You’re heading to the park to meet some friends. The wine is in the bag (hopefully a Vintner tote), and you know it’s good stuff. But what snacks should you be packing? Don’t get lost in a myriad of choices. There is no need for pork pies or cocktail sausages when you’re looking for something to make that wine pop. The humble crisp is a perfect pairing partner (and it helps that it’s uber transportable). Lucy and Hamish explore the best wine and crisp pairings for a super-easy soirée, or an (adults only) excitable lunch box).
Quavers and Pinot Noir
Floaty light crisp, floaty light wine, correct? Urgh, no. Quavers are the best of light crisps, and a staple in lunch boxes for many years, but it’s just not the type of cheese that you want with a glass of red. The Soli Pinot Noir is also a wonderfully light variety of red. It’s full of red fruit and makes for very easy drinking, but when combined with the Quaver cheese, everything good gets lost, and nobody wins. Crisps = great, wine = great, together = a big no.
Pickled Onion Monster Munch and Sauvignon Blanc
Going slightly controversial here, but are these actually the best crisp ever? There are so many great wines for onions, and while the pickled onion came to fame as a beer snack, the Monster Munch variety is ALL about wine! We went with the giant variety of the crisp for extra flavour and were rewarded for our faith. Popping open an À Peu Près Sauvignon Blanc and pitting the sharp onion against the crisp wine was a delight. A little too much strong flavour for a 5, but an absolute pairing masterstroke from Lucy. Grrr!
Sweet Chilli Sensations and Viognier
The ultimate “I’m a proper adult now” crisp, the sweet chilli sensation is a staple of every buffet crisp bowl for the last 10 years. The all-black bag makes them look proper premium, so we went in a similar direction with the wine. Pairing with chilli can be tricky, there are so many depths of flavour in spicey foods, but a great viognier usually has enough going on to make a match. You might see the Viognier "Les Vignes d'à Côté", Yves Cuilleron described as aromatic (a high-end term for lots of good smells) and this is exactly what the sweet chilli needs to go bang. A strong performance for a slightly indulgent evening in type of pair.
Mega Posh Ready Salted and Rosé
One day you’ll reach a stage where you’re willing to buy your crisps from a Whole Foods, and this is the type of thing you’ll find. This particular crisp is made from Himalayan Sea Salt (so ready salted?) and looks like it’s got its own wine label. If you’re going to pull a bag of these out at pre-drinks, you best make sure you’re opening something good to match. We went big in the rosé category.
Posh ready salted crisps pair pretty well with everything. Salt and acid are a brilliant couple, so it’s hard to go wrong, but the Château Bauduc Rosé is pretty rich as rosé goes, and when matched with a (very) posh salty crisp, it went extremely well. The winner of the day was found but save it for special occasions!