Yes, You Should Pair Pork Rinds with Cabernet—Plus, More Wild Pairings from Top Winemakers
The high-low combo of potato chips and wine is having a moment on TikTok. Here’s how to pair them properly.
When Wine Enthusiast posted an infographic guiding readers on how to pair wine with chips, the trend went totally viral on TikTok. And now users can’t get enough of this modern high-low combo, pairing sour cream and onion chips with Chenin Blanc, Grenache with BBQ chips, and Lays with Champagne. We spoke to Paul Sloan, the owner and winemaker at Small Vines on Sonoma Coast, and Mathew Bruno who owns an eponymous wine brand based out of Napa Valley, to get some of their recommendations on what chips to pair with a variety of wines. The California-based winemakers thoughtfully put together some pairings with readily available chips whose ingredients lists we can thankfully pronounce. Here’s what they had to say.
Chardonnay and Aged Cheddar Puffs
Sloan, who started his career as a sommelier in the ’90s, likes taking a twofold approach when it comes to matching wine with food. “There’s two different directions to do with pairing. You’ve got the yin-yang, in that the opposites attract, or you’ve got pairing like elements with like elements. So I think that the white cheddar works beautifully with this wine,” he says as we sample Pirate’s Booty white cheddar puffs with his crisp, almost briny organically farmed Chardonnay. “It makes me think about a high-end cheese and charcuterie board with some nice shaved white cheddar on there, but this is obviously much more casual, so it’s a really fun, really nice pairing.” And I have to agree; this combo reminds me of one of my favorite airplane snacks, Cheez-Its and a glass of Chard.
Pinot Noir and Truffle Chips
The aforementioned idea of pairing like with like is strong here, with the earthiness and umami factor of Small Vines’ Pinot Noir matching up perfectly with the true truffle flavor of Torres chips. Both Sloan and I agree that the Torres chips are the most authentic-tasting truffle chips on the market, free of the fake truffle-oil taste that you find in a lot of truffle-flavored items. “The Torres, I think, are a little more pure to the flavor and just a touch more subtle, and natural tasting. I’ll say more true to the truffle-like mushroom flavors that you would get shaved on a dish at a restaurant,” he says. “It’s a really, really good Pinot Noir combination.”
Cabernet and BBQ Pork Rinds
This pairing “creates a symphony of flavors—the rich, bold notes of the wine perfectly complement the smoky, savory crunch of the pork rinds,” says Bruno. He suggests his Mathew Bruno Cabernet with 4505 Meats Smokehouse BBQ Pork Rinds, which are made with responsibly raised meats. Though Wine Spectator’s infographic suggested that BBQ chips go best with Grenache, I could see this pairing working really well with more aggressively spiced, meaty chips like these chicharrones.
Sparkling Wine and Nacho Cheese Chips
I’m a firm believer that Champagne and sparkling wine are some of the most versatile wines when it comes to pairing with food. The same goes for chips, it seems, as Bruno has several suggestions to match up with his blanc de blancs sparkling wine. “The wine’s robust profile enhances the cheesy goodness of these chips, making it a delightful duo for any occasion.” He also suggests Kettle Brand Sea Salt and Vinegar Kettle Potato Chips as an alternative. “The crisp acidity of the wine beautifully balances the tangy zing of these chips.” Barbara’s Original Cheese Puffs would be another awesome pairing, according to Bruno. “The wine’s effervescence enhances the creamy cheese flavor, making it an exquisite pairing.”
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