Junk Food & Wine: The Ultimate Pairing

By Katrina Meynink - 04 Dec 2014

We’re not talking wine matched with dishes from schmaancy restaurants where chefs with TV degrees do strange things with coal, smoke guns, and foraged vegetables.

No, we’re talking about the other great food—the I need it immediately for the health of my soul kind of food; food from the sort of joints sporting orange plastic chairs with an open kitchen out back basking under bright white strip lights.  Master sommeliers, chefs, and winemakers weigh in with their vino picks for your next soul feeding.

You’re welcome.

Butter chicken

The holy grail of fragile soul feeding. Keep your matches local and small producer says epic Melbourne chef, Josh Murphy of Moon Under Water who suggests the 2014 Gentle Folk Gris Blanc—a wine full of texture; apples, lemon and citrus. Or try the 2014 Domaine Lucci Wildman Blanc for a weighty palate with acidity to brighten things up a bit!


Oh, bachie if only you were armed with this kind of info before taking Laurina for a dirty street pie. These informed suggestions by Master Sommelier, Michael Engelmann of New York’s The Modern, could have elevated your TV gaff pie from street to sweet.

Try the Jamsheed ‘Warner vineyard’ 2012 Shiraz: A stunning cooler climate shiraz, full of spicy, earthy notes with fruit but also great freshness. If you want ‘peas with that’, try the 2010 Cavalotto Barbera, Piedmont—a medium weight wine with plenty of savoury notes and refreshing acidity to cut through the richness.

Killer Python

I asked James Halliday for a wine match and his personal assistant kindly informed me:

‘James has just spent the day having dental surgery—he promised me he wouldn't be able to speak when he got back, but has managed to get a few words out!  He asked me to please let you know that he has never tasted killer python’.

Seriously Jimbo? Sorry bout the teeth but your palate has not lived.  Anyways, the fine wine-making folk from Some Young Punks certainly have and they suggest you'd be insane not to pit a Killer Python against their Monsters Attack—an off dry Riesling to aid a gustatory experience fashioned around a metric shit-tonne of sugar. Agreed.


The taste profile here is classic. Meat patty, bun, cheese, bit of sauce, bit of gherkin. You know it—the beautiful, simple, iconic burger that you bought for loose change then ate hung over, sweating in your car. Sommelier, Dan Blunt of formidable Sydney restaurant, Sixpenny suggests Jean Foillard Fleurie 2010—a juicy ripe gamay, perfect for cutting through the richness of the meat and cheese. Neck it immediately.


Think the typical pork, meat-stock-based ramen and noodles here. Melbourne wine consultant, Aymeric Albores suggests a chardonnay or dry sav blanc for a mouth feel that is refined and not too buttery so you won’t feel ‘fat on fat’ from the broth and meat of your ramen.

Find: William Fevre Chablis (Chardonnay) France for its subtle citrus notes and fresh minerality.

Seek: Ara Sauvignon Blanc Single Estate NZ - An elegant, slightly mineral, and dry yet well-balanced SB.

Tim Tam

Stop judging. They’ve been a dinner for all of us at least once. Former Sydneysider, Stewart Noble, founder of Wine without the BS and wine critic for the Los Angeles Examiner, recommends a muscat or tokay—they are destined to be together—sweet on sweet.  Keep the Australiana theme alive and partner with a Rutherglen Victoria muscat or tokay—they do both varietals amazingly well.

Tom Yum Soup

Always wondered what to pair with the sort of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavours of Thai zinging with pungent lime and dried shrimp—the sort that duly nearly blows your cranium off? Sommelier, Barbara Vega from Brisbane’s Esquire suggests a Peregrine pinot gris—it isn’t too fruity but has texture, balance, and residual sugar to balance out the pungent flavours.


Wine maker and Chief Everything Officer, David Bowley at Vinterloper Wines suggests you seek out a Clare Valley Riesling. Something not too young if you can find it, 2012 or older. The clean, crisp citrus and mineral notes in these wines are perfect for quality cuts of sashimi.

Green smoothie (in a jar, of course)

Bahhaaaaa, just kidding… Self-righteous glows are so hard to bottle and we’re yet to see this vintage yield any kind of noteworthy results.

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