Sonic, Shiraz & Champagne


First off…I don’t advocate open containers. So I’m not going to say whether or not my husband and I were actually at the Sonic Drive-in ( when we were enjoying our Shiraz and Champagne……

However, I do recommend Sonic food with wine and especially TATER TOTS! I didn’t know those beautiful nuggets of crunchy potato, salty goodness, could be elevated by wine.

Our menu consisted of: Country Fried Steak Toaster sandwich, Chicken Club Toaster sandwich, Onion Rings & Tater Tots. The wine was The Little Penguin Shiraz from Australia ( and the “Champagne” is an experiment from our friend Benjamin Calais ( Benjamin is trying to create some sparkling wines from his Pinot Gris and Chardonnay grapes. This one was Chardonnay.

By the way, it technically should be called “sparkling” because the French government has a grip on the term “champagne” and only “bubbly” wines from the Champagne region of France can be called “champagne”. There are some champagne houses in other parts of the world that can use the term “champagne” if they say what region the grapes are from, like Korbel can say they produce “California Champagne”. I know it is more complicated than that, but I’m just giving you the info as simple as possible….no letters please 🙂

The Little Penguin Shiraz has always been a favorite of mine for a number of years. I buy it at the grocery store for under $7. It has a bold fruit and spice flavor, but it does not linger on the tongue, so it does not have a lot of weight or tannins, and that makes it very drinkable.

When paired with the Chicken Club, the Shiraz kept its spice and fruit but because there was bacon on the sandwich, a mushroom/earth flavor was brought out. The sandwich also had a tangy mayo dressing but that flavor was covered up by the boldness of the wine.

Next was the Steak sandwich. The wine was smooth and less dark fruit flavored because of the earthyness of the meat.

Sonic’s Onion Rings are a little on the sweet side. The batter is crunchy and full of yeasty bread flavors. The wine toned down the sweetness of the rings, but a light fruit flavor remained.

With the Tater Tots, the wine became earthy and mellow, much like what the Steak sandwich did.

The Champagne was the opposite on the flavor scale with the food because it had a citrus fruit element, but was dry and refreshing.

The Chicken Club tangy mayo was brought forward and the sandwich as a whole was more spicy. Maybe it was the bubbles tickling the tongue?

The Steak sandwich remained earthy and the Champagne smoothed out and lost its citrus bite.

With the sweetness in the Onion Rings, the Champagne got a little sweeter but the rings got more tangy.

As for the salty, earthy Tater Tots; the Champagne added a delightful lemony brightness to the tots.

It really was a fun tasting all around. So next time you are on your way home from a hard day at work and you know there is still some wine in the fridge, swing into your favorite drive-in, drive up, or drive thru. I know they will have something that will pair with your wine.


8 thoughts on “Sonic, Shiraz & Champagne

  1. Twisted Lori…

    What a beautiful presentation! I also enjoy the flavor or “Earthy” mushrooms… I am happy to hear that the meat was also “Earthy” and not “Tangy”…

    Thank you for your idea of a few glasses of Little Penguin Shiriz or some wonderful bubbly Champagne with a plate of crunchy onion rings and slightly salted tater tots.. I’ll be in Heaven!!!

    Looking forward to your sharing your next experience…. Paula


    • Paula, I’m so glad the meat was not tangy either or we might have had an incident like what happened to me on our Napa trip while eating in San Francisco!


  2. I love those Sonic tater tots so glad to know champagne matches well. As for the Penguin Shiraz, I haven’t had that wine in years, I’m going to have to try it again.

    Thanks Lori!


  3. How much do I love me some Sonic?: just a lot. Best burgers (I like the double meat with chili and cheese) and onion rings. No contest. Those taters are mighty fine as well.

    How much do I love me some “Lori’s Twisted Cork and Spork”?: Also just a lot. More than a lot, actually.


    • Hey Cousin Mark!

      I’m thinking a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Riesling would be good with your double meat & chili & cheese.

      I love you too!


  4. I think you need to go back and do the full tater tot experience. I never get the plain tots, I always get cheese tots – a habit since high school, which might explain my shape. And of course, the chili cheese tots. I bet they will need a heavier red to cut the grease. What do you think?


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