Wine And Snack Pairings We Can't Live Without

Selecting food that effortlessly complements your wine selection can feel like an elaborate affair. However, contrary to popular belief, you don't have to spend hours cooking a fancy steak dinner or a beautiful duck á l'orange to go with a nice bottle of wine. There are no fixed rules when it comes to pairing food and wine. Drinking wine doesn't have to be relegated to special occasions or fancy food. Wine can be a fun everyday drink (as long you don't overdo it).

That being said, while you don't need to prepare hors d'oeuvres or five-course dinners to go with your wine, that doesn't mean you should skip the food altogether. In fact, it's always smart to eat while you're drinking wine to ensure you don't start feeling woozy after a few sips. So, if you're opening a bottle of wine at the end of a long day, snacking is not only recommended, it's encouraged!

Finding the perfect snack for your wine of choice can be a confusing experience. That's why we've compiled a list of wine and snack pairings that simply sync. Read on to discover your ultimate guide to creating a fun, affordable wine-and-dine experience you can enjoy at home. Remember, this list is just a starting point. When in doubt, go with your cravings — pair popcorn with Merlot if that's what your heart desires. Seriously, there are no rules — just follow your thirst and taste buds and let them lead you on a tasting adventure.

Potato chips and brut Champagne

Let's start with one of the most iconic wine and snack pairings — Champagne and potato chips. If you think Champagne only goes with caviar, you're mistaken. This bubbly wine goes well with a range of high-fat foods, especially the salty grease of crunchy potato chips. 

We're not making it up: Even Food & Wine endorses this match made in heaven. The prickly fizziness and slight acidity of Champagne cuts through the rich intensity of potato chips, which allows the flavors of the wine to really shine. It's a fun combo for entertaining, one that will pleasantly surprise your guests. If you want to add a dip to the mix, we suggest something spicy — Champagne is an excellent choice for foods on the hotter end of the snack spectrum.

When picking out your Champagne, make sure you opt for a brut (dry) option, as a sweet Champagne may clash with a salty snack. Champagne can be rather expensive in most cases, so if you don't want to spring for a pricey bottle, you can always opt for a different sparkling wine, like Cava or Prosecco. Again, we recommend choosing drier varieties when possible.

Oreos and Chardonnay

If you've been keeping up with the latest developments in the wine world, then you may have already heard of Barefoot's new Oreo Thins Wine. While we're certainly not going to recommend pairing Oreo wine with Oreos, Barefoot's latest invention is reflective of the sheer deliciousness of the Oreo-and-wine combo. Bearing in mind the delectable nature of this delicious pairing, we'll offer a beverage suggestion for Oreos that won't elicit tears from wine lovers as they contemplate the overreach of culinary capitalism into the world of wine — Chardonnay. 

Popsugar Food recommends pairing Golden OREO Thins with Chardonnay, although we reckon Chardonnay goes with just about any kind of Oreo. The buttery quality of a good Chardonnay complements the sweetness of an Oreo and doesn't overwhelm your senses with sweetness the way a Moscato might. Chardonnay's acidity pierces right through the one-note element of Oreos, lifting their sweet flavor and giving them a delicious, layered complexity. 

Looking for a solid Chardonnay to go with your Oreos? You may want to try the Alma Rosa 2019 Chardonnay from Sta. Rita Hills. Beautiful, bold, and just acidic enough, this wine complements many dishes well, but we particularly like it with Oreos at the end of a long day.

Pretzels and Sauvignon Blanc

Pretzels can draw extreme reactions — people tend to love or hate them. We fall into the former category. What's not to love about a stick of carbs covered in salt? Sounds like the perfect snack to us! Sometimes, however, pretzels alone are simply not enough. When you're craving something a little extra, turn to wine for even more fun. 

We recommend pairing pretzels with Sauvignon Blanc. Salty foods are best complemented by high-acid whites like Sauvignon Blanc (via VinYang). The acidity of Sauvignon Blanc perfectly balances out the saltiness of pretzels. Sauvignon Blanc can be paired with both soft and hard varieties of pretzels — either way, you're in for an addictive combo that you might not be able to stop consuming. You've been warned!

Sauvignon Blancs are exceptionally easy to find, even on grocery store shelves, but if you're looking for a recommendation, we love the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc from Gamble Family Vineyards. This refreshing, zippy, white wine — originating from the Gamble family's boutique Napa Valley winery — is a fun option for those who are looking for something crisp and uncomplicated. This wine has a lovely minerality to it that makes us feel festive and special, even if we're just at home on a Tuesday night, sipping away while eating a bowl of pretzels.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Lambrusco

Flamin' Hot Cheetos are the pinnacle of the snack pyramid for spice lovers. We love their crunchy saltiness, but the heat is what really gets us going. One thing's for sure, though, if you're going to open up a bag of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, you should have a drink on hand so your tongue isn't fighting for its life. If you're looking for an upbeat, exciting combo, we suggest pairing Flamin' Hot Cheetos with a nice, chilled Lambrusco.

Lambrusco has been gaining in popularity over the last few years. This light-bodied red possesses a lovely fizziness, making it perfect for red wine lovers who are also partial to bubbly liquids. According to Bright Cellars, Lambrusco's sweet, fizzy qualities make it ideal for pairing with spicy snacks like Flamin' Hot Cheetos. 

We love this pairing, not just because it's delicious but also because it's whimsical enough to please even your pickiest guests. Fret not, though, you certainly don't need guests to indulge in this snack. You can enjoy this combo on your own, as long as you do so with the knowledge that it might become your favorite dynamic duo!

Beef jerky and skin-contact (orange) wine

Go into any natural wine bar, and you'll notice a long list of skin-contact wines, also referred to as orange wines. Skin-contact wines are very popular right now, perhaps owing to the fact that they offer a nice compromise between traditional red and white wines. 

The typical method of creating white wines involves removing the grape skins prior to maceration. Like white wines, skins-contact wines are made from white grapes. However, unlike most conventional white wines, the grapes in the orange wine-making process are macerated with their skins (via Wine Enthusiast). As a result of this contact with the grape's skin, orange wines, unlike their traditional counterparts, often have noticeable tannins. This unusual process is also what gives orange wines their lovely amber color.

According to Doreen Winkler, the founder of Orange Glou, orange wine is highly versatile and can be combined with most foods without the flavors clashing too much (via The Gourmet Insider). We adore her suggestion of combining orange wine with beef jerky. The complex, rich flavors of both the wine and the jerky play nicely with each other, and the combination is both fun and sophisticated. If you're new to skin-contact wines and are looking for a nice orange to test the waters with, Field Recordings' 2020 Skins is a great choice.  

Chex Mix and Gamay

Gamay: A glou glou-lover's dream come true. A delicious, chilled Gamay is ideal for wine drinkers who love a light-bodied red. It's juicy, it's highly appealing and easily drinkable, and, as Wine Folly claims, it pairs well with just about everything. Gamay seems to complement almost any food you put on the table. Gamay's versatility means it can be paired with an endless number of snacks.

That's exactly why we decided to pair Chex Mix with Gamay. Chex Mix offers a wide range of flavors and textures, and Gamay is unlikely to clash with any of them. Plus, Chex Mix and Gamay have one key thing in common — due to their pleasant-yet-complex flavors, they're both easy to consume all night without boring your senses to tears. We suggest having plenty of Chex Mix on hand and making sure the Gamay you pick has a low alcohol content (so you can glou glou away!).

Gamay is especially tasty when combined with roasted foods. While Chex Mix is not quite a golden roast chicken, it does contain hints of garlicky, oniony seasoning that evokes the same meaty flavors. All the flavor fun without the baking hassle? Sounds like a dream!

Popcorn and Chenin Blanc

Popcorn is one of the ultimate snack foods. You can eat a lot of it — like, a lot — without getting a snacking hangover. Popcorn is one of those snacks that just about everyone likes. Sure, some people prefer butter, and others prefer kettle corn, but those are just the details. Popcorn is a classic, and so is Chenin Blanc — it's no wonder they accompany each other perfectly. 

Popcorn is a very light snack, and there's not a lot going on in terms of flavor (unless, of course, you buy flavored popcorn or add some flavoring yourself). If you're sticking with the traditional, lightly-salted, buttered popcorn, you wouldn't want to risk drowning those lovely, delicate flavors in the loud boldness of a Merlot. Similarly, a super-white crisp white might overwhelm popcorn flavors, leading them to get lost in a sea of tannin or acidity. 

The solution? A Chenin Blanc. Winerist Magazine suggests pairing popcorn with a fruity and round wine like Chenin Blanc. Don't worry — that doesn't mean you have to opt for something sweet. Chenin Blancs are available in several diverse flavors and styles, such as dry, off-dry, sparkling, and dessert-sweet (per Usual Wines). While your local grocery store may have a few options, you're best off heading to a wine shop for ample choice and variety. 

Snickers and Cabernet Sauvignon

Time for the sweet stuff. If you're looking for something extra indulgent and sugary, you can't go wrong with a Snickers bar. It's a lot of intense flavors: Milk chocolate, peanuts, nougat, and sticky-sweet caramel all combine to form one delectable treat. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you enjoy immersing in rich flavors, it's a clear choice. What would perfectly match such a bold, overpowering candy bar? Not something light and simple, that's for sure.

Perhaps that's why The Foley Food & Wine Society suggests pairing Snickers with your favorite bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. A Cabernet is a bold tannic, which will perfectly complement the overt sweetness of a Snickers candy bar. A Cabernet Sauvignon's dark fruit notes will add a new layer to an already decadent, complex dessert. What's not to love? 

This potent-yet-classic combination of chocolate and wine is sure to lift your senses, giving you an intoxicating buzz. If you're stuck in your search for the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon, Smith & Hook's Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast is a wonderful option. 

Gummy bears and Rosé

Gummy candies — such as gummy worms, gummy bears, jelly sweets – are a fun, fruity snack you can never quite grow out of. Their chewy, gelatin sweetness is bound to have you letting loose and acting like a kid again. If there's one type of wine that has us feeling fun and lighthearted, it's a Rosé. It's pink; it's crisp; it's delicious and summery. It's perfect for sipping outdoors in warm weather. There's something light and vivacious about Rosé – just pouring it into a glass can automatically brighten your day! It's no wonder that Candy Club suggests pairing Rosé with the fruity candy of your choice!

If you're a sugar enthusiast, we suggest pairing your candy with a Rosé that is on the sweeter side. However, if you want something more balanced, opt for something fruity but semi-dry, which will give your taste buds a colorful burst of fresh flavor. We love Frescobaldi's Alìe Toscana IGT Rosé and its delicate notes of white flowers, wild strawberries, and citrus peels.

Fritos and pét-nat

We've already suggested pairing Champagne and potato chips, which is an absolute modern-day classic. However, let's not forget the cool aunt combo of the bubbly wine and crispy snack world – Fritos and pét-nat. Pulling out this exciting pair at a party will no doubt fast-track you to instant popularity!

Fritos are an ideal yet quirky staple of the snacking world — a corn chip seasoned with extra salt and twisted into a strange shape for optimum shoveling-in-by-the-mouthful potential. Pét-nat is short for the French term "pétillant naturel," which means "naturally sparkling" (via Food and Wine). The process of creating pét-nats is a simplified version of the methods used to produce conventional sparkling wines. While we won't go into the details of the process here, the result is a wine that has an eclectic, more barnyard flavor than traditional bubbly wines like Champagne. 

Since Allrecipes asserts that sparkling wines go well with salty snacks, we thought this was an ideal match. Like pét-nats, Fritos have a funkiness to them that goes far beyond what a standard corn chip offers. Like Fritos, pét-nats have an effortless coolness to them that makes them a popular party option.

Warning: This combo may be too hip to handle. Proceed at your own risk.

Takis Fuego and Riesling

Any spicy snack-fiend worth their spice knows that it's hard to beat the heat that Takis Fuego bring to the table. They're fiery, crunchy, and carby all at once – no wonder they're one of our all-time favorite snacks. Finding a wine that goes with the intense, bold flavors of Takis is no easy feat. It requires choosing a wine that will temper and balance Takis and their explosive taste. Pairing sweet wines with spicy food is a great way to enjoy the heat while countering it enough to make it bearable. Which sweet wine is up to the task of working with Takis Fuego? Well, if you ask us, it's Riesling.  

Thrillist reckons Riesling can provide a cooling sensation to the palate, forming the perfect accompaniment to any spicy snack. While Rieslings tend to be on the sweeter end of the spectrum, they're available in several different varieties (via Wine Folly), ranging from sweet to dry. If you're not inclined toward sweet wines, there are plenty of dry Rieslings on the market that offer complex flavors without overbearing sweetness. Whichever Riesling you pick to go with your Takis, the end result will be taste buds that burn as they sing!

Shrimp chips and Albariño

Albariño may not be in your wine wheelhouse if you prefer red wines, but it's a white wine variety that's definitely worth checking out. 

This wine, which often hails from the Iberian Peninsula, is usually light to medium-bodied and is highly acidic (per Unraveling Wine). It pairs well with seafood (which is usually on the lighter side) and high-fat foods (because Albariño's natural acidity cuts through rich foods in ways a more buttery wine never could). When we think seafood and greasy crunch, we think shrimp chips — there's simply no better snack companion that goes so effortlessly with Albariño. 

This Southeast Asian snack is delightfully light and airy, and since it's cooked in fat, it has a potato chip-like quality to it. The shrimp flavor is subtle but pronounced, which gives this snack a little seafood flair that we love. Shrimp chips and Albariño may not be a typical combo, but it's a uniquely delicious one. This fantastic, light pairing is perfect for any summer evening, particularly when you're in the mood for something a little offbeat.

Chocolate chip cookies and Merlot

We can hardly discuss snacks without mentioning one of the most indulgent snack foods of all time: chocolate chip cookies. They're sweet. They're gooey. They're everywhere. Since we love chocolate chip cookies so much, we think they're deserving of a beautiful wine pairing that suits their sweetness and enhances their flavors. Luckily, Total Wine offers a wine suggestion that we can totally get on board with — Merlot. 

Merlot and chocolate bring the intensity, and the cookie dough brings the sweetness — these flavors come together in a symphony of taste that you will absolutely love. While we could enjoy this pairing at any time of the year, it's especially lovely in the winter months. We recommend picking out dark chocolate chip cookies as the tannins from the Merlot will complement that slightly bitter, rich flavor exceptionally well. 

This combination is so iconic that when Christmas rolls around, and you're leaving out cookies for Santa, you might just find yourself swapping the milk with Merlot.