The right wines for pork rinds, Sno Balls and movie popcorn
September 23rd, 2011
11:15 PM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant - and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Previously – The right wines for Slim Jims, doughnuts and Spaghetti-Os

I admit to it: I work for a well-known culinary magazine (that’d be Food & Wine), I was at a fancy restaurant the other night, and I kept thinking, boy-howdy, I sort of wish I had a carnitas burrito right now. Now, I’m not sure that burritos counts as junk food, per se, but the hunger for no pretension and lots of fat and salt consumes us all from time to time.

So, to that end, here are a few more suggestions for those times when you’ve scored your package of Hostess Sno Balls and are casting about for a tasty wine to go with them. Happens all the time, right?

Hostess Sno Balls
Personally, I think a good rule of thumb is “Don’t eat anything that is spelled weird.” What happened to the ‘w’ on the end of ‘snow’ here? Would someone from Hostess like to weigh in on that?

Be that as it may, another good rule of thumb is, if you have a sweet dessert, pair it with a dessert wine that’s just a bit sweeter. I’d go for icewine—I mean, sno balls, ice wine, why not, right? The richly fruity 2007 Jackson-Triggs Proprietors’ Reserve Vidal Icewine ($25) is a fine choice.

Pickled Pigs Feet
When I was growing up, there was an ice house in Houston near where I lived that always had a big jar of these on the bar—for seventy-five cents or whatever, you could buy yourself something to snack on that looked like a laboratory specimen gone wrong. But people swore by them.

In any case, sour foods tend to make sour wines taste a touch sweeter—one reason why a tart Sauvignon Blanc is actually a good partner for a salad with a vinaigrette. So for tart, chewy, room-temperature pig trotters, well, PinotNoir. From Oregon. The place is colder than California, so the wines are a bit higher in acid. Try the 2008 Cloudline ($19), which has appealing wild berry notes.

Fried Pork Rinds
Heck yeah, deep-fried pig skin. Maybe you could make your own with three gallons of peanut oil and a football, but I wouldn’t. These things are basically a salt-and-fat explosion, which if our hearts were made of titanium a la the Terminator would be a fine thing to breakfast on every day. But as our hearts are not titanium, I’d suggest consuming your pork rinds sparingly.

Still, what you want wine-wise for an accompaniment is a medium-bodied red—you need some tannins for the fat, but salt accentuates tannins, so you don’t want anything too intense. How about a Zinfandel. Cline’s 2009 California Zinfandel ($12) offers a lot of flavor for a fair price.

Large thing of movie theater popcorn with fake butter stuff on it
How you’re going to get the wine into the movie theater I leave to you, but should you succeed, I’d suggest pairing popcorn with a nice white. Salt tends to make tart wines taste a bit less tart; but you need a little oomph for all that not-butter-but-still-greasy-stuff. Unoaked Chardonnay solves that problem, like the 2010 Brampton from South Africa ($10).

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Junk • Sip • Wine

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Aaron

    A great place for food and drink specials is They have over a million bar and restaurant deals, coupons, discounted specials and venue features. The site even features handy reviews and content from open table so you can find specials, book a reservation and get directions all in the same place. Check it out :)

    September 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  2. jj

    Pleez can i haz cheezburger?

    September 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  3. fhb15217

    Seriously, I've discovered that a nice shiraz pairs quite nicely with bronw sugar cinnamon poptarts.

    September 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  4. jay in florida

    Popcorn with wine? And sneaking booze into a movie theater for consumption? Someone should be working on their twelve steps already.

    September 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  5. MaggieJS

    This story is a hoot, and I'm definitely forwarding the link on to a friend of mine who's sort of a wine snob.

    September 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  6. jillmarie

    I've read that champagne or sparkling wine goes well with salty snacks like French fries. I've made baked fries and it does pair well.
    This was a fun read- even if I wouldn't eat any of the foods mentioned. Except for popcorn- I will actually try an unoaked Chardonnay with it- just with the kind of popcorn I'd make at home instead.

    September 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  7. JD B

    I am not sure I understand the reason for this story. Drink what you want with what you want to eat. It doesn't need to be a big thing. Unless of course you are a self proclaimed foodie trying to impress everyone around you.

    September 26, 2011 at 9:09 am |
    • Jim B

      I'm not a wine snob or somalier by any stretch of the imagination. However, I highly recommned you go to a professional food and wine pairing before you assume any wine you like will pair well with any food. I went to a food and wine pairing for the first time a few years ago, and the combinations of three different wines with specific foods caused an explosion of taste I would never have expected. It was truly a mouth-watering experience for both myself and my wife.

      September 26, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  8. F0st3rs

    Wine with popcorn or pork rinds? People are welcome to drink wine with whatever they want, it is just good manners to remove your NASCAR hat when you do it indoors.

    September 26, 2011 at 8:22 am |
    • JD B

      OMG. I love you for posting that. Living in Phoenix one of my biggest gripes is that here they think going to a NASCAR race is a show of appreciating culture.

      September 26, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  9. alf

    nothing goes better with popcorn than a simple coke/pepsi. Sweet drinks always go best with salty food.

    September 25, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  10. Don

    I enjoy sparkling wine with my pork rinds.

    September 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Friendly Fisherman

      A fish on the line goes well with my pork rinds.

      September 26, 2011 at 7:17 am |
  11. Noxious Sunshine

    Haha.. There's a movie theatre in downtown Nashville that sells alcoholic beverages.. Besides that, if I -really wanted to sneak wine insode, all i'd have to do is pour it into a plastic bottle w lid of some sort, order a water w extra ice, dump the water out in a sink or something, then pour in the wine once we've sat down to enjoy our movie.

    September 24, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  12. michele

    I respectfully disagree regarding the rule of thumb regarding pairing a sweet food with a sweeter wine. I do think pairing sweet foods with sweet wines is the way to go, but the level of sweet in the food and the level of sweet in the wine have to at most match. I have 28 sweet teeth and they love sugar more than anybody, but if the wine I'm drinking with my sweet dish (whether savory sweet or dessert) is sweeter, it won't be all that pleasant. I think choosing a sweet wine with some weight, acidity, and/or prominent flavors other than "sugar" would make for a nice pairing.

    September 24, 2011 at 7:37 am |
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