Pairing Cold Leftovers and Wine

by | Aug 31, 2023

While cold leftovers are strangely satisfying anytime of year, they’re especially great in the summer. Maybe it’s cool food during the hottest season, perhaps it’s the simplicity of not having to prepare something — let alone heat or reheat it — during the dog days. Whatever the reason, we know this to be true: Cold leftovers are even better with the right wine.

So as you meander through the second half of summer and the stretches of heat sure to come with it, consider the following pairings. You don’t have to follow them word for word (we always advocate for additional experimentation) but we do suggest working with the varietal pairing suggested, at least as a starting point. Happy re-eating!

Pizza and Sauv Blanc

Pizza is the ultimate cold leftover dish, great for any meal of the day, for days to come. We love to treat the salty tang of a good Margherita, pepperoni or Hawaiian pizza to the grassy freshness of a Northwest Sauvignon Blanc. For meatier pizzas, consider a heftier Sauv Blanc that’s been aged on the lees and/or barrel fermented. Regardless, tomato, bread and salt love the company of a zippy white wine with tropical notes.

Suggested Pairing: 2021 Division Sauvignon Blanc “Environs”

Chicken Salad + Pinot Blanc

A summer staple, chicken salad is built for the season. We love it with the subtle richness of Pinot Blanc, a wine that’s always had a thing for poultry. It plays off the creaminess of most chicken salads and its green apple flavors enhance the dish. Just remember to add some fresh greens or celery to the mix if you want some added crunch.

Suggested Pairing: 2022 Brooks Pinot Blanc

Pulled Pork + Gamay

We tend to warm up pulled pork but it’s great served cold the next day, whether as part of a lunchtime sandwich or integrated into nachos for happy hour or dinner. What to drink? We suggest a juicy medium-bodied red such as Gamay. The red fruit does well with the pork without overwhelming it and the fact that you can serve a Gamay slightly chilled (do it) makes it all the better when the sun is scorching.

Suggested Pairing: 2021 Syncline Gamay Noir

Meatloaf + Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir and meatloaf like each other much, regardless of whether that loaf is made of meat or plant-based. The varietal has a pretty broad flavor spectrum, so go according to your recipe. If the meatloaf is earthier, hit with lots of spices and ingredients like mushrooms, consider an earthier Pinot Noir. A more traditional meatloaf hit with the bright and sweet notes of ketchup will do great with a more fruit-forward Pinot. Really, the varietal is so meatloaf-friendly it’s hard to go wrong.

Suggested Pairing:  2018 Iris Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Egg-Fried Rice + Albariño

Be it from leftover takeout or a stir-fry you made at home, cold egg-fried rice is a thing and it’s delicious (even for breakfast). Give it a kick of umami with a fresh drizzle of your favorite sauce and try it out with a bright-as-a-neon-light white wine like Albariño. The Spanish varietal is starting to get some serious traction here in the Northwest and we love it not just with tapas and fresh seafood but with leftovers, too.

Suggested Pairing: 2022 Thurston Wolfe Albariño 


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