By Gina Trippi
July is about cookouts and crisp white wines. Cookout menus vary but they all have one thing in common: chips!
The potato chip was invented in 1853 and has been America’s number one snack food for more than half a century. Over the years, the flavor profile has become more sophisticated with an array of tastes ranging from beet juice to curry to ranch dressing.
The popularity of the potato chip just continues to grow. Nielson, the research and data company, estimated that $155.9 million was spent on chips in 2014. And while beer remains the cookout king, Nielson reports that $222.8 million was spent on white wine in the same year. And USDA says that we consume about 17 pounds of potato chips per person annually.
So, let’s do something different this summer. Let’s put the two—the wine and the chips—together. We’ll start with the chips. Anyone who has tasted the offerings at Gourmet Chip Company knows best chips in Asheville. The kettle style chips—made with local ingredients and proprietary spice and sauce blends—paired with just the right white wine will launch your celebration in a new and interesting way.
In pairing wines and foods, you are either matching or contrasting the acidity, intensity and fruit flavors. Since chips carry strong flavors, we suggest fuller bodied, west coast wines.
Let’s begin with a basic salt-and-pepper chip. Pair it with CMS White from Hedges Family Estate. With all the amazing varietal flavors and components in this bottle, the salt-and-pepper chip allows the aromatics and crispness of the Sauvignon Blanc, the apple and caramel of the Chardonnay and the nut, spice and pear of the Marsanne, to shine. And, in turn, those flavors bring out the best in the chip.
The tangy chip has become a kitchen staple. Gourmet Chip Company offers a chip with a dusting of apple cider vinegar and Mediterranean sea salt. Try Albarino by Klinker Brick—the California take on this Spanish grape—with aromas of stone fruit, pear and honeydew melon and a palate presenting flavors of green apple and peach matches acidity to acidity.
The white truffle spritz chip with rosemary, thyme, basil and sea salt needs a wine with a smooth palate to roll over the intensity of the chip. Thomas Henry Chardonnay matches the chips with flavors of green apple and pear complemented by tropical fruits with a hint of lemon custard.
Finally, what would a July BBQ be without BBQ chips? The Southern BBQ chip has 13 homemade spices blended with sweet and smoky flavors. Sprockets, a blend of German grapes made by Teutonic Wine Company in Oregon, is the classic match. With an ever-so-slight touch of sweetness, Spockets can handle the heat!
Make backyard parties different this summer. Put the partner bottle next to the bowl of chips…and chip and sip!
Gina Trippi is the co-owner of Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street in Asheville. Committed to the community, Metro Wines offers big shop selection with small shop service. Gina can be reached at 828.575.9525.