It's a Friday night and, after a long hard week, odds are you're staying in and eating cheap. The only question, of course, is what wine to have with your wallet-friendly takeout food.
There are no hard-and-fast rules, but here are the ones we tend to follow for the myriad takeout food options, ethnic and otherwise:
Thai: Get an off-dry riesling. The sweetness and spiciness pairs perfectly with green curry. Our pick: Dr. L ($12), made by one of Germany's most famous and successful winemakers, Ernst Loosen. A delicious wine at a great price.
Chinese: This is a tough one since Chinese food can be spicy, mild, steamed, fried--you name it. Generally, with the lighter, milder options, we go for chardonnay, such as a basic white Burgundy. For the more powerful, heavier dishes, try a red Bordeaux. The Chinese themselves love it, after all. There's plenty of Medoc from 2011, 2012 and 2013 on the shelves for under $15 that will do the trick.
Sushi: New Zealand sauvignon blanc is a perfect match--and there are oodles of selections for under $12. If you prefer red, try a pinot noir from New Zealand, which won't overpower the fish. Big brands such as Oyster Bay, Villa Maria and Nobilo offer great bang for the buck on both varieties.
Pizza: Do what the Italians do! Drink sangiovese. The acidity and fruit are the perfect balance with pizza, from Domino's to gourmet. A Chianti Classico is always a safe bet. Or if you want to be different, try an aglianico or nero d’avola.
Mexican: While it makes sense to pair a basic Rioja--such as Marques de Casceras ($13)--with Mexican food, in many ways this cuisine is as varied as Chinese food. Some takeout items are spicy, some are hearty, some are mild. For whites, we like a Chenin Blanc such as Mulderbosch from South Africa ($12), a great match for fish tacos. And for red, try a versatile, reliable malbec such as Catena Alamos Malbec ($9).
What's your favorite wine-takeout pairing? Share it with us below.