Someone, lets say it was one of the Hiltons because they are known to do odd things, once spread the word that salads do not pair well with wines. I know, horrible. But even worse was that some of us, not knowing that one of the Hiltons recently called West Africa a country or that the same one sometimes forgets about underpants, believed that there was a holy truth to this statement.
Please allow me the honor of defalsifying the former accusation; Salads can be wonderful with wine.
The statement that salads can be hard to pair with wines does have some foundation, don't get me wrong. Vinaigrettes, after all can be pains to match, as the acidity levels in the vinegar can just make a wine feel funny. With reds especially, they tend to remind them of their former salad days when they were this close from becoming vinegar if they made a wrong decision in their fermenting path. And this embarrasses them.
However, with a little love, a salad can grow up to be a fine pairing for wine. Here are some hints:
1. Make a salad dressing with a light vinegar. Stay away from recipes insisting that you use all balsamic. Balsamic is too harsh for wines. If you need to use balsamic for some reason, mix it with a wine-themed vinegar, like mucat or champagne to tame it's bitter finish.
2. Use vinegars made from wine grapes or named after a wine growing regions (a.k.a "Champagne"). They are gentler on the palate, less acidic, and can easily snuggle up to their wine friends with a little olive-oil coaxing.
3. Skip vinegar all together and use lemon juice or another citrus fruit for the acid. Citrus fruit doesn't feel like it's in competition with wine. Rather, it aims at highlighting any citrus in the wine.
4. Drink Gruner Vetliner and other whites without oak with your salad. Wood and vinegar and letttuce, come on, does that even sound good?
5. If you are drinking reds with your salad, drink a higher acidity red with bright fruit, light tannins and very little oak (see # 4), like a Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. Do not drink Cabernet Sauvignon with your salad. It will not taste good. It has too much oak and tannins to sweet talk a salad.
What do you drink with your salads?
Salads and Wines
- Reply by Kirstin, Apr 1, 2008.
I love rosé with salads. Especially those topped with some fresh goat cheese. Philip, how do we get to the talk topics? Are there found through the blog?
- Blog comment by Dan, Apr 1, 2008.
I enjoy a sparkling wine with salad or a Sauvignon Blanc (sounds trite, I know) or Pinot Gris.
- Reply by Kirstin, Apr 2, 2008.
I prefer salads with whites too, in general, but for reds, i'm a cab franc salad girl.