I found myself making the wine and food pairing posts a bit too serious. I was hyper focused on the perfect pairing with the perfect meal. But life isn’t always like that. For me, Friday night dinner is the ‘big’ one. I would choose one of the wines from my cellar and pair an elaborate meal around it. It’s something I love to do. But the rest of the week is pretty much snacks with red wine. I realized I never share much about what kinds of snacks go best with red wine and usually focus more on whole meals.
Not every wine and food pairing has to be so structured, and if I look at my own life, it’s usually whatever snacks I have in my fridge or cabinets with whatever red wine I have laying around.
To make your Netflix nights a little more fun, try some of these snack and wine pairings. It’s a great way to see how different flavors match with different foods. Or if you’re having friends over and just want a few nibbles and some vino, these pairings are sure to please. This is just a guideline, your favorite bottle of red will generally be perfect with any of these snacks.
Cheese and Crackers Paired with Your Favorite Red
Classic cheese and crackers is one of my go-to snacks with red wine. Usually it’s little cheddar or gouda cubes with butter crackers but really any combination will do. This is a great way to experiment with different cheeses and different wines.
The more snack combos you taste with wine, the more chances you will find your favorite. And wait until you taste those salty crackers and salty cheese with a red wine with high acidity, yum! Your only regret will be that it’ll make you finish your wine faster. That’s what second bottles are for.
Pizza Bagels- Chianti or Zinfandel
We all love pizza nights, especially with a quality glass of red wine, such as Zinfandel. But, what if you are alone or not too hungry to eat an entire pizza? Don’t get me wrong, I can almost always finish an entire pizza but since I turned 35 my metabolism has been MIA.
Thankfully, some genius out there came up with frozen pizza bagels, which are basically frozen snack heaven. I just found them here in Greece (it’s so hard to find American junk food in Greece) and let’s just say, it’s a ritual now. Reliving my childhood but now with wine. All you have to do is bake them real quick, and you have everything you need to accompany your favorite Chianti. To all pizza fans out there, we are so lucky to live in this era!
I mean, it’s not hard to make pizza bagels from scratch either, depending on how much energy you have.
Cheez-Its are Great with Cabernet Sauvignon
Whoever invented Cheez-Its is a genius. Cheese and cracker all in one. Cheez-Its were my favorite snack as a kid and let’s just say not much has changed.
They are flavorful baked crackers that can be a fantastic fit for a red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon. Remember this red wine and snack combo the next time you visit the grocery store, and your late evening glass of wine may have found its perfect sidekick.
Antipasto Bites with a Sangiovese-based Red Wine
Are you on the lookout for an easy and quick-to-make snack to accompany your red wine? Give antipasto bites a try, and you won’t regret it.
Antipasto is a traditional first course in a formal Italian meal. Still, you don’t need to worry about formalities here. Just put layers of mozzarella, red pepper, salami, or any other cold appetizer on top of skewers. And you have a perfect match with Sangiovese-based wines. Pretty much any cheap Italian red wine will do.
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Cheesy Garlic Bread Paired with Merlot
Does someone in your social circle judge you for enjoying a glass of wine or two a little too often? Well maybe they are just too jealous of you and your peaceful wine evenings. In either case, you may benefit from the use of garlic.
After all, once your mouth is blessed with garlic’s aroma, your critics don’t wanna be around to complain. Right? But that is not the only reason to incorporate garlic in your wine nights. Cheesy garlic bread is so easy to make, too. The taste of heated bread spread with butter and garlic, topped with oozing cheese is all too good to leave aside, especially if accompanied with a quality dry wine like Merlot. I particularly like Merlot because its fruitiness and medium acidity elevates the heaviness of bread, butter, and cheese.
Trail Mix is a Great Snack with Cote du Rhone
Even though I live on an island with some of the best hiking, it’s hard to find the time and energy to hit the trails. Doesn’t mean I don’t always have a bag of trail mix in my cabinet. I get the one with chocolate chips in them. The mixture of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and even candy is a great snack with red wine. Ask me how I know?
I’m a big fan of pairing trail mix with Cote du Rhone reds. Nuts and chocolate just work really well with Grenache, the base of the blends.
Bruschetta Paired with Nero d’Avola
Although not often, I may feel like drinking a full-bodied wine outside dinner times. For example, Nero d’Avola is a wine that really should be paired with food. On it’s own, it’s just a bit too much. So insert some super easy to prepare bruschetta. Literally anything on top of a slice of bread can be called bruschetta. Even just put some olive oil on an Italian-like bread and toast it. Feel free to add garlic or tomatoes for an extra flavor, a slice of salami, some feta cheese – there is no wrong way to do it. Nero d’Avola is the main red wine from Sicily.
Throw on a wine movie that takes place in Italy, make yourself some bruschetta, and pour yourself a big ole glass of Nero d’Avola and call it a night.
Pigs in a Blanket with Pinot Noir
I can almost picture cute little piggies wrapped in a comfy blanket sipping on some Pinot Noir, jokes on them. Pigs in a Blanket is a great snack with red wine that’s easy to prepare and just the right level of comfort food. I have a bag in the freezer for impromptu guests or for an easy late night snack that is excellent with red wine. And if you choose a bright, dry wine like Pinot Noir, you are in for a treat.
Onion Rings and Shiraz
Anyone who has bought my ebook knows I like to think of wine as a condiment. What do we dip onion rings in? Ketchup. What wine is jammy and fruity? Shiraz. Is this wine and snack combination great? Yes. The batter and greasiness of onion rings is great with the acidity in Shiraz. I say Shiraz and not Syrah because Australian styles of Syrah do have those jammy, very fruit-forward flavors.
Pepperoni Slices & Syrah
To all meat lovers out there, you need to try pepperoni slices with your red wine. Is this the world’s laziest snack? Possibly. I rarely even take the pepperoni slices out of a the bag. I should at least plate them and pretend I somewhat have my life together. Anyway.
I recommend trying the pepperoni slices with a fruit-forward wine, like Syrah. The combination is ruthless! Syrah also has a black pepper flavor that brings out the spice in pepperoni.
Mozzarella Sticks & Barbera
Oh sweet mozzarella, how tasty you are! It is a favorite red wine snack for many. And for a good reason. If you haven’t tried it already, make sure to do so soon. Mozzarella is a rather neutral cheese and Barbera won’t overpower the flavors.
An excellent recipe that will make you fall head over heels in love is mozzarella sticks. These stretched battered cheese sticks make an ideal fit for red wine. Try them with a rich, light-bodied wine such as Barbera and thank me later.
Sliders Paired with Petite Verdot
Sliders are a great party snack. And dare I say, sliders are way better with wine than burgers. Here me out. When you’re eating a full-sized burger, you’ve got both hands wrapped around and you can’t put it down! You gotta chow or the whole thing will fall apart. Not a whole lot of opportunities to be sipping wine in between. But sliders, or tiny hamburgers, are perfect for snacking with red wine. Petite Verdot is one of my favorite wines with burgers because of it’s high tannic structure that meets its match with a juicy greasy burger.
Chicken Wings with Tempranillo
A list of snacks with red wine can’t be complete without mentioning chicken wings. No matter your choice of wine, this snack can blend great and elevate the taste of your wine.
If you pick a dry, savory wine like Tempranillo, make sure the wings are not too spicy. On the other hand, an off-dry red blend will pair great with spicy chicken wings.
Taquitos Are Great with Carmenere
If you are Mexican food fan (everyone), you must know how well taquitos pair with red wine. If you haven’t tried them yet, fix your mistake and put that on your bucket list. What? We can have wine and food pairing bucket lists, can’t we?
They are about rolled tacos made of tortillas with a filling of various cheeses and often chicken. Super fast to prepare and they go great with a glass of red wine. I’m a big fan of Carmenere with Mexican food. Carmenere has a lot of bell pepper flavors and aromas that complement the cuisine nicely. Carmenere is also relatively inexpensive so a great red wine to have on hand when snacking.
Meatballs Wine Pairing: Malbec
Finally, meatballs are a favorite choice for the ultimate snack for red wine. It is no wonder Italians use the word meatball, or “polpetto”, to express affection to another person.
So to all my meatball readers out there -yes, I love you, it’s a fact -make sure to pair your red wine with this favorite snack of mine. I always pair it with Malbec, and the combination is simply supreme! Malbec has good structure for a meaty snack but is still velvety enough to enjoy on its own when the meatballs have run out.
Tell me your favorite snacks with red wine in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.
Any great snacks with red wine that I missed? Like I said, it’s hard to screw this up. I hope this article served as some inspiration to start getting your snack on.