Who said food and wine had to be so serious? Try these six excellent irreverent matches.
Buttery popcorn and a California sparkler. Bring on the fruit with an appley, all-Chardonnay bubbly like Schramsberg's 2001 Blanc de Blancs (California; $33).
Guacamole and Riesling. It sounds odd, but a crisp, barely off-dry Riesling like the 2004 Lemelson (Willamette Valley, OR; $20) just works with the lime-laced avocado dip.
Cheeseburgers and Petite Sirah. Throw your best ground beef on the grill and match it with a smoky, berried wine like David Bruce's 2003 Petite Sirah (Central Coast, CA; $20).
Peanut butter cups and Zinfandel Port. Testimony from one Sunset taster: "The Sobon wins with the Reese's, and I don't even like Port." Sobon Estate Zinfandel Port 2003 (Amador County, CA; $15, 500 ml.).
A Reuben sandwich and Pinot Noir. Minerals, berries, and spice keep Talley Vineyards' 2003 Estate Pinot Noir (Arroyo Grande Valley, CA; $32) in lockstep with this deli classic.
Baked Alaska and sweet Muscat. The charmingly retro dessert is worth rediscovering with a bottle of Eos "Tears of Dew" Late Harvest Moscato 2004 (Paso Robles, CA; $22, 375 ml.).