By: Patrick Suleski
Pairing wine with McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets is a rare opportunity for a sommelier: a chance to add emotional resonance to a combination of flavors.
If your first McNugget came anytime before 2006, you remember the only dipping sauce then available: a sweet, honey-flavored syrup in a flimsy packet. This is our in.
Because smell (and by extension flavor) is so closely tied to memory, aromas from your past can give you the sense of traveling back in time.
Sauternes, like this 2015 Haut Charmes, achieves that sensation beautifully when matched with McNuggets. This luxurious dessert wine recreates both the aroma you remember from the honey sauce (floral, nutty, and a hint of apricot), and approximates the contrast that sauce’s luscious sweetness and viscous mouthfeel gave to the crispiness of the deep-fried breading.
Its sweetness also does an admirable job of making the saltiness of the McNuggets less distracting, the wine’s full body holds its own against the oiliness of the mystery chicken, and the flavors of honey, apricot, and marmalade linger throughout the long finish. This is a very rich, indulgent match – you only need a six piece.
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