Which wines go best with main-dish summer salads?
Pairing wine with salad is tricky business: Some lettuces intensify bitterness in wines. Crisp, raw vegetables demand a wine with texture. And acidic dressings tone down tartness in wines. But main-dish salads, full of ingredients with a natural affinity to wine, such as cheese, nuts, and meat, taste better with a glass of vino. As a general rule, match rosés, tart whites, and lighter reds like pinot noir with salads. And when in doubt, reach for a sparkling wine, because like salad itself, bubbly is light, refreshing, and infinitely satisfying on a summer evening.
Salad Topped with Spicy Meat
A low-alcohol wine, such as slightly sweet riesling or fruity red Beaujolais, will complement a complex salad without fanning the heat.
Niçoise Salad with Tuna
Rosé is a natural match for the tangy, salty flavors. Choose either still or sparkling—both are dry, refreshing, and evocative of the South of France, where this dish originated.
Salad with Curried Chicken
Enhance sweet-tart curried chicken salad with an aromatic white wine like viognier, a full-bodied white, or torrontés, a dry floral white from Argentina.
With smoky bacon, creamy avocado, tangy blue cheese, and juicy tomatoes, Cobb salad pairs well with a variety of wines. A bottle of fragrant gewürztraminer contrasts with salty, creamy notes, while an earthy pinot noir enhances the meaty bacon.
Natura Gewürztraminer 2009 (Chile, $11) Organic grapes; notes of spicy peach and honeysuckle