Pairing Wines with Salads

Pairing Wines with Salads Blog Post

Warm weather calls for no-cook meals like hearty salads. What better to finish your meal that a glass of delicious wine?

For some, pairing salads and wine can be challenging: the acidity of some vinaigrettes make them difficult to pair. Yet there is a variety of delicious combinations you’re sure to love. Check out some of our suggestions for pairing wines with salads!

General Tips for Pairing Wines with Salads

The type of greens, the style of dressing, and the addition of components such as cheeses will all factor into the flavor profile that you will be matching against a wine. As a general guideline for pairing your wine with salad (or vice versa), consider the dressing first and foremost. Is it tangy? Creamy? Citrus-y? Then, classify the greens. Are they hearty? Light? Finally, consider the other components of the salad, like the added vegetables, fruits, nuts, and cheeses. What wines will pair well with these textures and flavors?

Vinaigrette-based salads

If you pair a vinaigrette with a wine that is lower in acidity, such as a Chardonnay, the vinaigrette will overpower the wine and leave it tasting flavorless. For this reason, the “like with like” pairing approach is best for vinaigrettes, which are high in acidity because of the presence of a vinegar (like apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, or balsamic) or another highly acidic liquid (like lemon juice). Pair these high-in-acidity flavors with a wine that is equally high in acidity, like a Sauvignon Blanc or an Albariño, to be able to enjoy both the vinaigrette and the wine.

Salads with creamy dressings

What is a creamy dressing, anyway? It could be a pungent bleu cheese-based dressing, a tangy Ranch, or a flavorful caesar; in any case, a palate-cleansing Prosecco or Cava is always a great choice. You can also play around with pairing the dressing with Chardonnay, provided that the Chardonnay has enough acidity to cut through the creaminess.

Salads with fruits

When the sun comes out, so does the craving for light salads. A delicious salad of mixed greens with strawberries begs for a fruity Pinot Noir: it allows you to enjoy the delicate flavors of the salad’s components and brings out the strawberry notes so often prevalent in Pinot Noir. The same goes for fruits such as berries and dried cranberries: have fun with the flavor combinations!

Hearty salads

Can a salad pair with red wine? Absolutely! Hearty salads, such as marinated steak on a bed of arugula, need a tannic wine to cut through the fat of the meat. If you’re in the mood for an Italian red, try making Nancy’s Chopped Salad at home: this mix of weighty greens like iceberg and radicchio, salami, and provolone holds up against an aged Chianti, a medium-bodied Sangiovese, or even a bold Barolo.

Pairing salad and wine is a great way to be creative in the kitchen. Have fun with your salad toppings and dressings, and enjoy pairing them with the perfect wine. Cheers!

Do you need a little inspiration or guidance for pairing your salads or choosing your wines for your next get-together? Contact Quigley Fine Wines: our experts are here to help you choose the perfect pairings based on your palate and preferences!