Snack Food and Wine Pairings

Choosing a wine to accompany food instantly makes people think of a reading a massive wine list in a posh restaurant whilst an intimidating waiter in a penguin suit invades your personal space. But  matching food to wine is a simpler task than you’d imagine, and when you get it right improves the flavour of the food and the wine.  The only elements that really matter are the basic taste components (sweet, sour, salty, bitter) and characteristics (e.g. acidity or spiciness) of the wine and food. Find a match on both sides and bingo, you’ve paired a wine.

Once that concept hits home it’s easy to see how wine can be paired with any food. From caviar to crisps, from matsutake mushrooms to mini cheddars, wine is a perfect partner. With the world cup and (90 hours of football to watch) that’s great news for armchair fans around the world who fancy a drop of vino and something to munch on during the match. After all, the reassuring rhythm of crisps and nuts going from bowl to hand can ease the tension during a game, and nothing says world cup like a freshly delivered pizza and the late kick-off on HD. So we’ve produced this ultimate guide to snack food and wine pairings to take the football fan’s armchair experience to a whole new level.

Chicken Wings Wine Pairing

chicken wings

Perfect Partner: Riesling.

If you’re a fan of a spicy wing, we recommend staying away from the spicy reds. Tannins and high alcohol in red wine only make the heat from the food seem more intense, so they’re best avoided here. We’d reach for a Riesling. The light sweetness from the wine will balance the heat, and (if you want to get all posh about it) the floral notes will complement the chicken.

Chips/Fries Wine Pairing

chipsPerfect Partner: Champagne.

A good bowl of chips is an open goal of an order the pub if you want some hot, satisfying finger food. Although the texture of a thick cut chip is to die for, beyond a hit of salt you don’t actually get a lot of flavour from our friendly deep fried potato all by itself. That’s where a hearty squeeze of ketchup or a dollop of mayo comes to the rescue. But we’re in favour of a more expensive, but much more exciting partner for the humble French Fry – Champagne. Champagne is a delicate playmaker of a wine. Like the relationship between the shackled defensive midfielder and the free-spirited creative number 10, Champagne needs a more restrained, yet nevertheless effective partner, to really show itself in its best light. Chips slot into that role perfectly. They not only give the champagne the space on the palette to get creative, but the grease and salt left in the mouth gets a effervescent cleanse with every sip of France’s favourite export.

Crisps Wine Pairing

bowl of crisps

A basic rule to follow with crisps is that the more flavored the chip, the heavier the wine. That being said the crisp offers a wide range of flavours on the palette – so follow this list and you can’t go wrong.

Plain/Ready Salted

Perfect Partner: Champagne

As with chips (see above) you can’t go wrong with some Champagne – as it’s basically the same salty/deep-fried potato combination.  If you’re saving the pennies, grab a bottle of Prosecco or Cava instead.

Barbecue

Perfect Partner: Pinot Noir

Barbecue crisps have a list of ingredients as long as a substitute’s list at an international friendly. A cursory glance at the side of Pringles tube reveals onion powder, garlic powder and hickory smoke powder all make an appearance. That’s a lot of strong powerful flavours to contend with. Also in the mix is yeast extract (think Marmite), and that makes it a good combination with an earthy, hearty Pinot Noir. If that’s a bit too pricey grab a rich dark Merlot and relax into a food coma.

Sour Cream & Onion

Perfect Partner: New World Chardonnay

Like the classy version of an Um-Bongo, the tropical fruit notes and a reasonable amount of acidity from Chardonnay blend well with the cream and tangy onion.

Salt & Vinegar

Perfect Partner: Pinot Grigio

As we know vinegar is wine gone wrong. So it’s a tough challenge to pair it with any wine. But if you haven’t got any other crisps in the cupboard a good old S&V can be complemented with a light, crisp, unoaked white such as Pinot Grigio.

Tortilla Chips

Perfect Partner: Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc lends a nice light, crisp balance to salty chips.

Dips Wine Pairing

dips

Like Wayne Rooney, dips are satisfyingly rich and thick. So you’re going to need a crisp, vibrant wine to cut through that oozy goo whatever’s featuring on the end of your bread stick or crudité.

Guacamole

Perfect Partner: Sauvignon Blanc

You’re looking for a grassy or herbal white to bring out the best in a guacamole.  So reach for a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and get ready to double dip.

Hummus

Perfect Partner: Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is the go-to wine once again. But a light red like an northern French Pinot Noir can also do the trick.

Salsa

Perfect Partner: Provencal  Rosé

The red fruit flavours in Rosé make it to fresh tomatoes what Shearer was to Sheringham: one heck of a partnership. If you like your Salsa more spicy, reach for the Riesling to cool off (see chicken wings).

 Mini Burgers Wine Pairing

mini burgersPerfect Partner: Australian Shiraz

For the carnivorously inclined, every mouthful of burger is a highway to rich meaty pleasure-town. If you’re going to heighten that experience with some tangy cheese, you’re going to need a robust, tough tackling red wine to not be overrun. The sugar, alcohol and tannin heavy sensation that is Australian Shiraz is more than a match for the burger.

Mini Cheddars/Cheesy Snacks Wine Pairing

mini cheddar

Perfect Partner: Cabernet Sauvignon

You’re probably looking for a red here, as you would with actual real life cheese. Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic rich cheese partner, so you can’t go wrong if you team it with the snack version.

Nachos Wine Pairing

nachos

Perfect Partner: Sauvignon Blanc

Nachos made with corn-based chips need a grassy white wine like Sauvignon Blanc. If you’re adding melted cheese then consider switching sides to an easy-going red.

Peanuts/Salted Nuts Wine Pairing

peanuts

Perfect Partner: Chardonnay

When it comes to peanuts, even we’re tempted to say have a beer. But if you’re still wine inclined, stick to a low alcohol or fizzy white wine to skip round the salt. A nice glass of Chardonnay fits the bill here.

Pizza Wine Pairing

pizza

If we’re talking pizza, we’re talking a back three of cheese, tomato sauce and bread. But the toppings offer all sorts of options up-top, leaving the snacker with a broad range of potential wine partners:

Ham & Pineapple/Hawaiian

Perfect Partner: Riesling

Reach for an off-dry Riesling, which has tropical notes that complement the fruit and sweet ham, but enough acidity to tackle the tomato sauce.

Margherita

Perfect Partner: Chianti Classico

The classic Italian dish goes best with a classic Italian wine. So reach for a Chianti Classico

Mushroom

Perfect Partner: Pinot Noir

The pinot noir grape has thinner skin meaning its tannins aren’t too pronounced. This makes for an elegant ‘earthy’ wine that will wrench the flavour from the Mushrooms.

Sausage & Bacon

Perfect Partner: Sangiovese

A stronger Italian red is needed to go toe to toe with the rich meaty flavours you’ll get from salami, bacon or sausage meat. Try a Sangiovese

Pepperoni

Perfect Partner:  Shiraz

A further stretch to the ballsy end of the wine shelf is required if you’re going to keep up with the powerhouse of meat pizza that is Pepperoni. A full-bodied Aussie Shiraz fits the bill here or if you want to keep it Italian go for an Aglianico.

Vegetarian

Perfect Partner: Grenache

Onions, peppers, and olives all can find a friend in the peppery delights of a Grenache or Zweigelt.

Popcorn Wine Pairing

popcorn wine pairing

If Ross Barkley is the new Gazza, popcorn is the new crisps. At its most basic, popcorn is almost zero calories.  It’s being reinvented beyond the cinema foyer as an often healthy snack with a variety of flavours. We’re big fans, and can see popcorn and wine making friends for years.

Salt Popcorn Wine Pairing

Perfect Partner: Oaked Chardonnay

Experienced wine drinkers say they can taste butter in a  lightly oaked Chardonnay. Like a step-over from James Milner, you might not be expecting it, but the subtle flavour really works well with the buttery, salty popcorn.

Sweet or Salt/Sweet Popcorn Wine Pairing

Perfect Partner: Prosecco

Grab a sweeter bottle of Prosecco (avoid the ‘Brut’ in this case) and let it mingle nicely with the crunchy sweet popcorn. If you’re really going to town consider adding some peach puree to your prosecco for the classic Bellini.

Pretzels Wine Pairing

pretzels

Perfect Partner: Un-oaked Chardonnay

A lighter white wine like an un-oaked Chardonnay will do well one-on-one with the salty pretzel.


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