What is The Best Wine with Salad?
Ask ten wine experts which wine is best paired with a salad, and you will likely get a hundred different answers. The salad may sound like a simple dish, but it has many ingredients that can influence the taste. Besides the proteins, veggies, fruits, cheeses, and possible nuts, you also have to consider dozens of dressings, all of which have a different taste.
Hence, there is no one particular wine that goes with every salad. It all depends on the type of salad and the dressing. Here are some simple guidelines that will help you pair your favorite wine with salad.
- In general, if a dish is light, you also want to pair it with a light-bodied wine and vice versa. If a dish is heavier, pair it with a heavier wine.
- Salads are considered to be a low-calorie dish with ingredients that are usually not overpowering to the palate. In such scenarios, a light-bodied red (e.g., Gamay, Lambrusco, Grenache) or light-bodied white wine (e.g., Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc) will pair well.
- Anytime you have a main course that includes a meat dish (like steak, lamb, or barbecued meats), you need to match the wine to the meat and not the veggies. In this case, the best pairing is a light-bodied wine, like Pinot Grigio, Dolcetto, or Riesling.
- If you like to add vinegar to your salad, this flavoring will alter the taste balance by accentuating the tannins in red wines and making the white wines taste very sweet. To minimize the impact of vinegar, you may want to mix it with a creamy dressing (e.g., ranch, blue cheese, etc...) or blend it in the leftover meat juices. Or you may want to try a less harsh vinegar, like cider or rice vinegar.
- If you love herbs, onions, and pickles in your salads, these foods can be overpowering and minimize the flavor of light wines. Therefore, you will need to pair them with wines having high levels of acidity or dry wines. Some great dry red wines include Malbec, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet; the dry white wines include Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris.
- If you like to eat a fruity salad, they match well with fruity wines, like Moscato, Zinfandel, Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Gamay. However, the key is to ensure that the wine has a different fruity flavor to the fruit in the salad.
- If there is more than one salad type with all flavors, then the best choices are the fruity red wines (e.g., Merlot, Grenache, Moscato) or a fruity white wine (e.g., Riesling, Vin Santo, Chardonnay).
- For a Chicken Caesar Salad wine pairing, you’ll find Chardonnay to be a good match with its light oaked notes. If the chicken in the Caesar Salad wine pairing is chargrilled, you’ll want to go with a fuller-bodied wine. Dry Rose and Oaked Sauvignon Blanc are good choices as well.
In the end, it is all a matter of personal preference and what wine is available. If you are unsure what wine with salad works, go with ice wine, and you will never go wrong. Some great ice wines that go with all types of salads include the Wagner Riesling, Jackson Triggs Vidal, Kiona Ice Wine, Wagner Vidal Blanc, and a 2016 Hahn Hill Vineyard Ice Wine Riesling. Look to Pacific Rim & Company for answers to your wine pairing questions. They are very knowledgeable about all types of wines.