Find out from a wine pro how to sip and snack.
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When it comes to lounging on the couch, there's no better combination than a glass of wine and a bag of chips. They're both old-faithful indulgences, but can also be a source of real joy and comfort. Sande Friedman, who runs the beverage program at Di Bruno Brothers in Philadelphia, is a fan of applying intentional wine-pairing knowledge to everyday snacks for maximum enjoyment. She weighed in to offer guidance for pairing some popular salty snacks with their perfect wine.

Classic Potato Chips

"If this is the blank standard potato chip, just go wild with whatever unique thing strikes your fancy at that very moment," Sande says. "Or, jazz up a blank palate with something special to you." She recommends trying out a skin-contact pétillant natural, especially one from Bloomer Creek, a winery in upstate New York.

"These unfiltered sparkling wines are from richer grapes, but are fermented so dry and earthy, and the bubbles liven up everything," says Sande. "Some bottles are like a cross between cider and wine — use the neutral chip as a palate cleanser between comparing sips as the wine evolves."

Barbeque

"BBQ chips are the best for standing up to a medium or fuller red wine," Sande explains. "A safe zone would be a reliably soft Merlot-based red wine, but a more fun and creative zone that I wholeheartedly encourage would be Mariotti Smarazen Bianco dell'Emilia."

This wine is a fizzy blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes, that has some peachiness that might remind you of a peach barbecue sauce. It's a frizzante-style bubble, so it's super casual and perfect for a backyard barbeque or drinking on your couch.

Salt and Vinegar

"This is the most stressful pairing for me to think about," Sande says. "Just because the vinegar in these chips is so forward and can just sit in your mouth for so long. I'm leaning on my best friend grape Gamay, because you're always near-guaranteed fruitiness, softness, and the acid will add brightness but not more astringency to this already intense bite."

Look for a still (aka not sparkling) rose made with Gamay grapes. Sande particularly loves Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose.

Doritos

Don't be afraid to go a little splurge-y for your chip and wine pairings. Sande loves Bichi's Pet Mex Tecate, a rosé pétillant made of a wide blend of grapes.

"It's delightfully sweet yet balanced, light and frothy-peachy, the perfect chaser for licking Dorito dust off of your fingers," Sande says. "I like an off-dry wine to balance something so cheddary as a Dorito, but leaning on a still wine like something Riesling, Muscat or Gewurztraminer-based would just get cloying."

Red wine with savoury party snacks on rustic dark wood background from above.
Credit: etienne voss / Getty Images

Cheetos

"The junkiest of chip options gets an old faithful pairing — chilled light red wine," says Sande. "Every year I get incredibly excited for Fossil & Fawn's annual "Do Nothing" red blend, an attitude fit for pairing with a bag of Cheetos. It's as casual as a Cheeto pairing, but just as consistently delicious." Get ready for orange fingerprints on your wine glass.

Sour Cream and Onion

"A regular snack setup for me is French Chardonnay (look for unoaked and medium weight) and sour cream and onion chips," Sande says. "An elegantly bright lemon profile works wonders for balance... and for that sour cream-ish dust they coat chips with, you're still going to want a fairly substantial white, so you can't do anything too light." This pairing could also work well for salted potato chips served with French onion dip.

Pringles

Pop open a can of Pringles for your next movie night with wine. "As another fairly neutral palate, I'll go one of my favorite general roast potato pairings and overall favorite grapes — Chenin Blanc." Sande says. "This honeyed white grape of the Loire Valley at the base of Vouvray and a cult favorite grape of wine geeks everywhere. Since Pringles are such an all-American chip, try an all-American Chenin like Hobo Wine Co.'s Folk Machine Chenin Blanc."

Pretzels

The instinct with pretzels is to go with a red wine, since they tend to taste kind of malty and wheaty. If you want to go in that direction, Sande recommends a Zweigelt-based which brings a little peppery flavor. Vorspannhof Mayr makes a liter-sized bottle that Sande likes. It's medium in body with a mulberry and cherry flavor and zingy peppery finish.

"If you want to experiment with something funky, a Jura white wine could also be wildly cool with pretzels," Sande explains. "These wines are not your standard white wine; they're oxidative and aromatic, sherry-like even. The right little sprinkle of salt could really lift them up in an interesting way, and this would be even more delicious with a hard dark rye-style pretzel."

Sweet Potato Chips

"Pinot Noir is the red grape for sweet potato anything, sweet or savory," says Sande. "If you're feeling fancy, Amelie Berthaut's entry-level Bourgogne Haut Cotes du Nuit is a literally perfect Pinot. I've also been loving Copper Pot Pinot Noir from Thorne & Daughters in Western Cape, South Africa. This Pinot is a little more brambly and spicy than a Burgundy Pinot, but still carries itself with elegance and grace. This is one of the most impressive South African Pinots that I've had, and it's a quality steal for the price."

Truffle Chips

"Everyone will default tell you that Champagne is the catch-all fun pairing for chips overall," Sande says. "They're not wrong, but I feel like if you're balling out on real Champagne, you should go full out and get a luxury-flavored chip as well. My dream splurge this minute would be Moussé Fils 'Spécial Club' Brut (a rare 100% Pinot Meunier Champagne that is all things creamy and luxurious), paired with Torres Truffle Chips, potentially dunked in some really ripe Harbison or Amontigado cheese because why not. Live your life."

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