The Best Wine and Comfort Food Pairings You Can Find

There's no shame in having a glass of red alongside the soul-soothing warmth of meatloaf


Easy, peasy, mac and cheesey?

After an exhausting day we tend to rely on two things to console our weary souls: comfort food and a glass of wine. So why don’t we ever combine those remedies into one magical experience? We often discuss wine in terms of notes and complex flavors, while comfort food evokes a sense of well-being through scent and taste as well. Luckily, the county has plenty of yummy, nostalgia-inducing home-style favorites, so if you’ve been looking to maximize your soul-soothing try a few of these comfort food and wine pairing recommendations from James Zecca of Varmax Liquor Pantry.


Grilled Cheese or Mac and Cheese

As a rule of thumb, Zecca recommends always going with a wine you really enjoy. Basically you shouldn't go out of your way to try a superfluous pairing when it could ruin the point of eating comfort in the first place.

However, if you’re looking to pair a wine with a cheesy dish, like mac and cheese, Zecca says to look for a white that will “cut through the fat.” Something high in acidity to cleanse your palate, leaving you refreshed and ready for the next bite of cheesy goodness. “I’d go with a dry Pinot Gris,” says Zecca.


Fried Foods

The crisp, deep-fried breading of foods like fried chicken or crab cakes is possibly one of the most satisfying comfort foods around, but they can also be pretty greasy. Zecca recommends going for something oaky to cut through the grease, like a Pinot Noir. If you’re looking for a white, try to find a buttery Napa Chardonnay.  



It’s almost as if everyone’s mother has a unique way of constructing this, well, sauce-or-gravy-drizzled loaf of meat. But it always finds away into your heart, so Zecca recommends pairing meatloaf with a big and juicy red. In particular, give a California Zinfandel a try.


We recommend trying the meatloaf at The Cabin Restaurant in White Plains 



Soup is often the go-to comfort food on a rainy day. And ramen, loaded with noodles and other tasty bites, leaves you filled and satisfied like no other. However, because he loves ramen so much, Zecca stayed away from recommending a wine to pair with it. He felt it important to give this piece of advice: “Keep pairings within a style.” That’s why he recommended instead trying sake along with your bowl of ramen, particularly an aged, high-quality daiginjo. At New Rochelle’s Roc-N-Ramen, Zecca tried a jerk chicken ramen, which he recommends pairing with a medium sweet sake.


Shepard’s Pie

Having juicy chopped meat like the meatloaf, Zecca recommends going for a red. With a shepard’s pie, he advises trying a Côtes du Rhône, which is typically very food friendly, even for beginners. 

Interested in all things Wine & Food? Learn more about Westchester Magazine's Wine & Food Festival, June 8-10, 2017.



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