It’s always a good idea to pair wine with food. It stops the alcohol from entering your bloodstream too quickly, making you lightheaded even after one glass. Perhaps, however, you don’t want to have a full meal. If so, enjoy a few snacks with your wine. There are plenty of choices that pair well with wine and we are going to look at ten of them.
1 – Potato Chips
Potato chips are probably one of the most common snacks to have with a glass of wine. The saltiness of the chips pairs superbly with the acidity of the wine.
Different flavors of potato chips match different wines. Regular salted chips pair with lighter-bodied wines. If you enjoy red wine, go for Pinot Noir. If you prefer white wine, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio pair well. The high acidity of Sauvignon Blanc is refreshing and complements the saltiness of salt and vinegar chips. A creamy, buttery white wine like oak-aged Chardonnay goes well with the zingy flavors of sour cream and onion chips. The smoky flavors of barbecued potato chips are complemented by a dry rose such as Grenache Rose or Syrah Rose. You could also drink a light-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. You don’t want a full-bodied red wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon as it will overpower the flavor of the chips.
2 – Cashew and Pistachio Nuts
Like potato chips, nuts are often served with wine. The good thing is that they are healthier than chips so dig in. Cashews and pistachios are two of the favorite nuts that people enjoy.
Both cashews and pistachios are rich and fatty so pair well with a lean wine. Try light and zesty wines like Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, and Alberino. You could also pair them with sparkling wines like Champagne and Prosecco.
Red wines can pull out bitter notes in nuts, but if you prefer red wine, try Pinot Noir which is low in tannins. If you toast the nuts, it’s even better.
3 – Popcorn
Popcorn is another favorite to enjoy with a glass or two of wine. Settle down with a movie, pour the wine, and tuck into your popcorn.
White wines generally pair best with popcorn because it is lighter. However, when it comes to cheese-flavored popcorn, a full-bodied red will work. Try Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.
When it comes to plain popcorn, choose a light-bodied white wine that won’t overpower the mild flavor of the popcorn. Choose Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, or Pinot Grigio. Oaked white wines like Chardonnay won’t pair well as they will take over the flavor of the popcorn.
Salted popcorn is complemented by fruity and crisp wines with high acidity. Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect choice but you could also have unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, or Pinot Gris.
Sweet and off-dry white wines like Moscato d’Asti and sweet Riesling are excellent choices with caramel popcorn.
4 – Cheese
Cheese is one of the best foods that pair with wine. Who doesn’t enjoy a cheese board after a meal served with a delicious wine or even port which is a fortified wine? Both wines and cheeses are aromatic and tasty and are a combination made in heaven. However, there are so many cheeses out there so how do you pick the most suitable wine? The place to start is by pairing cheeses and wines from the same region, for example, have a glass of Chianti with Parmesan cheese. However, it is still possible to have pairings from different regions.
Soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, Boursin, and Chevre pair well with light French wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or an unoaked Chardonnay. Champagne and sparkling wines are also a good pairing for soft cheese.
Semi-soft cheeses like Mozzarella and Havarti are complemented by lighter-bodied red wines such as Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.
A semi-hard cheese like aged Cheddar has a powerful flavor and needs a wine to match. Try it with an oaked Chardonnay. If you prefer red wine, Pinot Noir is a good match.
Hard cheeses, which include Pecorino and Romano, pair well with full-bodied red wines such as Barolo from Italy.
When it comes to blue cheeses, it gets more complicated. Mild blue cheeses will pair well with light fruity wines such as Pinot Noir and Riesling. Anything with high tannins will be too harsh. However, strong blue cheeses need a sweeter wine. The classic pairings are Roquefort with Sauternes and Blue Stilton with Port.
A light, acidic wine like Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect match for goat’s cheese.
5 – Bread
Bread and wine pair well. Bread is filling enough to stop you from becoming light-headed but it isn’t a full meal. Garlic bread is a great snack and its pungent and buttery flavors pair well with citrusy and acidic wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, as well as sparkling wines. If you prefer red wine, go for a lighter variety such as Pinot Noir.
Light bread is best eaten with lighter wines such as Sauvignon Blanc while heavy bread, like rye, works well with complex wines such as Burgundy or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you have a baguette, match the fillings with the wine. If you fill your baguette with meat, choose Pinot Noir. If the filling is cheese, Pinot Grigio is a good choice. Sweet pastry bread goes well with a sweet and bubbly white wine such as Prosecco or even Champagne.
6 – Crab Cakes
Many people enjoy crab cakes as a snack and, like with most fish and seafood, they pair well with wine. Try them with Sauvignon Blanc as it is a case of opposites attract. The crisp, citrusy burst of flavor of the wine provides a great contrast with the sweet crab meat.
If you are serving your crab cakes at a party, you might want to serve them with sparkling wine. Prosecco or Cava are the best choices. Both are on the sweeter side and pair well with crab cakes.
If you prefer a soft texture to your wine and one that is not overly acidic, try a Chardonnay with its buttery qualities. However, crab cakes generally don’t go with red wine but a lighter-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir can work.
As can be seen, crab cakes are a good pairing with different types of wine so will suit many tastes.
7 – Pizza
Pizza and wine are the ultimate pairings. Pizza is one of the best takeaways around but you can also make your own. However, not all wines pair with all pizzas. The deciding factor is the topping, and these are what complement the different wines.
If you choose a tomato-based pizza like a Margherita or a Marinera, pair it with a light-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir or a dry rose wine like Grenache Rose. They balance the acidity of the tomatoes in the topping.
If you select a white pizza which is a pizza without tomato sauce, white wines are a better choice. Pinot Grigio and Falanghina are good choices. You could also serve a sparkling wine such as Prosecco.
Perhaps you want a meat-lovers pizza. It is an intensely flavored and hearty dish so you want a robust wine to stand up to the flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon is a good choice as is Nebbiolo.
8 – Fruit
Fruit and wine match perfectly. If you like white wine, there are plenty of choices. If you want to eat bananas, pair them with a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc as it balances the sweetness. Apples and pears need a little sweetness so match them with a medium-sweet wine such as Pinot Grigio.
Bananas also complement light-bodied red wines such as Pinot Noir and Beaujolais. However, heavy red wines should only be matched with dried fruits such as raisins and figs. Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah are good choices.
If you enjoy sparkling wine or Champagne, berries are an excellent choice. Try blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and, for the height of luxury, strawberries.
9 – Cupcakes
Yes, wine can be paired with sweet treats but it can be challenging to find the right pairings.
If you are having a vanilla cupcake, you should go for a white wine as it is lighter as is the sponge. Try an unoaked Chardonnay or a dry Riesling.
When it comes to red velvet cupcakes, Pinot Noir is a good choice. You will have the perfect sweet chocolate and berry combination.
Rich chocolate cupcakes can be paired with medium to full-bodied red wines. Merlot’s plum and cherry flavors lend themselves to a chocolate cupcake with similar depth.
When it comes to salted caramel cupcakes, sweeter red blends such as Australian Shiraz and Banyuls, with their dark fruit and spice notes, go well.
Finally, a cookie n cream cupcake is the perfect match for a fruity Pinot Noir.
10 – Chocolate
Like cupcakes, chocolate can also be enjoyed with a glass of wine. It may sound strange but it is best to pair wine with chocolate of the same intensity of flavor. Light-bodied wines work well with less intense chocolates while full-bodied wines are delicious with strongly flavored chocolates.
White chocolate, which is the sweetest chocolate there is pairs well with sparkling Moscato d’Asti, sweet Riesling, and sweet rose wine. Light-bodied red wines, such as Merlot and Pinot Noir complement milk chocolate. Dark chocolate, which is the most intense, pairs well with full-bodied fruity red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.
We hope that we have given you food for thought and can now decide which snacks pair well with different wines. Wine is a versatile drink and there are so many varieties out there that you are sure to find ones that complement your favorite snacks. Happy drinking and eating!