If you ever want a glass of wine with your Mickey D's this handy, item-by-item breakdown of what works and what misses will be right up your alley!
Check out the full article for a listing of wines tasted for this project
Wow, it’s been like decades since I’ve had one of these vaguely fishy tartar sauce and cheese sandwiches on soft brioche! You’d think that this would be an obvious pairing, keep it simple and fresh. In a way that pretty much worked out but with one surprise.
The Sauvignon Blanc did work well with the sandwich; its green herbal accents supporting the pickle elements in the tartar with the acid helping to cut through the cheese and mayo. The surprise was that the rosé with more assertive fruit really performed very well, actually enhancing the fish flavor!
The duds here were all the reds (no surprise) and the oaky Chenin Blanc, but I was surprised at how poorly the Prosecco showed, dried out and just making the pairing seem sweet and clumsy.
Grilled Chicken Ranch BLT
This is a sort of misleading dish. Yes, it’s based on grilled chicken, but the flavor is dominated by smoky bacon. Here the Sauvignon Blanc didn’t stand a chance and came off as lean and attenuated, as did the Valpolicella. While the Prosecco did better than with the Filet-o-Fish, it still came off as a bit sweet, as did the rosé. The bigger reds just crushed the flavors of the sandwich, but the big winner was the Spice Route Chenin Blanc.
Not only was this a winning combination, but it worked so well that it improved both the wine and the sandwich. The bacon helped tone down the smoky oak of the wine and the oak in the wine tempered the effect of the bacon, allowing the chicken to take center stage. A truly successful pairing!
Chicken McNuggets (Plain)
As I mentioned earlier, with nine sauces to choose from, most too sweet to work well with dry wines, I opted to pair the plain McNuggets with the wines. The Sauvignon Blanc came off as a bit sweet at first then harshly acidic on the finish, while the Chenin Blanc showed bitter oak on its finish. The reds universally crushed the chicken and turned bitter.
That leaves the rosé, which worked well, turning a bit fruitier but with good length and just the right acid level to balance the greasy McNuggets.
The real winner here was the Prosecco, which turned gently creamy as the acid was tempered by the McNugget, yet was not so intense as to overpower the flavor of the McNugget. This pairing may not work with many of the dipping sauces but it’s pretty damn good on its own!
The Big Mac
Is this McDonald's best selling burger? It surely is iconic so I spent extra time with my Big Mac, pairing wines of course. And the results were surprising.
The Prosecco and Sauvignon Blanc once again turned a bit too sweet when paired with the Big Mac, with the Sauvignon turning noticeably spicy on the finish. The Chenin Blanc, on the other hand, really turned oaky and smoky in this match-up with a finish that basically disappeared.
This highlighting of the oak also occurred with the Malbec, though the fruit of the Malbec did work fairly well with the Big Mac. The rosé on the other hand had just the right level of fruit to work with the burger and once again the acid levels seemed to pair up particularly well with this dish.
The Big Mac - Winners
Here it was finally time for the reds and in a weird twist, both the lighter bodied Valpolicella and richer Merlot worked well. The Valpolicella offered a fresh, winey counterpoint to the Big Mac’s flavors, while the burger really helped the fruit in the Merlot to pop. The fact that the wine had a subtle, olivey/savory side to it just added to the overall experience.