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Pairing Wine With Salad

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It has often been thought that wine cannot be paired with salad. This is due to the often-various ingredients in salads and the acidity of some salad dressings, but this could not be further from the truth. As with most foods, there is no one-size-fits-all wine to go with every salad you might encounter, but knowing a few simple rules can help you select a wine that will elevate your salad-dining experience. 

Your first thought may be to pair the wine with the protein in the salad; a white with chicken or shrimp, a red with steak, etc., but this would be a misstep. You want to pair your wine with the dressing of the salad, taking care to ensure the acid in the wine surpasses or is at least equal to the acidity in the dressing. 

Best Red Wine To Pair With Salad

Whites are a natural match for salad, but that does not mean you cannot enjoy a red. Just be sure to choose a light, acidic red. 

  • Barbera: juicy, light, with notes of strawberry and sour cherry.
  • Bobal: fruity and pleasantly acidic.
  • Beaujolais: also known as Gamay, light, low tannins.
  • Lambrusco: a slight bubbliness with strong berry notes.

Best White Wine To Pair With Salad

White wines do pair best with salad, but as stated above, you want to take the acidity of the dressing into consideration when choosing a wine.

  • Chardonnay: dry and buttery with moderate tannins and acidity. 
  • Grüner Veltliner: Light, citrus-focused flavors of lime, lemon, and grapefruit.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: highly acidic, fruity, dry white with herb tones. 
  • Albariño: Dry with high acidity and notes of lemon and grapefruit.

Pairing Wine With Various Salads

Pairing Wine With House Salad

Dressing is the primary wine indicator in all salads, but this is especially true with a house salad. Consider the following pairings:

Salad DressingWine Pairing
RanchOak-Aged Chardonnay
Italian DressingSauvignon Blanc
Creamy Blue CheeseAlbariño
Balsamic or Red Wine VinaigrettePinot Noir
Russian DressingSauvignon Blanc

Pairing Wine With Caesar Salad

The salty anchovies in this dressing can stand up to a bolder wine. Try a Chardonnay or Beaujolais.

Pairing Wine With Cobb Salad

A fresh, fruity white, like Sauvignon Blanc, is a great partner to a Cobb salad.

Pairing Wine With Nicoise Salad

This salad is rich and full of flavor. Pair it with a sparkling Rosé or Albariño for a great pairing.

Pairing Wine With Greek Salad

Pick a Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon with this crisp and tangy salad.

Pairing Wine With Chef Salad

A Pinot Noir can be a great match to a chef salad loaded with ham and turkey. You also cannot go wrong with a German Riesling.

Pairing Wine With Caprese Salad

Caprese can easily go red or white if you are in the mood for a white, try Pinot Grigio. More of a red fan? A Chianti or Sangiovese will work nicely. 

Pairing Wine With Waldorf Salad

This classic, fruity salad needs a light wine with some acid. A Gewurztraminer or Barbera are both excellent choices.

Pairing Wine With Tabbouleh

An earthy, grain-based salad like Tabbouleh will be elevated with an herbaceous, citrus-forward wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Grüner Veltliner.

Pairing Wine With Panzanella 

This Tuscan-style tomato and bread salad is lovely with a Vermentino or Malbec.

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