You don’t need fine dining to break out a bottle— these fast food wine pairings are surprisingly seamless. 

Mcdonald’s French Fries & Cava

Champagne and french fries are no secret, but french fries and Cava take things up a notch. If you haven’t had Cava before, let me make an introduction. It’s a Catalonian (Spanish) sparkling wine made in the traditional method just like Champagne, but it’s way more affordable. 

Most Cavas are made with Macabeo, Parellada or Xarel·lo– it’s crisp, refreshing and light, with zesty flavors of meyer lemon and green apple. Cava tends to be a bit lower in acidity than Champagne, giving it a rounder palette– which makes it even more quaffable, in my book.

Those zesty flavors are prime for a supremely salty McDonald’s french fry. The bubbly, citrusy, goodness balances the oily deep fry, and we’re… lovin’ it. 

We went with McDonalds for this pairing because everyone has one in their backyard, but Cava would do well with any french fry situation. Now THAT is a Happy Meal.

Chipotle Chips with Guacamole & Grenache Rosé 

Chipotle is often left out of fast food round ups, but we wouldn’t dare overlook this fast-casual loveshack. Their muse is guacamole– is it cliché to say that we know it’s extra? Probably, but we don’t care. Tack on the extra charge if that’s what it takes to get a heap of the limiest, saltiest, freshest fast food guac on our radar. 

To pair with it, I’m bringing out the grenache rosé– hear me out. Grenache rosé offers notes of sugared lime zest, pomello, Ranier cherry, raspberry, strawberry, and cucumber… See where we’re going with this? Fresh meets fresh in this pairing. Grenache rosé is the ideal complement to a citrus-heavy endeavor like the Chipotle guac.  

Panda Express Orange Chicken & Gewürztraminer

We aren’t reinventing the wheel here. Gewürztraminer belongs with tangy, spicy Asian flavors. And look, we know that Panda Express is far from Chinese cuisine, but what did you expect?? You’re the one that clicked on the fast food article, but I digress…. Panda Express resolves our MSG cravings in a pinch, that’s why we love it, and Gewürztraminer brings out all of its best qualities. 

Gewürztraminer is floral, funky, and on the sweeter side, with notes of lychee, stonefruit, tangerine, lemongrass and ginger. Its fruit-forward character compliments the ultra-tang of Panda’s orange chicken. It’s just a seamless pair. 

Popeyes Chicken Spicy Sandwich & Sauvignon Blanc 

We won’t get too into the weeds on regional fast food chicken, because we know how seriously some of y’all ride for your go-to chicken sandwich spots. (I mean, we all remember the Popeyes chicken sandwich mayhem, right?) So let me cut to the chase, sauvignon blanc is great with most every chicken sandwich, we’re just using Popeyes as a prime example. 

Sauvignon blanc is light bodied, high in acid, and blooming with loads of honeydew melon, white peaches, pomello, and passionfruit. All that big fruit energy is divine with a spicy sandwich. This wine’s summery fruit character enhances the Nashville-inspired spice and mellows any lingering twinges of heat. 

The Popeyes sandwich comes extra crispy with white meat, a dollop of mayo, and pickle slices on a gloriously squishy potato bun. The spice here is super mild, so there’s no need to reach for a moscato to level out the heat. A dry sauv blanc does the trick here, it’s so refreshing with this heavy comfort classic.

Five Guys Cheeseburger & Cabernet Sauvignon

A cheeseburger and Napa cab–it’s as American as apple pie. 

The Five Guys burger is classic in every way. They keep it classic with all the fixins: two beef patties, american cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. Seriously, what else could you need from a burger? 

Cabernet Sauvignon is a red wine known for its bold and robust character. It typically exhibits flavors of blackcurrant, blackberry, and plum, which contribute to its fruity profile. The wine often showcases hints of cedar, tobacco, and spices, adding layers of complexity and a touch of earthiness. Cabernet Sauvignon is usually characterized by firm tannins, which give the wine structure and a slightly drying sensation.

The rich, savory flavors of the Five Guys cheeseburger find a complementary match in the bold fruitiness of the Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine’s tannins help cleanse the palate, cutting through the richness of the burger and preparing the taste buds for the next bite. Meanwhile, the robust character of the Cabernet Sauvignon holds up well against the intense flavors of the cheeseburger, ensuring that neither element overpowers the other.

In summary, the pairing of a Five Guys cheeseburger with a Cabernet Sauvignon creates a satisfying combination of flavors. The burger’s savory, creamy, and tangy components meld with the bold fruitiness, earthiness, and firm tannins of the wine. This pairing allows each element to shine while enhancing the overall dining experience.

Wingstop Buffalo Wings & Riesling 

Wings and beer are so yesterday. If you want to balance your buffalo wings like a pro, pop open a bottle of riesling. Wingstop’s buffalo wings are known for their bold and spicy characteristics, while Riesling wine offers a balance of sweetness, acidity, and fruitiness.

These buffalo wings are slathered with a tangy and slightly spicy buffalo sauce made of vinegar, cayenne pepper, and other spices, resulting in an uber-flavorful and zesty profile. The wings themselves are crispy on the outside, providing a satisfying texture that contrasts with the tender meat inside.

Riesling can range from bone dry to lusciously sweet. When pairing Riesling with buffalo wings, a slightly off-dry (or what the Germans call spätlese) or semi-sweet (a.k.a auslese) Riesling is our recommendation. If buffalo sauce pushes your limits of spice tolerance, a sweeter riesling (see: beerenauslese) will cool off some of that spice. If the buffalo spice is light work for you, opt for a drier riesling (called kabinett or trocken in Germany).

But overall, riesling’s vibrant acidity and fruity notes complement the tanginess of the buffalo sauce. The combination of sweetness, acidity, and fruitiness in Riesling creates a refreshing and palate-cleansing effect when enjoyed alongside the intense flavors of buffalo wings.

Domino’s Pepperoni Pizza & Sangiovese 

“Italian” food and wine? This one is a no brainer– like they say, what grows together goes together. The rich and savory characteristics of the pepperoni pizza harmonize with the robust and fruity notes of Sangiovese. This is one of our favorite wine picks for pizza, and Domino’s is no exception.

Domino’s pepperoni pizza features a crispy crust topped with tangy tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella cheese, and slices of spicy pepperoni. The pepperoni adds a zesty and slightly smoky flavor to the pizza, while the tomato sauce provides a touch of acidic tang. The combination of these elements creates a savory, umami-rich taste with a hint of spiciness.

Sangiovese, on the other hand, is a red wine varietal originating from Italy. It is known for its medium to full body, vibrant acidity, and fruity flavors. Sangiovese often exhibits notes of cherries, red berries, and plums, along with herbal undertones. The wine’s acidity helps cut through the richness of the cheese and pepperoni, cleansing the palate and balancing the flavors.

When paired together, the saltiness and spiciness of the pizza are balanced by the fruity and acidic characteristics of the Sangiovese. The wine’s red fruit flavors complement the tanginess of the tomato sauce, while its moderate tannins provide structure and enhance the overall experience. Mama mia!

In & Out Burger Animal Fries & Orange Wine

In & Out animal fries and orange wine may seem like an unconventional pairing at first, but they can actually complement each other quite well.

Animal fries are an indulgence. These greasy, crispy fries are topped with melted American cheese, jammy grilled onions, and their house spread. The cheese is creamy, the grilled onions provide a hint of sweetness and a caramelized flavor. The spread adds tanginess and a touch of acidity.

On the other hand, orange wine is a unique style of wine that undergoes an extended maceration process with the grape skins, this process imparts a distinct amber color and robust flavors. Orange wine tends to have a complex taste profile, with notes of dried fruit, honey, spice, and sometimes a slight tannic grip. It can range from medium to full bodied and can exhibit a range of flavors from floral and nutty to citrusy and oxidative.

The richness and creaminess of the animal fries are balanced by the acidity and slight tannins found in orange wine. The wine’s dried fruit and honey notes can harmonize with the caramelized sweetness of the grilled onions on the fries, and  the tanginess of the spread can find a counterpart in the citrusy and oxidative elements of the wine. It’s a weird mix, but it totally works.

Final Words

Now that we have explored the realm of fast food and wine– is there anything you think we missed? Tag us your fast food wine pairings with us @lastbottlewines! And stock up your cellar with our daily offer so you’re ready for your next drive through run!