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Wine Advisor Express:
Food and wine: Salad

Following up on yesterday's discussion of wine and counting calories (or kilojoules), let's go down a related tangent and consider the art of matching wine with salads.

As noted in our Food and Wine Matching Engine,, vinegar and wine are natural foes, so if you're serving a salad dressed with a traditional vinaigrette, it's probably best to set your wine glass aside until a later course.

But suppose a salad is your main course? Plenty of salad options work well with the appropriate wine. Make your salad more wine-friendly by topping it with chicken, seafood or cheese, for instance; or dress it with something less acidic than vinegar.

Here are a few broad principles to consider: Relatively tart (high-acid) wines usually complement similar foods, so a crisp, dry Sauvignon Blanc will stand up to a vinaigrette that might overwhelm a fat Chardonnay. The buttery richness of that same Chardonnay, on the other hand, might make it a good choice with a rich Caesar salad or creamy Roquefort dressing.

Herbaceous wines complement herbal flavors, so pick a citric, green-pepper New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a "grassy" Sancerre from the Loire and watch it sing in tune with your green salad.

Add toppings to a dinner salad, and choose a wine to match: The black olives in a Salade Niçoise naturally call for a dry Provence rosé, for example. Ham and cheese suggest a Beaujolais. Complement a Greek salad topped with feta cheese with a crisp white Santorini. Fashion a caprese salad of fresh garden tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and fresh basil and enjoy a Chianti; in fact, you can match this favorite Italian wine with any tomato salad - the fruity-tart flavors of the wine and the tomatoes make a natural match. Or go the festive route and add excitement to just about any salad dinner by uncorking a bottle of bubbly.

(Speaking of wine and diets, by the way, my thanks to all of you who responded yesterday to my call for advice, hints and suggestions about losing weight without giving up wine. As with our recent discussion of restaurant wine-list pricing, the sheer volume of your responses has temporarily overwhelmed my ability to respond individually; but I'm reading them all with grateful interest, will try to get back to you personally if you had a specific question, and will re-visit these issues soon.)

Express Notes:

This is Wine Advisor Express, daily edition of The 30 Second Wine Advisor, distributed Tuesdays through Fridays. To subscribe, change your E-mail address, switch from daily to the weekly (Mondays only) distribution, or for any other administrative matters, E-mail Please be sure to include the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so we can find your record.

Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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