Cultures Collide: Pairing Loire Valley Wines with American Comfort Food

By Vicki Denig

In honor of our love for Loire Valley Wines and all things American food culture, we’re letting you in on 9 of our favorite ‘mixed pairings’ to enjoy year-round.


In this article

Chicken & Waffles - Crémant de Loire

Sparkling wines are some of the most versatile ‘pairing bottles’ in the world, as their bright acid and refreshing structure complement an array of foods. However, no pairing is quite as ethereal as bubbles and all things fried. When sipped alongside crispy fried chicken, the wine transcends to a whole ‘nother level of deliciousness, and the fruit-driven flavors of Chenin Blanc-based Crémant de Loire beautifully complement the sweetness found in waffles – the cherry on top, in our opinion. You really can’t go wrong here.

Hamburgers – Chinon (Red)

Juicy hamburgers scream for something robust yet refreshing – enter Cabernet Franc from Chinon, a structured red wine. These fuller-bodied expressions of the grape are packed with earthy, spice-driven notes that are ideal for sipping alongside burgers on the grill (even better if there’s some gooey cheese on them to balance it all out).
Remember: tannins love fat, and the gritty yet approachable tannins found in red wines from Chinon are just hearty enough to stand up to rich hamburger meat. 

Macaroni & Cheese - Anjou Blanc

The rich, warming flavors found in a classic casserole of macaroni and cheese need some seriously refreshing acid to balance out their richness, making Chenin Blanc from Anjou a top choice. The wine’s mouth-coating notes of yellow apples, honey, and juicy stone fruit provide loads of palate relief from the dish’s pleasant heaviness. Pour yourself a glass and get cozy, though keep the bottle within arm’s reach – this pairing is going to have you coming back for more.

Cobb Salad - Muscadet Sèvre et Maine

Classic Cobb Salads have an array of textures and flavors going on in them, though finding a high-acid white to balance out the tanginess of the dressing is key here. Snagging a bottle of salty, sea-influenced Muscadet from the western coast of the Loire is as versatile (and thirst-quenching) as it gets. Produced from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, these wines are loaded with flavors of citrus, coarse salt, and crushed seashells. The only thing better than this pairing? Savoring a glass with some oysters as an appetizer beforehand.

Texas Barbecue - Coteaux du Vendômois

Coteaux du Vendômois doesn’t often get the love it deserves, though in the realms of Texas barbecue, we can’t think of a better wine. The spicy, fruit-driven nature of this grape makes it perfect for standing up against the sweet-yet-savory nature of barbecue dishes. Expect notes of tart red cherries, white pepper, and sweet spice. (And don’t forget to serve these reds slightly chilled to elevate the pairing even more!)

Bagels & Lox - Touraine Sauvignon Blanc

Brunch dishes and delicious wine go hand in hand, and if you’re from the East Coast, you know that bagels and lox are a weekend staple. Although many wines could fit this pairing, we’ve found that the high-acid, grassy/rocky notes found in Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine make the savory flavors of smoked salmon and cream cheese come to life. Pro tip: swap your plain cream cheese for chive and onion for an even more delicious pairing. 

Lobster Rolls - Saumur Blanc

Lobster rolls and Chenin Blanc from Saumur are like two peas in a pod. The rich, apple-driven notes of the wine beautifully complement the sweet undertones found in lobster meat, while the wine’s ample amounts of acidity cut through the fat of the sandwich’s mayo content. For an even more decadent pairing, grab a bottle from Savennières.

Buffalo Wings - Rosé d'Anjou

Whether mild, medium, or straight-up on fire, the heat found in Buffalo wings screams for a bit of residual sugar. Rosés from Anjou usually have a bit of sweetness to them, making them a perfect match for this classic American bar snack. Can’t find a Rosé d’Anjou? No problem. Off-dry bottles from Vouvray work just as well.

Hot Dogs - Saumur Champigny (Red)

Hot dogs are synonymous with East Coast street food culture, and although they aren’t frequently paired with wine, we can’t think of anything we’d rather drink with one than a glass of red wine Saumur Champigny. These peppery, red-fruited wines beautifully play off the slight sweetness found in the meat, and the tannins here are just noticeable enough without being overbearing. Sip chilled and get ready for some serious deliciousness.

Apple Pie – Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux, or Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru

Ending a meal on a sweet note is always a good idea, and in this case, sipping a rich glass of sweet Chenin is exactly what the pairing calls for. When pairing sweet wines with desserts, the rule of thumb is to always ensure that the wine is sweeter than the dish. The ample amounts of residual sweetness found in the wines of Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux, or Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru seriously overdeliver on this pairing - we wouldn’t blame you for going back for seconds.


The French touch you need in your inbox

Please complete this field
Your registration is confirmed