Corn Chips and Salsa:
Two things come to mind. First, a dry Riesling from Germany, Australia, or even the Finger Lakes of Long Island. Second, a cold glass of Muscadet from the Loire Valley. Why Riesling? Riesling’s flavor profile is a natural fit for corn chips and salsa. Australian Rieslings are known for tasting of lime juice and petrol, with slight herbaceous, salty notes. Think tequila, salt, and lime. Muscadet, a crisp white wine made from vines that border the Atlantic ocean, spends months aging “sur lie” or “on the lees” (i.e., it spends time aging on the spent yeast cells that die after fermentation). This requirement lends a brioche, almost beer-like flavor to the wine. Those elements, plus the lemony brightness and sea-spray air, are reminiscent of a crisp Tecate beer, with a squeeze of lime and some sea salt.
Potato Chips without Dip:
In a different post, we recommended pairing Champagne with French fries. Champagne, not surprisingly, is delicious with chips, too! Like French fries, potato chips are salty and a bit greasy, so they benefit from a high-acid, bright, effervescent wine. Other wines that work well with salty potato chips involve anything with a bit of sweetness. Sweetness mitigates saltiness, so anything from a California or Oregon Pinot Noir, to a German or Alsatian Riesling, to a juicy Australian Grenache will pair nicely.
Potato Chips with Sour Cream Dip:
Here, you’ll want to consider both the flavors and the textures of the dip. This dip is rich, luscious, tangy and creamy. There are a few wine options to consider. A luscious Chardonnay is a great match because it has the weight and body to match the dip, enough acidity to cut through the richness of the potato chips, and a creaminess that will match the sour cream.
Another option might be a Marsanne or a Rousanne wine (or a blend of the two). This wine originally hails from the Northern Rhône Valley in France, and it is notable for its rich texture. Unlike most great white wines, Marsanne and Rousanne’s most prominent characteristic is their creamy texture, which marries brilliantly with rich, creamy-textured foods. Saint-Joseph Blanc and Crozes-Hermitage Blanc are two classic examples.