Wine experts share their favorite Champagnes and sparkling wines to pair with French fries

Spuds and bubbles, a match made in heaven.

French fries and Champagne are the high-brow, low-brow pairings you never knew you needed in your life — like potato chips and caviar.

Salt and fat from potatoes. Acidity of Champagne. The acid cuts through the fat and salt; the fat and salt balances the acidity. Voila!

And with all eyes locked on Paris this month for the Olympics, we thought it would be a great time to make a few recommendations for pairings — French Champagne and french fries.

Yes, we know french fries are not technically French — they're named for their cut, not the country. We also know wines grown outside of the Champagne region of France are called sparkling wines.

But humor us — we know these 5 pairings will take a gold medal!

Eating french fries with Champagne brings brings out the fat and salt in the fries.
Eating french fries with Champagne brings brings out the fat and salt in the fries.

Skinny fries = Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs

Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs pairs well with skinny fries.
Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs pairs well with skinny fries.

Sam Tuttle, the wine director at Oak Park in Des Moines, Iowa, is not only an expert at work, but at home, where he drinks Champagne when he's off the clock. To pair with skinny fries, he recommends a Champagne made with mostly pinot noir. (Champagne is made mainly from three grapes: pinot noir, chardonnay and meunier.) "I love Champagne with a lot of weight," he says.

Our pick: Let's root for the home team and go California on this one: Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs ($40), which has structure and acidity with notes of citrus and tropical fruits.

French fries comes in all shapes Can you name them all?

Fast food fries = Brooks Extended Tirage Sparkling Riesling

Brooks Extended Tirage Sparkling Riesling pairs well with fast food fries.
Brooks Extended Tirage Sparkling Riesling pairs well with fast food fries.

For those same flavors, Karla Walsh recommends a sparkling reisling from Oregon to pair with fast food french fries.

Its bubbles have a “zippy acidity to cut through the richness of the fries, a lovely balance of tropical fruit and minerality on the palate, and a salty finish," says Walsh, a Des Moines, Iowa-based freelance lifestyle writer who contributes to magazines like Food & WineAllrecipes, and Better Homes & Gardens, is studying for her level 2 sommelier certification.

“Riesling isn't often turned into sparkling wine, true," she says. "But if you're skeptical about that concept, this wine will likely convert you and convince you that yes, this can work!”

Walsh's pick: Brooks Extended Tirage Sparkling Riesling ($35). "It pairs beautifully with fried anything — including potatoes,” she said.

More: We asked, you answered: Here are America's favorite french fries

Poutine = Ployez Jacquemart Extra Quality Brut

Dominic Iannerelli, who recently opened Prime & Providence, a modern steakhouse, in West Des Moines, Iowa, recommended pairing poutine with a brut Grower Champagne, a Champagne made by the farmer who grows the grapes that go into the bottle. (Look for the initials RM, standing for Recoltant-Manipulant, which is French for grower-maker (or “harvester-manipulator,” on the front of the label.)

He likes the brut style to cut through the gravy!

Our pick: Ployez Jacquemart Extra Quality Brut ($37). If we're ceding this round to the French, we're going to have to go with Laurence Ployez, who is a third-generation winemaker at her family's estate, which was established in 1930.

Boardwalk fries = Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava

And for Boardwalk fries, those thick-cut, skin-on fries seasoned with Old Bay, Iannerelli recommended a cava, as sparkling wine is called when it's from Spain.

“It’s a good contrast. The cava is nice and acidic," Iannerelli said.

Our pick: Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava ($11), for its complex flavors of orange and flowers — you can't beat the value.

Chili-cheese fries = Gruet Rosé Sparkling Wine Brut

Especially if you like a Cincinnati chili with a light cinnamon flavor — or the New Jersey "all-the-way" sauce that tops its famous "ripper" hot dogs, you'd do well with a rose-style Champagne, says Iannerelli. “It has some light sweetness to it,” he said, to pair with the salty dish.

Our pick: Gruet Rosé Sparkling Wine Brut ($23). We're sticking with the states for this one. The Gruet has notes of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry, and you can sip it with patriotism this Olympics season.

Susan Stapleton is the entertainment editor and dining reporter at The Des Moines Register.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Champagne pairings with French fries

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