Longing to host your friends but don’t feel like cooking? No worries. Take our advice: Order in some takeout, text your pals and spend most of your time in the wine shop picking the perfect bottles. There’s no mess, no hassle and it allows the wine—and conversation—to take center stage. Here are our tips for pairing wine with takeout, or, ahem, your “catered affair.”
The Menu: General Tso’s chicken, pork fried rice, spare ribs, Peking duck and cold sesame noodles
The Wines: The flavors used in Chinese-American cooking—five-spice powder, Szechuan pepper, duck sauce, ginger—go naturally with Syrahs, which hold up to the sweetness and spice, whether you choose restrained versions from the Rhône Valley or the fruit-forward styles of California.
The Super-Host Secret: For dessert, break out the Moscato and fortune cookies. The sweet wine goes amazingly well with those otherwise one-dimensional crisps.
The Menu: Precut maki rolls, such as spicy tuna, salmon skin and yellowtail, some nigiri, some sashimi, and a few vegetable-only rolls
The Wines: The bright tropical fruit flavors and light floral and spice notes of aromatic whites such as Albariño, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Viognier work well with seafood, and will hold up to the heat and acidity of wasabi, ginger, rice vinegar and salty soy sauce.
The Super-Host Secret: Drop a large platter off at your sushi spot, and ask them to arrange your order on it. This is far easier than transferring cut rolls from plastic to porcelain piece by piece.
The Menu: Guacamole, salsa, quesadillas and array of soft tacos
The Wines: For the guac and salsa, serve Sauvignon Blanc. Luscious Zinfandels or Malbecs are surefire bets with tacos, as the smoky notes of chilies will bring out the fruity tones.
The Super-Host Secret: After your feast, offer scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with Mexico’s cajeta, a condensed milk syrup that’s available at most grocers. Pair with Tanteo’s tasty chocolate Tequila. Sounds gross, but it’ll wow your guests.
Let The Bottle Pick Your… Pizza
When deciding what pie style to order, start with what’s in your wine rack.
If you have a Pinot Noir… Order the Margherita-style pizza with pepperoni. Pinot’s rich fruit and ample acidity pair well with tomato sauce, creamy mozzarella and cured beef spiced with cayenne, paprika and fennel.
If you have a Cabernet Franc… Order the veggie combo. The red berry flavor, earthy notes and hints of green pepper make it a clear winner with the “healthy” pizza option.
If you have a Vermentino… Order the anchovies. Vermentino’s refreshing acidity and clean, mineral notes match perfectly with these briny delights from the sea.