Antipasti, small bites at the beginning of the meal, are perfect for pairing with wine. Pairing wine and antipasti is fantastic as you can experience several different flavors at the same time, noticing how each different antipasti impacts the wine in your glass and vice versa. Whether you make an antipasti platter at home, or order one while out, here are eight of our favorite wine and antipasti pairings:

1. Insalata Caprese & Lambrusco

Pair caprese with Lambrusco

A caprese salad is brilliantly simple: buffalo mozzarella sits atop freshly sliced tomatoes and basil that’s drizzled in olive oil. While Buffalo mozzarella has a delicate taste, which might lead you toward a crisp white wine, like Prosecco, those juicy tomatoes are begging for something a little heartier. Lambrusco is a great choice, because it still has the light, bubbly quality of a Prosecco while providing a bit more backbone for the meatiness of the tomatoes.

2. Pickled Peppers & Oaked Chardonnay

Pair pickled peppers with Chardonnay

You might think that peppers and Chardonnay – especially oaked Chardonnay – make a crazy combination. But the truth is you want to tame the pucker-inducing tang of the peppers with something more mild and creamy, and oaked Chardonnay is the perfect contender. Another alternative is a dessert wine, like Sauternes.

3. Artichoke Hearts & Sauvignon Blanc

Pair artichoke hearts and Sauvignon Blanc

Have you ever noticed that after eating artichoke, everything tastes sweeter? That’s because artichokes contain a chemical called cynarin that, literally, sweetens the deal. You don’t want to taste too much sugar, so while eating artichoke, back away from dessert wines. Instead, go for acidic, dry wines like Sauvignon Blanc. You can also opt for a Pinot Grigio.

4. Hard Cheese & Chianti

Pair hard cheese with Rioja

Parm and Chianti were born for one another. The salty, assertive notes of the cheese go very well with the dusty, dark fruit flavors of the rich wine and when combined, the Chianti brings out the creaminess of the cheese. It’s a delicious combination.

5. Green Olives & Cabernet Franc

Pair green olives with Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc has a nice vegetal quality that goes well with the lively flavors of green olives. The tannins add depth to the olives’ bright flavors, while the “stalky” (as in like a plant stalk, not a stalker) characteristics are a great accompaniment to the olives barky, earthy qualities.

6. Brown Or Kalamata Olives & Agiorgitiko

Pair kalamata olives with Agiorgitiko

This Greek wine is similar to Pinot Noir, and should be just as much of a crowd pleasure. The deep, purple fruit that you taste in Agiorgitiko is an ideal match for the lush sweetness of Kalamata olives. The whopping tannins in the wine also mingle well with the olive’s brininess.

7. Prosciutto & Sangiovese Rosé

Pair prosciutto with Sangiovese Rosé

Good prosciutto should melt in your mouth, and you don’t want a wine that will overwhelm you with a thick texture. Instead of something structured, opt for Sangiovese rosé. The wine will be just acidic and crisp enough to cut through the fatty softness, while the expressive fruit  adds another whole layer of taste to your bite.

8. Ricotta And Honey & Sweet Riesling

Pair ricotta and honey with Riesling

A crostini with a little ricotta and honey is pure heaven, but adding a glass of sweet Riesling will make you feel like you’ve really had dessert. The acidity will cut well through the super rich texture of the ricotta, while the apple and pear notes harmonize with the sweetness of the cheese.

This article was originally published in VinePair. Read the full article here.