Gone are the days when the mere mention of having salad for dinner conjures up images of sad assorted greens and a few misplaced carrots and tomatoes. Today’s summer salads are not just for those looking for a healthful option, but those wanting delicious too.
Of course there are numerous options for the salad greens — Boston, bibb, arugula, romaine, spinach, iceberg, kale and that is only a fraction of the list.
As with all wine and food pairings, it’s about the dominant flavors, the add-ins, that determine the best wine match. Diced pears, for example, introduce sweetness and go well with Riesling or chenin blanc. Fresh herbs will match with wines having herbal notes, such as sauvignon blanc. If the salad includes red berries Beaujolais is ideal, while toasted nuts complement a toasty oaked wine.
But some ingredients — tomatoes and vinaigrette — complicate matters. Fresh tomatoes tend to have high amounts of acid, which can clash with many wines. An easy tip to remember is to stay with a high-acid wine like a sauvignon blanc.
Vinegar and wine, though related, are not friends. Whenever possible, use fresh citrus juice such as lemon or lime instead of vinegar.
These are a few tried and true entree and wine pairings.
- Caesar salad (with or without chicken): chenin blanc
- Cobb salad: chardonnay
- Greek salad: dry, white Bordeaux
- Nicoise salad: dry rose
- Taco salad: gewurztraminer
- Caprese salad: sauvignon blanc
- Grilled steak salad: light-bodied pinot noir
- Curried quinoa salad: dry Riesling
- Salad with Asian flavors: pinot grigio
If you’re looking for a pairing that is virtually guaranteed not to disappoint, a dry rose goes well with any salad.
- 2014 Crios Malbec Rose, Argentina (about $8 retail)
- 2014 Montes Cherub Rose, Chile (about $14 retail)
- 2014 Presqu’ile Winery Rose, California (about $23 retail)
- 2014 Hogwash Rose, California (about $17 retail)