Matching wine with salad

Matching wine with salad

Paula Goddard’s Wines of the Week starting 15th July 2019

Matching wine to a lettuce and herb salad, whose only coating is a grind of salt and pepper, is easy – almost any white or light red wine will go. Finding a wine for a salad dressed in oil or vinegar is a little more difficult.

Oily salad dressings coat the taste-buds making it difficult to work out whether you’re drinking wine or water while tartly flavoured vinegar and lemon dressings can fight with a wine’s fruity flavours making both the wine and salad taste metallic. There are wines that match dressed salads, but first you’ll need to change the dressing.

Malt vinegar mixed with oil produces tangy vinaigrette, but its high acidity can mask the delicate flavours of both salad and wine. Try reducing the amount of vinegar or replace the malt vinegar entirely. Red or white wine vinegars taste pleasantly fruity and match the earthy taste of red-leaved lettuce. A less acidic dressing can be made with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with light red wines or Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand or Sancerre in the Loire Valley.

Trying to find the perfect match for your salad dressing can prove complicated, so an alternative strategy may be to match your salad’s native home with a wine from the same country. Salade Niçoise (French green beans, onions, tuna, hard-boiled eggs and herbs), which literally means “salad as prepared in Nice”, matches its regional Côtes de Provence rosé. Feta cheese in a Greek salad works with any white wine made using the Greek grape varieties of Asyrtiko, Malagousia and Vilana. Italian Insalata Tricolore (the three colours being green avocado, white buffalo mozzarella and red tomatoes) matches light red Italian wines like Valpolicella.

If, like me, you like to pick your own English-grown salad from the back garden or allotment, why not pick a native English wine to match.

PG Wine Reviews

Sullivan’s Creek Australian Shiraz 2018
£5.25 Sainsbury’s
Not as overly fruity and sweet as many Aussie Shiraz, this example tastes lightly of nutmeg, plums and cherries.

Indomita Chilean Gran Reserva Viognier 2018
£7 Co-op (down from £8 starting July 17 until August 13)
A very pleasant white that’s light and creamy with an apple and lemon flavour with a honey tinge. A good summer choice.

SPAR Argentinean Mendoza Malbec 2017
Milky coffee followed by sharp cranberry flavours – tastes like elevenses.

Co-op Irriesistible Limestone Rise 2017, English white
£9 Co-op
Made by Denbies vineyards for the Co-op, this blend of four more unusual grape varieties gives a wonderfully floral and fruity wine that’s worth the dosh. Pear, pineapple and almond with a bit of lemon.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference English Dry Rosé
£11 Sainsbury’s
Gentle and fruity pink.

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© Paula Goddard 2019