Best Snacks To Eat With Every Major Style of Wine

Who doesn’t love pouring a glass of wine and enjoying it with a delicious snack? Food and wine pairing can be overwhelming, with all of the options and sometimes conflicting advice from different sources. However, there are some basic guidelines you can follow to simplify the process.

lots of snacks with red and white wine
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How to Pair Snacks with Wine

When pairing food and wine, think about the structure of the wine first. Then, look for some basic elements of food that can help to elevate the experience:

  • salt
  • fat
  • acid
  • sweetness
  • spiciness (heat)
  • flavor

Salty Snacks

Wines of all kinds love salty foods because the salt brings out the fruitiness of the wine and makes it smoother and softer on the palate for easier drinking.

Fatty & Acidic Snacks

Foods with higher fat content and/or creamier textures pair well with wines with higher acidity, as the acid cuts through the fat and creates a really nice silky texture on the palate.

Sweet Snacks

When considering a sweet food, make sure that the wine is even sweeter – otherwise, a sweet food can make a dry wine taste bitter and less fruity.

Spicy Snacks

Along those same lines, a food with some spice goes well with a sweeter, low tannin wine – high tannins can exaggerate the spice and make it unpleasant.

Flavor Considerations

Once the structure is balanced, you can consider flavor. There are two schools of thought to play with here – like goes with like versus opposites attract. Complementary flavors between the food and wine is usually a safe bet, but contrasting flavors can add interest and be quite surprising.

The most important thing when pairing food and wine is to have an open mind, try new things, and have fun!


Our Favorite Snacks with Red Wine

Red wines can be tricky to pair. Most have medium to high acidity, which adds to their versatility, but varying tannin levels complicate the matter.

Most reds have flavors of red and black fruits and often spend time in oak, adding notes of clove, smoke, and cedar.

Red Pepper Hummus With Veggie Sticks or Pita Chips

hummus with veggies and pita chips

Hummus has good fat content, thanks to the tahini, and red pepper flavors play nice with red wine. Try this with a Chilean Carmenere or a Cabernet Franc from Chinon – both have bright green notes that will complement the hummus and veggies.

Charcuterie Board

Assorted cured meats with different levels of spice would all pair well with a light bodied, low tannin red, such as a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. Both of these wines have high bright acidity to cut through the fat on the meat, as well as crunchy cranberry and cherry notes.

charcuterie board with red wine
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Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels

This is a great option for red fortified wines, such as port. Again, the salt of the pretzels will contrast the sweetness of the wine and bring out some of the fruit notes. Port is barrel aged, which often imparts some nuttiness into the wine – a perfect match for the peanut butter filling.


Top Snack Choices with White Wine

‘White wine’ is a huge category with hundreds of styles to choose from.

white wine with cheese and crackers

The acidity is often the greatest contributor to the overall style and structure of a white wine – it can be bracingly high, like in a Chenin Blanc, or softer and plusher, like in Viogner.

Some whites are aged in oak, adding vanilla and spice notes, and undergo a process called malolactic fermentation, which adds buttery flavors to the wine – many Chardonnays are made using these processes.

Some whites have some sweetness as well, which is another factor to keep in mind.

Finally, think about the intensity of the wine – is it super aromatic, like a Sauvignon Blanc, or relatively neutral, like an Albarino? You want to make sure your food pairing won’t overwhelm the delicate nature of some white wines.

With those considerations in mind, here are some options to pair with a variety of whites…

Kettle Potato Chips

kettle potato chips

Remember, wine loves salt. Chips tend to be fairly neutral, but have nice salt content and a bit of fat. This is a flexible pairing for any high acid white wine.

A Lovely Cheese Board

Goat cheese and Sauvignon Blanc is a classic pairing, as is brie and Chardonnay. Try playing with different combos and see what you find! The accompaniments of a cheese board, such as crackers, grapes and apple slices, and honey, are all delicious with wine, too.

Spicy Snack Mix

Snacks with some spice are a great option for a light white wine with residual sugar, such as a German Riesling or Alsatian Gewurztraminer. The sugar helps tame the spice, and the high acidity refreshes the palate. 

Olives

Olives have a meaty texture, supple fat, and balanced salt content, so they work with a wide range of wines. To take it to the next level, though, look for a wine that features a briny note – Fino Sherry or Albarino are both examples of this. 


Snacks with Rosé Wine

While rosé is also made in a range of styles from different grape varieties, most tend to be light in body with nice acidity and flavors of strawberry and watermelon. Intensity can be a challenge here, because many rosés are rather subtle.

Burrata Salad Skewers

Creamy fresh mozzarella is really nice with rosé by itself, but adding in the tomatoes and fresh basil elevates this pairing. Tomatoes complement the red fruits in the wine, and the fresh herbs add additional complexity.

Shrimp Cocktail

Rosé pairs well with many seafood-based snacks (crab dip, fried calamari, and so on). Seafood tends to have moderate intensity of flavor, which does not overpower the wine. 

shrimp cocktail

Chicken Wings

Look for a fairly sweet rosé, such as a White Zinfandel, to pair with wings that have some kick to them. Buffalo chicken dip is another solid option here. 


Top Snacks with Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine is one of the most versatile options when it comes to food pairing. Thanks to the bubbles, each sip scrubs your palate clean, leaving it refreshed and ready for the next bite of food.

sparkling wine with snacks

Sparklings do come in a range of styles, including fresh and fruity to aged and nutty and dry to sweet, but all sparkling wines typically have zippy high acidity.

Here are some great snacks to pair with sparkling wine…

Truffle Popcorn

Popcorn in and of itself is a great snack for many different wine styles – as it’s crunchy, buttery, and salty. Play with this and add different seasonings to pair with different wines. Truffle salt is an inspired addition for sparkling wine, which often takes on light mushroom notes as it ages.

Marcona Almonds

Many sparkling wines are aged for several months on the lees (yeast cells left over from fermentation). This process brings out toasting brioche notes, and coupled with age, a nutty character. Marcona almonds are the perfect wine nut – high in fat and salty. 

Queso and Chips

queso and chips

‘High-low’ pairings can be surprising and extra fun – take a high end wine, like Champagne, and pair it with an everyday food. The dip and the tortilla chips have lots of salt between them, and the sparkling wine will cut through the creaminess of the queso. 


Other Tips for Snacking and Drinking Wine

Wine pairing can be thought of as pretty pretentious, but it doesn’t have to be. Something as simple as really good potato chips can elevate the right wine just as much as caviar.

There are a lot of so-called ‘rules’ for food and wine pairing, but ultimately, eat and drink what you enjoy! Food and wine pairing is about taking something that is already good and making it even better, whatever that means to you and your palate.

Like I said before, have an open mind and try some things that you might not otherwise – I’ve found these unexpected pairings tend to be the most memorable ones.

Keep some of these guidelines in mind (remember, salt, acid, sweetness, fat, and intensity) and see what you discover. Cheers!

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