In the warmer weather, salads are more prominent on lunch and dinner menus. When serving a leafy salad, it is generally the dressing, not the contents of the salad, that determines which wine will best compliment it.
Tart, acidic dressings go best with tart wines such as Sauvignon Blanc. The higher acidity in the salad dominates the palate and has the effect of making the wine taste fruitier and less acidic.
Ranch-Style or Caesar Dressing
For creamy dressings such as ranch or Caesar, the wine needs to have body and acidity to offset the richness of the dressing. If not, the wine will taste flat.
Raspberry Balsamic Dressing
Valpolicella Ripasso is a well-balanced, fruity wine that with its dark fruity flavour matches well with the berry flavour in the salad. As well, it’s strong enough for the vinaigrette without drowning the more subtle flavors of the leafy greens.
A sweet-spicy ginger-sesame, or other sweet dressing will make light sweet wines taste less so or make dry wines taste somewhat bitter. A French Vouvray, which is made using Chenin Blanc grapes, or an off-dry Riesling will pair well in this situation.
Bleu Cheese Dressing
Portugal’s Vinho Verde is a tropical fruit-powered delight that has a slight hint of sweetness that brings out the creamy factor in bleu cheese, making the salad pop. Pinot Gris or Pino Grigio will also pair well.