The best wines to pair with popcorn range from a racy sparkling to a minerally chardonnay. Chef David Frakes, the estate chef at Sonoma’s Lynmar Estate winery, is a big fan of the potential of popcorn and wine pairings. To date, he has created over 100 different popcorn expressions, brought to life with seasonal salts he creates from Lynmar’s organic estate gardens. His top pairing? Popcorn tossed with a cara cara orange essence and chardonnay salt with a Lynmar Chardonnay. The Oscars, the biggest popcorn event of the year, is just days away and these are the Oscar-worthy popcorn and wine pairings you should have on hand for this year’s show.
Riesling and Gruner Veltliner
Domäne Wachau is one of Austria’s iconic wineries, well-regarded for their exquisite and racy single vineyard expressions of grüner veltliner and riesling—two varietals that will take well to a popcorn pairing. Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Kellerberg ($49.99) is a richly textured full bodied white with notes of peach and mineral. Their Domäne Wachau Riesling Ried Bruck ($26.99) offers a more value-driven option—crisp and elegant, it brings a refreshing compliment to salty, buttery popcorn.
Champagne and Sparkling
Cuvaison Brut Rosé, 2019 ($60) A méthode champenoise sparkling wine made from chardonnay and pinot noir, and aged two years on the lees to develop complexity. This elegant sparkling wine delivers on purity with pretty notes of strawberry, watermelon, lemon cream and a trace of ginger on the palate.
Laurent Perrier La Cuvée Brut ($74.99) The long aging process needed to finish this Champagne lends it marvelous finesse and elegance. Ripe apple and lemon zest notes on the palate and the wine’s remarkable balance make it a fine choice with salted popcorn.
Riverbench, Cork Jumper Cuvee Santa Barbara, CA 2018 ($52) Artisans of sparkling wine from their SIP certified estate vineyard (since 2008) in Santa Maria Valley, the Riverbench team is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. This expression brings together equal parts of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. The creamy palate shows ripe peach and citrus notes with a hint of ginger and buttered biscuit. Winemaker Clarissa Nagy recommends this one with white cheddar popcorn.
Chardonnay and Rose
Stoller Willamette Valley Rose, 2022 ($28) Winemaker Karl Weichold shows a delicate hand with this juicy yet elegant wine. Wild strawberry, Valencia orange and white tea notes come together with a mouth-watering finish. This one is perfect for any flavor popcorn, even a sweeter kettle corn would work.
Balverne Chardonnay Russian River Valley, 2021 ($35) A very limited-production chardonnay from exclusively estate vineyards owned by Bob and Renée Stein. Winemaker Alex Holman ferments the wine in oak barrels, which helps to develop notes of butterscotch, ripe apple and lemon cream on the palate. Delicious with a truffle salted popcorn.