The Grapevine

Food and Wine Pairing – Garden Fresh Salads and Whites or Reds

August 9th, 2013

Forget the old saws about salad and wine feuding rather than pairing up in a friendly way. You can have a great salad and a delicuious wine to go with it.  [level-members]

Yes, vinegar can be a tough partner, but considering how far salads have come from mere afterthoughts or palette cleansers, all the additional flavors and textures that are now part of the big salads we frequently serve as main courses on a summer evening, there’s a lot more to work with now.

Knowing how vinegar and wine don’t mix, you will want to tone down the dressing a bit – less vinegar, perhaps, or something like balsamic which is a sweeter vinegar. Herb-infused oils and other flavor enhancements will help, too.

And you can help your cause even further if you include fruits, nuts, croutons and cheese in your salad.

If you’re keeping things very light – a fresh garden salad with no added meat, chicken or fish – you may want to consider a Chardonnay or, for something less full-bodied, a Chablis.

For a salad that does add that extra protein, you might consider some reds in addition to the whites above. Viognier, or even a Merlot, Chinon, Beaujolais, or some Pinots, all can work well. (Particularly if you aren’t afraid to serve them at cellar temperature or to ice them down briefly before bringing them to the table. Room temperature in summer is too warm for most reds.)