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Ask Dr. Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs. You can also follow me on Twitter: @AskDrVinny.




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Dear Dr. Vinny,

Would you consider publishing wine-pairing recommendations for Doritos brand chips, by flavor? If you do, you will be my hero.

—Matthew M., Raleigh, North Carolina

Dear Matthew,

I’ve seen articles over the years about pairing wine with junk food, and I’ve always felt a little strange after reading them. Is anyone every really inspired to pair that chicken nugget with an oaky Chardonnay? And I can’t tell if the purpose of this sort of experiment is to poke fun at wine lovers who take their pairings seriously, to elevate fast-food culture, or to get a cheap joke by juxtaposing high brow and low.

In any case, I can say truthfully that some of my most pleasing moments with wine have come from sublimely simple pairings: realizing that bubbly and popcorn are a match made in heaven, or that rosé is my go-to with French fries and ketchup. There is something really wonderful about finding the different ways that wine fits seamlessly in my life. And who hasn’t found themselves faced with an uninspired minibar when traveling?

The terrific news about wine and Doritos is that salty things in general pair very well with wine, especially bubbles and juicy whites. I think your all-purpose Doritos pairing is going to be either sparkling wines, or dry rosés. For nacho cheese flavors you can veer toward lighter reds, like those Pinot Noir or Grenache. Ranch-flavored chips are not to my taste, but with their touch of dried buttermilk, garlic and onion, I’d go for a medium-bodied white, like a Pinot Gris or Chardonnay. For spicier flavors, you can try bold, ripe Zinfandels, or a slightly sweet Moscato.

There. I hope I’m your hero!

—Dr. Vinny

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