If your house is anything like ours, you’re just getting around to “throwing away” (down your throat) the kids’ leftover snacks as you’re prepping dinner. And everyone knows what dinner prep time means: wine time! Just because these snacks are marketed towards kids doesn’t mean that you can’t pair them with your favorite wine. Indulge while cleaning up, or invite friends over for a wine and snack tasting soiree. However you choose to do it, you can’t go wrong with these combinations.
1. String Cheese & Chianti
Who needs a trip to Italy when you can remake the experience in your very own home! Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly the same, but with a little opera in the background (a.k.a. your toddler screaming) you just have to close your eyes and sip to imagine you’re there. The bold taste of the chianti is a nice complement to the much milder mozzarella. The mozzarella helps to bring down the wine’s natural acidity and its somewhat bitter aftertaste, while bringing forward the wine’s fruity flavor profile.
2. Ritz Crackers with Peanut Butter & Grenache
This grown-up version of peanut butter and jelly is a crowd favorite. The grenache is mild to medium-bodied, with a lively, floral aroma. The aroma is muted a bit by the crackers, but the fattiness of the peanut butter brings out some of the lurking richness of the wine. The finish is as smooth as the peanut butter.
3. Clementines & Chardonnay
No, it’s not a band name, though perhaps it should be. You can go surprisingly oaky with your chardonnay here. The sweet/tartness of the clementines works to bring down the oak, while bringing up the citrus undertones found in most buttery chardonnays. And between the vitamin C and the antioxidants found in this pairing, it’s basically the nutritional equivalent of a kale smoothie. Or something.
4. Carrots and Hummus & Riesling
It may sound crazy to pair such a sweet wine with such a garlicky spread, but it really works. The sweet, crisp riesling picks up on those same characteristic in the carrots. Instead of interfering with the taste, the richness of the hummus tones it all down, keeping the wine and carrots from becoming cloying. The riesling also helps to soften the guilt you may feel about your children’s refusal to eat vegetables.
5. Goldfish Crackers & Cabernet Franc
Earthy, complex, rich — I could go on about Goldfish for days. (Oh you thought I was talking about the wine?) The cab franc is a mellow wine that’s light, smooth, and very drinkable. The saltiness of the crackers draws out some of the more peppery undertones of the wine, leaving it still mellow but with a bit more of a bite.
6. Chocolate Chip Granola Bars & Verdeca
Verdeca is a relatively rare varietal that is somewhat reminiscent of a riesling but dryer. There is still sweetness there, though. The granola bar helps to bring it forward while somewhat muting the wine’s mineral flavors. It doesn’t overpower with sweetness, however — you still get a nice tangy kick at the end. Fair warning: be careful with this combo – the double whammy of antioxidants in the wine and in the chocolate may take a few years off your appearance.
7. Grape Fruit Leather & Sparkling Wine
There are some days (I’m looking at you last Wednesday) when only bubbles will do. Try a slightly sweet, dry bottle — like a rose brut. Some wines turn a bit bitter when paired with something sweet, but not this one. The fruit leather helps to bring out the sweetness of the wine, but it doesn’t overpower the delicate flavor. After a truly craptastic day, follow with chocolate. Always.