Tastes Like Grape: food delivery and wine pairings

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      By Martina Maude 

      I wanted to start with a simple truth: it’s hard to plan. 

      The challenge isn’t in just making things happen. It’s doing so with the same initiative all year round. Especially now that the beaches have cleared and the PSL drones have marched in, the scales of effort are leaning lazy. Even as a prolific yes-woman, the colder it gets, the more inclined I am to choose the easier route as my default; this mentality seeps into my social plans, clothes, and even eating. Commitments outside in that all-so-real world are cut in half in the fall and winter. But I want to change the seasonal narrative. 

      Intention. That’s what this new season is about. Unlocking the true potential in every scenario with a splash of planning.

      This, I’ve decided, has to also apply to the somewhat daunting ritual of ordering in. The habit, which was once a tasty and well calculated decision, is now a necessity to help manage a stacked calendar: 50 hours in an office, side hustles, sneaky links, staying up to date with girlfriends, and remaining somewhat sane. Oh, scribble in sporadic visits to the gym. The convenience of it all has lost its shiny mystique.

      Transforming a night in doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to be doable. Even for someone passionate about finding the perfect bottle of wine for the perfect delivery meal, search results can be defeating and impractical. Let’s face it: generic lists of cheeses or redundant seafood or red meat recommendations don’t cut it.

      So I’ve done the extremely difficult (read: delicious) task of tasting, sipping, and documenting Vancouver takeout food options that you can actually have on any given night, and pairing them with locally-available bottles of vino.

      Chicken + sparkling

      If you think waffles pair well with breaded-and-fried goodness, then this is perfect for you. Sparkling wine isn’t my go-to; it’s probably the last thing I pick up for myself. But this changed my mind. The diversity in flavour profiles simultaneously calm both the bubbles from the sparkling and the saltiness and crispiness of the chicken. You’ll be delighted with every sip! 

      Recommendation: Domaine Rolet Crémant du Jura Blanc Brut (BCL or Sutton Place Wine Merchant, $38.99) + Mogu Fried Chicken 

      Sushi + chardonnay 

      Admittedly, finding this combination required some trial and error. First I picked up a bottle of sake, which I assumed would be an easy connection. I found, however, that the sake was too distinctive and the sushi was too delicate. Cue an unoaked chardonnay. I was a bit skeptical to try this, but WineTok did not disappoint. The high acidity and minerality balance the fats in the fish, causing a smooth and harmonious bite.

      Recommendation: Meyer Chardonnay (Sutton Place Wine Merchant, $27.49) + Yomato’s Tuna or Assorted Sashimi 

      Ramen + viognier 

      Of all the go-to comfort food dinners, ramen seemed the most intimidating to find a match for. There was a brief moment when I thought the only answer was beer until the incredible team at Liberty steered me in the right direction. A French white grape, the viognier is a wine that can stand up to bold favours. Its crispness, freshness, and slight sweetness brightens the richness and earthiness of a traditional pork broth.

      Recommendation: Château de Pennautier Viognier de Pennautier ($25.99 at Liberty) + JINYA Tonkotsu

      Pizza + red blends

      I’d be doing a disservice to appetites everywhere if the arguably most classic meal in the world wasn’t added in this list. There’s a foolproof rule that can guide your wine choice: match the sauce. For pizza, you’ll want to find wine that brings contrast to the sauce. Since tomato sauce has some acidity to it, a crushable medium-bodied wine will do the trick. If you’re not going full tilt, you can pair your solo order with ViaVino: a brand that’s subbed glass bottles with tetrapacks that are super affordable and are three glasses instead of five. 

      Recommendation: AJ’s The Supreme New Yorker + ViaVino’s Rosso ($13.17 at Steamworks Spirits)

      Cheers, at-home diners.