Great news, everybody: Wine and food pairings don’t have to be fancy.
Seriously. It’s not all about matching foie gras with the perfect, rare barrel-aged vintage French wine.
You might feel elegant sipping on vino – especially if you like to hold a long stem glass with your pinky out – but the truth is that wine tastes great with all kinds of food, including your favorite snacks.
Case in point: the humble potato chip.
We love these crunchy bite-sized treats, and they go surprisingly well with wine. Which kind of wine? It all depends on the kind of chip. The same principles that sommeliers use to pair wine with cloche-covered chef-curated dishes also apply to casual, everyday fare.
Check out this guide to learn how to pair wine with your favorite potato chips.
Original Potato Chips
Whether you love your chips thin, ruffled, or kettle cooked, plain ol’ potato chips go well with Champagne or any dry sparkling wine. In general, bubbly pairs well with salt and fat. When you’re eating a bag of chips, a dry sparkling wine will cleanse the palate in between bites.
Keep an eye out for “brut” on the label. This indicates that the sparkling wine was made in a dry style.
The umami flavor in smoky, spicy, slightly sweet barbecue chips pairs well with a light Pinot Noir or a dry Rosé.
The earthy flavors in Pinot Noir go well with the chip’s savory flavors. The crisp, light fruit flavors in Rosé provide a nice contrast.
Sour Cream & Onion
If you like a chip with a nice zing, you might reach for a bag of sour cream & onion.
These sharp, tangy chips pair well with a creamy white wine, like a California Chardonnay. Tropical fruit flavors and a kick of acidity contrast nicely with the saltiness of these chips.
Every notice that you can’t have just one cheddar chip? Cheddar cheese pairs well with an earthy, fruity Pinot Noir, so it’s no surprise that Pinot is a perfect pick for cheddar flavored chips.
Salt & Vinegar
When it comes to salad dressing, vinegar pairs well with a light, acidic wine like Sauvignon blanc. Similarly, Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice for these tangy, vinegar-flavored chips.
You could also go for a Pinot Grigio with notes of crisp apple.
Nacho Cheese Doritos
The original variety of Doritos is loaded with umami flavor, which goes well with a dry Lambrusco. The bubbles in semi-sparkling (“frizzante”) Lambrusco cut through the oil in the chips. If you prefer a still wine, you could try a rich, fruity Grenache.
Cool Ranch DoritosCool Ranch Doritos are positively addictive, combining everything there is to love about ranch dressing in a crunchy chip. They go well with a medium-bodied white wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
If you’re thinking, “Hang on a second. Tortilla chips aren’t potato chips!” You’re right – except we can’t hear you over the crunch of these perfect chips, seasoned with exactly the right amount of salt.
Enjoy tortilla chips with a Spanish Albariño – a light and refreshing white wine with a hint of saline. Conveniently, Albariño also goes nicely with a fresh tomato salsa. If you prefer a green tomatillo salsa, go with a Sauvignon blanc.
In Vino Finito
Wine and food pairings can be casual, and there are no rules that say you can’t pair your favorite wine with a handful of potato chips.
There are a few rules you can follow when pairing food and wine, but it can also be fun to experiment on your own and see what works. If your go-to chip didn’t make the list, play around and let us know what you find out. If you need help, we’re only an email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.