Light Wine Pairings to Heavy Wine Pairings
Very Light White
Nancy Palmer poured a citrusy Vinho Verde from Portugal, the 2008 Quinta da Aveleda, with this spaghetti squash salad. She explains, "It whets the palate without weighing it down." If that bottling is hard to find, try the zippy 2009 Gazela.
Napa Sauvignon Blanc
The zesty 2008 Charles Krug Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is excellent with this roast chicken's tangy citrus flavors.
The 2006 Milbrandt Vineyards citrusy, off-dry Riesling has just a bit of sweet richness.
A rich snack like this would be perfect with a medium-bodied, fizzy wine, like the luxe Champagne like Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label.
Creamy, New World Chardonnay
If there's a corn-friendly wine, it's Chardonnay, especially when it undergoes malolactic fermentation (a secondary fermentation), which tends to give it a lightly buttery note.
Light Red Beaujolais
Beaujolais, made from the Gamay grape, is light-bodied but full of flavor, and an ideal choice. Look for the lively 2007 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages or the berry-rich 2006 Chateau de La Chaize.
Medium-bodied, Food-Friendly Barbera
Barbera is one of the most food-friendly Italian red wines, and it works beautifully here with the assertive sage and garlic.
Oaky, New World Pinot Noir
The 2006 Miner Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir is assertively oaked, but when paired with the salmon, the strongest flavor that comes through is lush cherry fruit.
Merlot's gamey, black cherry depth, which the 2005 Christian Moueix Pomerol has in abundance, is potent enough to pair with rich meats.
This steak salad packs a wallop that only a robust, spicy red can match. Try a Shiraz from South Australia—such as the 2006 Earthworks Barossa Valley or 2008 Layer Cake—which balances the variety's pepperiness with rich fruit flavors.