Iceberg wedge: impossible-food wine pairing?!?

iceberg wedge
Over the weekend I was out to dinner at a nice restaurant and encountered something I hadn’t seen for a while: the iceberg wedge slathered in blue cheese and bits of bacon. I told my cousin sitting next to me that I was surprised to see this retro dish on the menu, remarking that the last place I had read about it was when Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft with a net worth of $14 billion, was “dipping bits of iceberg lettuce into a ramekin of blue cheese dressing” at his canteen, a private dining room at a Seattle steakhouse. My cousin assured me that is coming back thought not as comfort food as I had suspected, but as an ironic appetizer. Yes, ironic!

Well, no matter why it’s coming back, the dish is appearing on tables again. And if that’s the case, then let’s help the Steve Ballmer and others. Which wine would you pair with an iceberg wedge and blue cheese dressing (bacon optional)? Or does that blue cheese dressing make it…impossible?

Recipe and photo credit at seriouseats.com

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16 Responses to “Iceberg wedge: impossible-food wine pairing?!?”


  1. Looks like another one for Muscato.


  2. something powerful and sweet to match the salty, creamy, pungent blue cheese and something earthy to match the bacon and onion – never had this with an appetizer, but I’d go with a light tawny Port.


  3. Moscato d’Asti would be nice, or an Mosel late-harvest Riesling. I am also tempted to say that a really fruit-forward Lodi Zin or even a red Lambrusco would be interesting, esp if there is a plate of BBQ nearby to go with the salad. You could also slap a bottle of Cava Rose on the table.


  4. Well Blue cheese is the issue here, I’ll do a Mosel Auslese Riesling I believe it can stand to the fatty/ funky cheese, Mead for stronger blue cheese and possibly Tokaj 4 puttonius for saltier blue cheese


  5. I too read the MSFT article but wasn’t that surprised at the blue cheese laden salad. Every chain steak restaurant offers one…but don’t look at the calorie count if you’re watching your weight. I used to order them (before learning the cost to my diet) and would be perfectly happy accompanying it with the cabernet or zin that I ordered to accompany my filet. :)


  6. The lettuce probably needs a white wine, while the funky blue cheese is gonna need a little residual sugar. I like the suggestion of an Auslese Riesling, although I might go for something from the Willamette Valley. The assistant winemaker at Brooks recently started his own label, called ‘Love & Squalor”, and he makes a fantastic riesling. so that would be my pick.


  7. Southern Rhone. Red. Something tannic to go with the creamy dressing and bacon, not to mention the blue cheese. The spicy flavors will offset the bland lettuce nicely…


  8. Maybe a dry sherry. I don’t like either blue cheese or sherry, so they’re probably a match.


  9. Sorry to dodge the wine answer, but a light(er) beer seems the answer. The likes of a radler or hefeweizen seems to do the trick. If pressed for wine, some Alsatian blend could play a nice supporting role. The pungency (and mouth-coating nature) of a bleu cheese dressing needs acidity to cut it. A dry cremant (alsace or bourgogne) or blanc de blancs could fill in well, too. The southern Rhone call and dry sherry would be great, but finding a dry sherry btg or restrained CdR under $9 in most restaurants is no easy task. A pint o’ wheat beer is friendl(ier) on the wallet.


  10. I would totally picpoul de pinet that sucker. Crisp, high acidity to clean the palate after every bite of blue cheese and refreshing enough to bring some zazz to the iceberg. The right picpoul will make the food taste better and make you capable of eating the whole plate (which to me seems a bit daunting).


  11. If the blue cheese is Roquefort, then your choice of Chateau Margaux or d’Yquem, certainment!


  12. Excusez-moi, s’il vous plait: “certainement”!


  13. Thanks fo the thoughts here. Clearly the lettuce itself is not challenge since it is 99% water. But that “blue cheese” dressing is something else. As many of you have noted, a real blue cheese, served after a meal, might pair well with a sweeter wine. But pouring one at the top of the meal upends the Usual Order of Things. So whoever orders this will probably just have a young Napa cab anyway.

    I wonder what other courses Steve Ballmer has that we can play sommelier for?


  14. I believe the article said Ballmer had iced tea so he doesn’t need wine pairing advice. :)


  15. Red wine with this little dish sounds gross. White with some body- vouvray?


  16. I like Clark’s response. White comes to mind, but nothing sweet. Sweet wine at the beginning of a meal with only tire the palate faster. Beer could be a fabulous option, but if it has to be wine, then an aged, soft white Riesling from Alsace.


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