by Paullette Gaudet
Okay: so peanuts aren’t *really* nuts, but you don’t exactly need Don Draper to tell you that “Beer Legumes” isn’t the best advertising slogan on earth. You are also correct in suspecting that beer isn’t the only alcoholic beverage that goes well with peanuts—when looking for quick, classy munchies to serve with wine, nuts provide a welcome, healthy and unexpected opportunity for inventive flavor pairings.
The workhorses here are sparkling wines (Champagne, Cava, Prosecco) and Cabernet Sauvignon: both pair superbly with sweet or spicy nuts. Sparkling wines in particular are fantastic with salty foods, so they naturally make perfect companions for saltier nuts—and any type of almond. Cabernet Sauvignon and other deep, rich red wines are ideal matches for the meaty, aromatic intensity of roasted nuts. Pecans pair well with Pinot Noir and other lighter reds, while Rosé plays well with walnuts. White wines tend to favor the lighter nuts: zesty whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Sancerre bring out the best in cashews and pistachios, while Chardonnay’s rich, fruity taste is perfection when paired with hazelnuts.
Quick Tip: When in doubt with hard-to-pair foods like salad or asparagus, a handful of chopped nuts tossed onto them makes all the difference by providing a flavor anchor for a suitable wine pairing.