The Sweet, Smoky Potato Chip Pairing To Amplify Fruity Wines

At some point, someone figured out that the unassuming potato chip was not just suitable for a simple bowl of onion dip or as a side to bologna sandwiches in school lunchboxes, but that it pairs remarkably well with wine. This is well demonstrated in Italy, where a glass of wine is often accompanied by a variety of snacks, including olives, peanuts, and indeed, potato chips.

Of course, you don't need to go to Italy to enjoy this gastronomic delight. A quiet Wednesday evening in your living room can offer the same pleasure. To truly relish this experience, the pairing of the right wine with the right chip is crucial. If you've got a fruity red wine in your rack, grab a bag of barbecue chips. This combination will enhance the flavors of both the chips and the wine, without overwhelming your palate. But be warned: The wrong wine or chip choice could see you relegating your chips back to the onion dip.

With barbecue, think fruit

Barbecue-flavored potato chips have quite a lot going on. Unlike their plain counterparts, which are seasoned only with salt, barbecue chips boast a flavorful coating of garlic and onion powder, smoked paprika, and sweetness from brown sugar or honey. With such complexity, a red and fruity, but not necessarily sweet, wine is ideal to bring each flavor to the surface. Zinfandels with a strong fruit presence, youthful and chilled California Pinot Noirs, and Merlots will all perfectly meet the criteria. When present in the chip's seasoning, ingredients with strong flavors, such as onions, garlic, and tomatoes, can help enhance the fruity notes in the wine.

And for those who are less enthusiastic about red wines, there's a fantastic alternative — a dry rosé. This is one of the most food-friendly wines available, as it's light, fruity, and definitely not sweet. It also pairs wonderfully with barbecue chips. When in doubt, just consider which wines you like to drink with actual barbecue foods. Chances are, they will be the same wines that will go nicely with their chip counterpart.

A chip for every wine

Since potato chips are practically a mood, many people don't keep one flavor around at a time. But don't worry, there's a wine for all of them. For classic, salted potato chips, something bubbly like champagne or prosecco is a classic pairing, but so is an unoaked Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. A sip of wine should clear your palate and get it ready for the next chip. Salt and pepper chips are usually pretty heavy on the pepper so, naturally, a nice peppery red would be a yummy complement. Try Syrah, an earthy Cabernet Sauvignon, or Chianti.

Who doesn't love sour cream and onion chips? That flavorful coating is positively addicting, causing you to reach for "just one more" dozens of times. For a tasty wine pairing, reach for a lightly oaked Chardonnay. As for something cheesy, a light Pinot Noir, with its red fruit and light body, would be a good pairing.

Wine and cheese pairing parties will probably never go out of style. But, next time you're planning a soirée around wine, consider opting for a chip board as an accompaniment to your wine selections. You might be surprised at how your guests' eyes will light up like those of children on Christmas morning.