It has been said that garlic has so many health benefits, it should be eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Studies have shown that garlic can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and help prevent blood clots. It contains allicin, an antibiotic compound, and has been used for centuries for fighting infections.
With April being National Garlic Month, this bulbous plant is certain to get a great deal of attention in the days and weeks ahead. We’re good with that, because garlic pairs nicely with a wide variety of wines.
The key question when pairing involves how the garlic is used — that is, whether it’s cooked or not. Cooking tames its flavor, whereas eating it raw underscores it.
A good example is a garlic-infused mayonnaise (aioli), like you might spread on a sandwich, or a salad dressing that uses uncooked garlic. These types of uses call for white wines that offer citrus-like flavors, including Sauvignon Blanc, Italian Vermentino or French Picpoul de Pinet. A dry Spanish rosé — known as rosado — also would work very nicely, as would the dry rosés of Provence.
Prefer dry red wines? They can also make great pairing partners, but the garlic needs to be roasted or used in a dish prepared in a slow cooker so that it complements the dish rather than defines it. With such dishes, try the three great varieties of France’s Rhone region: Grenache, Syrah or Mourvedre — or, even better, a blend of the three. Another option would be a full-bodied Malbec, an increasingly popular variety thanks to the explosion of vineyard plantings in Argentina.
At tapas bars in Spain, where garlic is used in many of the dishes, Fino Sherry often is recommended by the bartenders and servers.
Finally, as long as the garlicky dish doesn’t involve red meat, you can turn to Champagne as a wine companion. If you’re an escargot fan, bubbly is definitely the way to go.