opinion, wine is much better in situations where it can offer everything it has — not just the aromas, flavors and textures, but the influence on your mind and soul too. Let it register within you — you’re dining with wine — and allow the wine to deliver the gentle, blissful descent under that trustworthy canopy, with open sky and the distant horizon seeming to expand in every direction.