Pair it Up! Butternut Squash Chips and Wine

Wine and potato chip pairings are on the rise. This is the kind of unfussy match that sometimes happens unexpectedly (you'll likely be wearing sweatpants when it does) and there's no reason to get scientific or analytical about it. That being said, there is something deeply satisfying about finding a wine that sings with a single pronounced flavour like those found in a bag of potato chips. And if it doesn't, what's the worst that can happen? There will only be good and great pairings with potato chips.

This is a food group with endless variations on flavour. When we're talking about plain chips, we're thinking mostly about the flavours of salt and vegetable oil (salt and fat). This is why sparkling wine is the popular choice—with the acidity to cut through the fat, and the palate-cleansing power of the bubbles. In What to Drink with What You Eat, Champagne is suggested as the top choice followed by beer and sparkling wine. There is something about the added nuttiness and yeastiness of a sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method (à la Champagne) that pairs especially well. From the My Wine Canada portfolio, check out the Lakeview Cellars '08 GMR Sparkling, the Bella 2012 Sparkling Chardonnay, or the Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Brut.

Recently, The Globe and Mail published The Quick Fix: Butternut Squash Chips. This recipe takes a slightly more health-conscious approach, calling for butternut squash that is coated with olive oil and baked (instead of those typically fried in vegetable oil). I appreciate the flavours butternut squash offers the mix. The flesh has an inherent spice and a richness that potatoes don't have—qualities that pair well with richer-styled Chardonnay, often because they have some baking spice characters imparted by oak, and with Viognier, usually with viscous texture and perfumed spice notes of its own. There are many great Viogniers to choose from on My Wine Canada. I'm leaning toward the Laughing Stock 2013 Viognier, the Moon Curser 2012 Afraid of the Dark (Viognier/Roussanne blend) and the Le Vieux Pin 2012 Ava Viognier.


Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.

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