Pairing wine and nuts

By Shelley Boettcher

If you love wine and you’re looking for a high-protein, plant-based snack to pair with your favourite glass, you’re in luck.

Wine and nuts are a wonderful combo, especially this time of year.

Best, they’re an easy and affordable combo that you can have on hand for last-minute entertaining, too.

I had a chance to try a few classic combinations this past week, as well as a couple of less-familiar pairings, and I was reminded how much I love the two together.

Three awesome combos to search out:

1. A chilled bottle of La Marca Prosecco (Veneto, Italy) and almonds. The buttery, salty almonds go so well with the Prosecco’s bubbles.

Long a favourite of mine for dinner parties, I didn’t need to be convinced that the La Marca Prosecco would be a win-win for wine lovers. Best, in moderation, Prosecco apparently helps to lower your blood pressure, and almonds are high in protein, healthy fats, Vitamin E and magnesium.

2. Whitehaven 2019 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand), paired with salted, roasted pistachios.

I’ve long been a fan of Whitehaven‘s wines; the winery’s 2009 Pinot Noir made it into the second edition of my book, Uncorked, and the 2011 Pinot Noir made it into the third edition.

The 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is equally delicious: a well-balanced, crisp, refreshing white wine with zingy acidity and tons of personality. A cool white for cool evenings.

The story behind the winery’s owners, Greg and Sue White, is cool, too. The couple left high-powered careers in finance and marketing, spending two years travelling around by boat, only to start a winery. (Whitehaven, of course.) 

I hadn’t tried this pairing before, but the winery team suggested it, and it was a winner.

The richness of the pistachios contrasted beautifully with the freshness of the Sauvignon Blanc, making it an easy Sunday night appetizer for slackers like me. I was wondering all night why I’d never tried the two together before. 

And a bonus: Pistachios are high in fibre, healthy fats and protein. In other words, like wine, they’re good for you when eaten in moderation.

3. William Hill Estate Winery 2017 North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon (North Coast, California) with walnuts.

Fresh walnuts can be hard to find in Canada, at least where I live. Too often, they’re old and bitter, completely unlike the walnuts I’ve eaten in California and Georgia in the past.

But if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some good ones, enjoy them with a glass of this rich Cab Sauv from William Hill Estate Winery. The spicy, dark plummy notes pair well with the crunchy nuts.

Bonus: in moderation, this snack, like the previous pairings, is good for you. Red wine is high in polyphenols, resveratrol and quercetin, and walnuts are high in Omega-3 — all of which may help keep our hearts healthy. Walnuts are also high in vitamin E and folate, which may help keep your brain healthy, too.

Walnuts contain a ton of other healthy stuff, too, but you get the picture. Not only does a glass of this Cab Sauv taste good when paired with walnuts; it may be good for you, too. 

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