When Pairing Wine With Salad, Pay Attention To The Dressing's Acidity

salad and a wine glass
salad and a wine glass - Push/Getty Images

For most of us, when we consider selecting a wine, we think of pairing wine with cheese or with a certain type of pasta sauce. However, the wine pairing concept applies to anything you eat -- including the components of your dinner salad. While it can be a little confusing to know which wine to choose, luckily, we have experts to advise us on the best pairings. One such expert, Ramon Manglano, wine director at New York City-based and Michelin-starred restaurant The Musket Room, shared his wisdom with Mashed. When we're drinking wine with a salad, we should "concentrate on pairing the wine with the salad dressing, although one can go into greater detail about the actual components of the salad." Other ingredients can influence the pairing decision, but the flavor of the dressing should be weighed most heavily for the best results.

Manglano explains, "There's such variation in dressing, but the key is to pay attention to the dressing's acidity. The acidity plays an important role due to the fact that you can get creative when pairing a wine. Depending on how acidic the dressing is, it is best to stick to a [drier] wine." Drier wines have less sugar and, as such, work best when paired with more acidic foods to complement the lack of sweetness. A salad dressing that's vinegar-based, for instance, will better balance dry wines with its acidity -- neither will overpower the other.

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Ideas For Pairing Wine With Salad Dressings

pouring red wine into glass
pouring red wine into glass - Xsandra/Getty Images

Dressings made with balsamic vinegar, or Greek, Italian, and apple cider vinaigrettes could pair well with a dry cabernet sauvignon or a crisp sauvignon blanc. On the other end of the spectrum, if you're using a dressing that's less acidic -- like a cashew or hummus dressing -- then you could pair it with a heavier-bodied and more acidic wine, such as pinot gris, white Bordeaux, or red zinfandel.

On a similar note, creamy dressings that are rich and less acidic work well with high-tannin wines, which have a slightly bitter, complex flavor. Any dressings that are cream- or cheese-based as well as emulsions, which are all rich, would pair well with a wine with more tannins, such as malbec or petite syrah. Conversely, if you're using a spicy dressing, like a hot honey vinaigrette or a Thai peanut dressing, you should look to balance that heat with a sweet, fruity wine that's high in acidity, such as Riesling. The acidity of the wine brings out the heat in spicy foods without overpowering it.

At the end of the day, the possibilities for pairing a salad dressing with wine are endless. Just as you would when pairing wine with any other kind of food, you should keep in mind what flavors will complement each other best, and go from there. Of course, even if you don't get the acidity-to-sweetness balance exactly right, who's really going to notice? Only a true wine snob.

Read the original article on Mashed.