Yes, You Can Pair Wine with Salads. Here’s the Secret.

Food and Wine
Ray Isle
July 31, 2020

What’s the best wine for that height-of-summer, straight-from-the-farmers-market, pile-of-glorious-leafy-greens salad you just made? The answer: It depends. And what it really depends on is what kind of dressing you’re putting on that salad.

When it comes to leafy salads, the classic “it’s not the meat; it’s the sauce” suggestion for pairing wine with steak transfers over quite seamlessly. Love a tart vinaigrette? Creamy, ranch-style dressing? Sweet sesame-ginger? Consider this: The tanginess, creaminess, and light sweetness of each of those styles, respectively, will affect the flavor of the wine you pour. Now, is it a make-or-break situation, where your dinner guests will throw down their napkins in horror if you don’t pick something that goes absolutely effortlessly with the food you’ve made? Of course not. (And if they do, they’re really not people you should keep spending time with.) Look at it this way: Thinking about what wine goes best with a specific type of food is fun—it’s a game for the senses, one that can have delicious results.

Don’t believe me that something as simple as a salad dressing can change the way a wine tastes? Check it out yourself—with one of the great bottles recommended here.

Sauvignon Blanc with Vinaigrettes

Tart, acidic dressings go best with super-tart wines, like Sauvignon Blanc. The higher acidity in the food wins out on your palate and will actually make the wine taste fruitier and less acidic. Next time, taste the wine, then the dressing on its own, then the wine again—the change is eye-opening.


2018 St. Supéry Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($22)

Tangy lime marmalade flavors shoot through this fresh, appealing white from a well-respected Napa Valley producer.

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July 31, 2020

Categories: In the News

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