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Wines for Salads

I have to admit that when Eberhard and I were first dating, I was intimidated: he’d want me to choose a wine for our Sunday supper, and I’d freeze. Given that I’ve spent the past seven years as a wine consultant to several top Manhattan restaurants, this was probably an overreaction. But Eberhard does have a razor-sharp palate and a definite sense of what he likes and why; so it was a relief when we found ourselves loving the same wines.

Summer vegetables are wonderful with wine, even when they’re dressed with vinaigrettes or other strong flavors. It helps to keep a few guidelines in mind:

  • Select wines with lively fruit and a good acidity level. They can stand up to vinaigrettes.
  • Avoid oaky whites and tannic reds because vinegar deadens oak flavors and makes tannic reds taste astringent.
  • Go for low alcohol. Wines with 12 percent alcohol or less won’t overpower delicate vegetables.
  • Match flavors and weights. With light Zucchini “Noodles" we drink a German Riesling, such as Dr. Loosen or Gunderloch, but with the heartier Potato Salad with Bacon we choose a Long Island red, such as Hargrave Pinot Noir or Pellegrini Merlot.
Published July 1998
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