A Sommelier Explains Why Potato Chip Texture Impacts Which Wine You Should Pair It With

Potato chips and sparkling wine
Potato chips and sparkling wine - Peter Bocklandt/Getty Images

When dreaming up food and wine pairings, dinner hosts and chefs usually focus on high-end fare, like expensive cuts of red meat and fresh seafood. While picking a wine to pair with scallops is certainly essential, let's be honest: Many home food and wine pairings aren't quite as fancy. In reality, corks are just as likely to be popped alongside a bowl of crunchy potato chips and a good movie as they are at an extravagant dinner party.

However, wine pairings still matter, even when it comes to snack foods. In the case of wine and potato chips, sommelier Matt Strauch has a few thoughts. Strauch, the general manager of Denver wine bar Noble Riot, believes that the texture of a chip — whether it's flat and smooth or rough with ridges — plays a strong role in an appropriate wine pairing. According to Strauch, the chips should be served alongside a wine with a body type that aligns with the texture of the chip. This pairing method ensures that the wine complements the chip's crunch and, in some cases, can even enhance the flavor of the wine.

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Chip Texture And Wine Body

Potato chips up close
Potato chips up close - Kwangmoozaa/Getty Images

A wine's body refers to how the liquid feels in the mouth. Light-bodied wines are lean and refreshing, while full-bodied wines have a more complex taste profile. When it comes to thick, rough-textured chips, Strauch believes an appropriate wine needs enough of a body to match the aggressive texture. "For kettle-cooked chips," he told Daily Meal, "I'd look at a medium-bodied white wine such as chardonnay as it can stand up to the thicker texture and intense flavor."

The opposite is true of smooth and flat chips, which should be eaten with a lighter-character bottle. "Due to their airy, lighter texture," Strauch says, "flat chips pair with a light-bodied assyrtiko."

In some cases, the particular shape of the texture can upgrade the wine's taste. "Ridges on chips," according to Strauch, "can enhance the tasting experience." Because of this, he suggests pairing ridged chips with a light red wine that's flavorful, like a grenache or schiava.

Pairing Wine With Potato Chip Flavors

Two wine glasses and bowl of chips
Two wine glasses and bowl of chips - Dusan Stankovic/Getty Images

Of course, chip texture is only one consideration. You'll also have to ponder the best wines to pair with potato chip flavors. From Lay's new sweet and spicy honey to the flavor explosion of all-dressed chips, there are likely quite a few seasonings lurking in your pantry. So, where to start? Generally speaking, you'll want to pair a chip flavor with a similar corresponding flavor note in a bottle of wine.

Regardless of their additional flavor, most chips have one striking ingredient that stands out in the taste buds: salt. To complement the delicious saltiness of a crunchy potato chip, you can't go wrong with "a refreshing sparkling wine, like a dry (brut) cava, Franciacorta, or Champagne," Strauch told Daily Meal.

When it comes to tangy chips — like the ever-popular salt and vinegar variety — Strauch notes that an "acidic sauvignon blanc" is the perfect complement for this zesty flavor.

And if your flavor preferences stray from the pedestrian likes of simple salt or vinegar, fear not: Strauch believes there is a great wine pairing for every chip taste. Be bold and experiment! The next time you pop a bottle, ditch any pretensions, and don't be afraid to reach for the nearest bag of chips.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.