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Wine Pairings for Parents: What You Need to Know Before Eating Your Kids’ Leftovers

Written by David

You’ve successfully (to one degree or another) trundled them off to bed, with teeth brushed, stories read, and songs sung. They’re asleep – finally. You can breathe a small sigh of relief. Returning to the kitchen you see the leftover remains of the dinner they were supposed to finish. Sure, you were able to convince them to eat most of it (or was it begging thinly disguised as plaintive coercion? Yeah, probably that…), but still there lies a good portion in remainder. You’re certainly not going to let it go to waste. The only question remains: what to pair with it?…

‘Tater ‘Tots & Fish Sticks

White wine is certainly an easy go-to since it’s white fish we’re talking about, but between the breading for the fish and the saltiness of the ‘tater ‘tot we shouldn’t go for anything wimpy. Australian Chardonnay with a touch of oak aging will do the trick. The Aussie Chards tend not to be massive fruit bombs and have a decent seam of acidity which will offer a nice palate cleanser from the richness of the dish.

Goldfish Crackers & Celery With Peanut Butter

This is a bit of a toughie since there’s a number of flavours going on here, but you could do much worse than a French Syrah from the Northern Rhone Valley, or failing that a Syrah-dominated blend from Southern Rhone or Languedoc regions. French Syrahs tend to have a smokiness that borders on bacon-y at times, which will work nicely with the sharp cheese flavour of the crackers and the peanut. There’s also usually some good dry tannins which will work nicely with the creaminess here. There also tends to be an herbal note to French Syrah, so the celery won’t feel too out of place.

“Breakfast For Dinner” (a.k.a. Eggs and Toast)

Another difficult pairing, since eggs tend to mute a lot of flavours in wine. Fret not, though – bubbly to the rescue! With its bright acidity and effervescence, sparkling wine will do an admirable job of cutting through the tongue-coating yolk (not to mention the buttered toast) and refresh the mouth after each bite. Skip the Prosecco with its middling value and go for a more refined Spanish Cava or French Crémant.

Hot Dogs & Fries

Ah, the classics never die. You can go to either side of the fence with this one and choose a lighter red or a nice white wine. For a white, the natural choice for the pork in the hot dog is a Riesling, preferably an off-dry German-style one or a dry but fuller bodied offering from Alsace, France. If you want something a little more rouge then try a Merlot. Don’t fall into the anti-hype from that movie “Sideways”. Merlot has been unjustly maligned in the last decade or so, which is unfortunate because it’s a beautiful and versatile wine which usually offers good value for the money.

“Pasghetti” With Red Sauce

Be it one noodle or another, odds are your kid has an affinity for pasta. This one is a no brainer: as often as possible one should pair regional wine with regional food, so off to Italy we go. This time, skip the Chianti (not hatin’!) and try something new. Hailing from the heel of the proverbial boot, an area known as Puglia, there lives two delicious and high value red wines that go great with pasta dishes (as well as pizza, by the by); they are Primitivo and Salice Salentino. The former is the local name for Zinfandel, but you’ll find it more restrained and less bombastic than its Californian counterparts. Still, lots of jammy black fruit and earthiness there. The latter is a wine made from an obscure but tasty grape called Negroamaro. Light-to-medium bodied with a velvety texture, dusty dryness and elegant red fruit notes.

Have some suggestions for wines that work well with your kids’ leftovers? Leave them in the comments. Better yet, offer some ideas for foods you’d like to see pairings for and we’ll put them in the next instalment! 
Check out David’s wine tasting event planning company Vine Events Inc. and read other stuff he’s written here and here.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.