Salade Niçoise is a French salad that pairs best with Rosé, sparkling wine, light reds low in tannin, like Pinot Noir or Beaujolais, as well as refreshing whites like Gavi, Arneis, Albariño and Chenin Blanc.
Salade Niçoise is a classic French salad that contains canned tuna, tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, anchovies, potatoes, capers and hard boiled eggs. You might also find raw onions, green beans, lettuce and chopped bell peppers in there as well. Everything is then tossed in a minced garlic, shallot and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. With the diversity of the ingredients, and the high acidity of the vinaigrette, wine pairing can be a challenge. Acidic white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling will taste thin against the high acidity of the vinaigrette, and will fight with the dressing, rather than mesh with it. Tannic red wines are also a no-go as the tannin will make everything taste too salty and the vinaigrette and tomatoes in the Salade Niçoise will make the wine taste metallic.
Best Wine with Salade Niçoise
|Rosé||Provençal Rosé||Salade Niçoise|
|Rosé||Marsannay Rosé||Salade Niçoise|
|Rosé||Chinon, Rosé (AOC)||Salade Niçoise|
|Rosé||Luberon AOP - Rosé||Salade Niçoise|
|Rosé||Fronton AOP||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Chenin Blanc||Salade Niçoise|
|Red Wine||Pinot Noir||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Gavi di Gavi / Cortese di Gavi (DOCG)||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Albariño||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Verdejo||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Muscadet||Salade Niçoise|
|Sparkling Wine||Sekt||Salade Niçoise|
|Sparkling Wine||Cava||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Burgundy, White||Salade Niçoise|
|Sparkling Wine||Prosecco||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Chasselas||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Arneis||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Côtes du Rhône, White||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Pecorino||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Grüner Veltliner||Salade Niçoise|
|Red Wine||Beaujolais Villages||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Sauvignon Blanc||Salade Niçoise|
|White Wine||Riesling||Salade Niçoise|
Dry Rosé & Nicoise Salad Pairing
My number one choice of wine with Salade Niçoise is a dry Rosé. There are many bold and contrasting flavours in Salade Niçoise, such as the dry and salty flavours of black olives, the watery and neutral cucumbers, and the salty and fishy Tuna. Raw onion, starchy potatoes and acidic tomatoes add their twist to the equation.
Rosé offers the best crowd-pleasing middle ground when it comes to the diversity of Salade Niçoise. Bright with light strawberry, cherry and raspberry flavours, the fruity notes blend well with the sweetness of the tomatoes and the meatiness of the canned Tuna. The berry notes also provide a refreshing contrast against the saltiness of the Tuna, olives and anchovies. Rosé also has notes of citrus, apricot and grapefruit that brighten up any of the cucumber, potato, hardboiled egg and lettuce ingredients in your Salade Niçoise.
When pairing a Rosé up with your Salade Niçoise, stick with a dry Rosé that features medium acidity. If your Rosé is too high in acidity, it will fight with the Salade Niçoise dressing and lose, making the Rosé taste off-putting and harsh.
Finally, every country that produces wine typically offers up a Rosé. France Rosé is regarded as the best, but I find Rosé from across the globe to always be outstanding, provided it is dry, and not made in a sickingly sweet and candied style.
Pinot Noir & Salade Niçoise
It may seem odd pairing a red wine with a salad, however, Pinot Noir surprisingly works as it’s low in tannin and light-bodied. While Salade Niçoise has a wide variety of ingredients, it’s really the Tuna that is the star, and Pinot Noir is excellent with Tuna.
Pinot Noir is a light and fruity red wine with bright flavours of wild strawberry, black & red cherry and raspberry. You’ll also find mysterious notes of forest floor, barnyard and truffle that drive wine connoisseurs wild. Sometimes Pinot Noir is oaked to make for a bolder red wine. You’ll want to stay away from this bolder style for Salade Niçoise as the tannin in the oak will clash with the salad and make everything taste metallic and salty.
The traditional Salade Niçoise recipe calls for canned tuna in oil, however, modern chefs often use freshly seared tuna to impress their guests. When you’re eating high-quality Tuna, such as bluefin, albacore, yellowfin or bigeye, a light-bodied Pinot Noir will brighten up the gentle and clean sea-like fish flavours of the meat. For canned Tuna, skipjack tuna is often used, which has a bolder and fishier taste. The refreshing cherry, raspberry, and strawberry notes of a Pinot Noir help mask some of the fishy flavours while bringing out the delicate notes of the sea flavoured canned tuna.
Good Pinot Noir is not cheap, so I’d only suggest Pinot Noir with Salade Niçoise if it is your main course as Pinot Noir is a wine you should always sip and savour. If Salade Niçoise is a starter, keep the Pinot Noir party going and choose a main that will be just as delicious with this elegant red wine. Our blog on Pinot Noir has dozens of ideas, or you can use our Food and Wine Pairing Database.
Gavi & Salade Niçoise Pairing
A refreshing Gavi features refreshing but quiet notes of green apple, citrus, grapefruit, herbs, lemon, lime, minerals and pear that marry well with the variety of flavours found in Salade Niçoise. With this pairing of Gavi, the goal is to let the Tuna and the Salade Niçoise be the star, and the wine should sit back and let the bold flavours of the salad shine. Gavi does this in spades as it does not drown out any of the complex flavours of Salade Niçoise. Rather it offers simple refreshment while injecting a kiss of life into the mix with its delicious fruit and crisp flavours.
Select a Gavi that features medium-acidity, or else the wine will end up fighting with the dressing of the Salade Niçoise. If Gavi isn’t on your shelves or on the restaurant’s wine list, Arneis and Chenin Blanc will serve up a similar experience.
Prosecco & Salade Niçoise Pairing
When you have a complex dish with a wide variety of ingredients, a glass of Sparkling Wine will always come to the rescue when all else fails. Neutral in flavour, Prosecco is an Italian Sparkling Wine that features flavours of apples, pears, apricot, almonds, yeast, toast, honey and lemon custard. These flavours are subtle, so they won’t overwhelm any of the ingredients found in your Salade Niçoise. Instead, Prosecco keeps your mouth refreshed in between bites and lets the fleshy Tuna, salty olives, starch potatoes, mildly sweet cucumbers, and savoury hard-boiled eggs do their own thing.
If you’re having a banquet and Salade Niçoise is served as a starter, I highly recommend pairing it up with Prosecco. You can serve Prosecco during the opening cocktail hour and have it carry through for the first course of Salade Niçoise with ease. The fun and bubbly nature will ensure this sparkling wine will be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Furthermore, Prosecco is also incredibly budget-friendly, which will keep costs down at larger events.