Oh, For the Love of Salad

Salad with Chicken

We eat a lot of salad. We drink a lot of cabernet sauvignon. But not together.

I love salad. A fresh garden salad with croutons, oil, and vinegar, Caesar salad, Iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese dressing, Asian salad with ginger dressing, salad with black beans, with grilled chicken, with crumbled gorgonzola, with Cajun-seasoned grilled shrimp. Call me the Bubba Gump of salad.

I also love red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Bordeaux-style blends. Here lies the dilemma. My vanilla-scented, dark-fruited Cab and my garden salad with Paul Newman’s Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing are a dreadful pairing. Not only does the oil and vinegar-based salad dressing make the dry red wine taste sour, the fresh crunchy, leafy textures found in the salad are incompatible with velvety smoothness of the wine.

Right about now I hear the food and wine pairing experts whispering in my ear, “Dry rosé, crisp white, Sauvignon Blanc.” Should we give up the red wines we prefer for the love of salad?


As is often said, timing is everything, and timing is the solution to this pairing predicament. Starting with wine, we accompany it with some smoked Gouda and rosemary crackers. Following our wine and cheese plate, we enjoy our salad course with a sparkling water. A pairing disaster has been averted.


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