Find the right wine to match with your favorite snacks and tasty apps. Here are some top-rated recipes and the wines that live to love them.
1. Sparkling Wine and Salty Snacks
Sparkling wines are very food friendly. Their acidity keeps the palate refreshed and on the alert, and their lowish alcohol level won't overwhelm food. Yes, they pair well with fancy, sophisticated foods (Champagne is a classic match with caviar, for example), but bubbles also thrill to no-frills salty snacks (like french fries, potato chips, and popcorn) and fried foods like fish-and-chips. Sparkling wine loves them all!
Rave Review: "Best fries I've ever made at home," says Adam James. "I will make them like this (double-fry method) every time."
Rave Review: "This recipe is perfect," says THEBOSTWICKS. "Simple and very pleasing results. It is VERY IMPORTANT to slice the potato paper thin or your cooking time will be much longer and the chips just will not crisp. The results are addictive."
2. Cabernet Sauvignon and Beef Sliders
Full-bodied and rich, Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic pairing partner for meaty dishes like beef and lamb. Nothing's better than a simple grilled cheeseburger and a Cab. With burgers, also consider Merlot (Cab’s gentle neighbor in Bordeaux), Syrah, or Zinfandel.
Rave Review: "These were fantastic burgers," says TxCinILove2Ck. "I know this sounds like a standard recipe but it is so much better for reasons I cannot explain. I have been making burgers for years with these same ingredients, but there is something special in here that makes these great."
Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic match with blue cheese...and beef.
Rave Review: "Definitely the best burgers I've ever had!" says GUMDROP09. "Very easy to make and the flavor is out of this world."
3. Chardonnay and Chicken Quesadillas or Grilled Shrimp
Try rich, full-bodied Chardonnays with flavorful dishes like chicken quesadillas or marinated grilled shrimp.
Rave Review: "Yum yum, and oh so easy!" says MARYFS. "Everyone loved them. I used a mixture of Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese. Mmm. I'll make these again! And again!"
Rave Review: "Very delicious and juicy shrimp!" says CEGILLY. "This is by far, my favorite recipe to make on the fly, it is so easy to throw together. The olive oil and the tomato paste really make a good combination."
4. Riesling and Spicy Appetizers
Try Riesling with spicy foods. It’s frequently bright with acidity and typically on the low-alcohol side with flavors of apple and citrus.
Here’s a recipe that would do well with either sparkling wine or Riesling.
Rave Reviews: "These SW Eggrolls are the best," says RICH PETERS. "They beat every restaurant I have tasted. The mixture of ingredients is poportioned just right to give it the proper texture."
Rave Review: "These were great," says Rita. "Nice contrast in flavors. I was looking for something different from my usual buffalo wings. Loved these."
5. Sauvignon Blanc with Salsas and Guacamole
To describe the fresh, food-friendly acidity of Sauvignon Blanc, break out the z-words -- zingy! zippy! zesty! With lots of citrus and grassy flavors, along with herbal aromas, Sauvignon Blanc excels with vegetarian dishes. And it’s one of the few wines that can endure asparagus and raw tomatoes. It also likes dishes that are prepared with herbs, particularly cilantro and parsley. Goat cheese? Sauvignon Blanc loves it.
Rave Review: "This is a great, easy recipe!" says SHANNON2E. "I vary the amounts by what I have on hand, and use less cilantro just by taste preference. I tend to use the food processor to chop the tomatoes and onions because it is easier."
Rave Review: "Great, easy guacamole!" says cdelemos. "I used a food processor for creamy guac instead of chunky, the recipe is great."
6. Syrah and Foods from the Grill
Syrah loves the 'que. Try it with ribs, grilled burgers, or even grilled eggplant or portabella mushrooms. And bacon-wrapped dates? Yes please.
Rave Review: "The ribs are dynamite," says DJ. "I've made them several times now, everyone loves them. I use half of the cayenne now because it's a little too much for some of the guests -- half gives it a good hint of heat but isn't outright hot -- but if you like some kick use the full amount."
Rave Review: "The balance of smokey, salty and sweet are perfect for an appetizer (it covers ALL the bases!)," says INDYJOANIE I used 1/2 piece thick sliced bacon and was perfect. I also baked at 400 for approximately 20 minutes, turning 1/2 way through. These wraps are good when hot, but I think even better after cooled a bit."
7. Sangiovese with Pizza and Meatballs
Sangiovese's refreshing acidity and nice tannins make it a terrific friend of food, with flavors and aromas of cherries and violets. Sangiovese-based wines like Chianti are classic partners with pizza and tomato-based pasta dishes. They’re also terrific with grilled meats and poultry. Barbera would also pair perfectly with pizza and cocktail meatballs.
Rave Review: "Fantastic! So simple and delicious," says CAROLINACAT. "It was very easy to make and the dough is wonderful to work with. No more delivery or frozen pizzas allowed in my house."
Rave Review: "This is a very tasty recipe for meatballs, with the cranberry sauce representing a change from the run of the mill grape jelly recipe," says Paula. "I used seasoned bread crumbs, which added some nice flavor to the meatballs, and then baked them on a broiler tray, which allowed the fat to run off while they were baking."
Your Illustrated Guide to Perfect Pairs for Snacks and Apps