Today, I opened a bottle that I’d had for a little while. But when I tasted it… well, it wasn’t exactly off but a little more bitter than I was expecting. What to do? I ripped open a bag of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips. I’d been craving them, had gone for a long run earlier in the day, and up until now, had been really, really good about my my foodie choices. But why would I think chips would go with any wine, much less this one?
When I took my WSET course last year, I remembered that in the food and wine pairing class, salt had been considered a wine-friendly component of food that can aid in softening some harder elements of wine.
Salty foods also:
- Increase the perception of body in the wine
- Decrease the perception of the wine’s bitterness and acidity
The chips actually did their thing quite nicely. The wine became considerably less harsh and easier to enjoy.
Clearly, it wasn’t a day for carefully selecting the vintage, and the exact right variety of potato. And much that I’d read had chips being paired with Champagne or other sparklers. My choice: An Australian Shiraz. And it was made much softer and enjoyable with this pairing.
You might want to experiment on your own with kettle-cooked-cracked-pepper-gourmet what have you, and that would be great. But if you’re finding your wine a little too harsh, and your pantry has only a bag of chips, be brave. You might discover that what’s inside can be just as nice as the most expensive, savory hors d’oeuvre.