The Ultimate Summertime Guide to Seasonal Food and Wine Pairings

Author´s image
About the Author: Pamela Heiligenthal is a wine writer, educator and co-founder of Enobytes, an online resource for wine enthusiasts and professionals.

Summer brings lighter fare, which should mean a shift in your wine picks. Experiment with new, interesting pairings.

With summer here it’s time to break out the grill and uncork some special wines! Here are recommendations for four kinds of pairings that are sure to please.

Light seasonal foods If you are going for lighter fare, stick with something crisp and refreshing such as a rosé, a Pinot gris (aka Pinot grigio), a Sauvignon blanc or a Viognier. These pair well with dishes like grilled chicken or seafood. If you prefer red wines, grilled vegetables or pork make great pairings with lighter, less tannic reds such as Pinot noirs or Spanish Tempranillos.

Recommendations

2011 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone “Corallina” Napa Valley Syrah Rosé ($20) — a dry rosé with lots of strawberry and citrus flavors. Pairs well with grilled chicken, salmon or traditional picnic fare.

2009 Seufert Winery “Vine Idyl Vineyard” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($30) — a light but earthy, fruity wine with loads of character. Grilled portobellos make a perfect match.

Barbecued meats Smoky meat dishes go best with heavier or spicier styled wines. Try a Gewürztraminer, Riesling or Chardonnay with barbecued chicken — or a Syrah, Meritage (a Bordeaux-styled wine), Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel with barbecued pork or lamb.

Recommendations

2010 AntoLin Cellars Yakima Valley Washington Riesling ($14) — good acidity with flavors of melon, peaches and honey. Spiced chicken would knock this pairing out of the park!

2008 Dry Creek Vineyards “The Mariner” Dry Creek Valley Meritage ($40) — a full-bodied blend of black fruits, vanilla and spice. This steals the show at any barbecue.

Hamburgers and pizza The key to selecting the right wine for hamburgers or pizza is to think about the condiments or sauce. As for cheeseburgers with onions, an Italian Primitivo (a southern Italian version of California’s Zinfandel) works well. If you like a lot of ketchup, stick with a fruity or sweet wine to complement the ketchup. If you like bacon or mushrooms on your burger, try an Australian Shiraz or a Malbec. As for pizza, try a Barbera, Cabernet franc or Chianti with red sauce and meat. For you pesto lovers, a red Primitivo or a white such as Sauvignon blanc or Pinot gris are great. If you prefer a pizza with white sauce, go with a Pinot noir, Zinfandel or Chardonnay. And if you’re uncertain what wine might go best, stick with Chianti — you can’t go wrong!

Recommendations

2009 Septima Mendoza Argentina Malbec ($11) — a good value Malbec with flavors of cherry and raspberry that’s jammy and smoky, which makes it a perfect accompaniment to smoked meats.

2009 Smith-Madrone Napa Valley California Chardonnay ($30) — lots of apple, pear and citrus notes, leading to a good dose of minerality. Pair it with a chicken and white sauce pizza for a match made in heaven.

2008 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Castello di Nipozzano Rufina Riserva Chianti ($23) — aromas of ripe cherry and a hint of black pepper with nuances of fresh coffee beans and cocoa. It will make a good match with almost any pizza.

Cheese & fruit With the vast selection of cheese and wine styles, there are many factors to consider. If you want to look like a pro and impress your friends, simply choose regional matches. For example, Chianti will always pair well with the cheeses from that region — Romano, Parmesan and Fontina. The other option is to match the weight of the wine with the weight of the cheese (e.g., Port with blue cheese) or to contrast the flavors and textures (e.g., a sweet dessert wine like Sauternes with blue cheese). As for fruit, you can’t go wrong with a Moscato d’Asti or Muscat d’Orange, perfect summertime dessert wines that pair well with fruit.

Recommendations

Fattoria San Giuliano Piedmont Italy Moscato d’Asti ($22) — fresh and clean with honeydew and melon flavors. Its slight sweetness would make a great pairing with fruit.

There you have a few food and wine pairing ideas to get you started. And remember, there are no hard rules to pairing — the only thing that matters is what you enjoy. So grab a glass and find a new favorite. Salute!

Share

Comments

  1. Sonadora says:

    My favorite summertime pairing is sauvigon blanc and snow crab legs! I like the Veramonte for a bargain and the Titus Sauvignon Blanc for a little more money!

  2. Jack Cunningham says:

    Recently paired Gazpacho, the perfect summer soup with Sancerre. Despite both being acidic, they bring out the best of each other. I got watermelon off what was quite an average wine. See my blogpost sozzld.wordpress.com

  3. Julie Weinstock says:

    I like Ledson Zinfandel with spicy BBQ – perfect for the Fourth. Nice article!

  4. Rachel Voorhees says:

    I LOVE Zinfandel and BBQ this time of year!

    And Rose? Bestill my heart. I could drink Rose everyday all summer long!

  5. Lucy L. says:

    Great article. Nice to see someone take on the arduous task of stepping up to the plate (literally) and offering suggestions that are just as easy swallow as they are to understand. Viv seems to have it’s pulse on what I want to learn about. Please post more wine and food stories.

  6. Becca @ The Academic Wino says:

    Great post! I love Pinot Gris in the summer! To be honest, for me, anything cold pairs perfectly with hot summer days :)

    http://www.academicwino.com

  7. Wine Harlots says:

    I love a great jammy zinfandel with burgers — two great American classics, perfect for the 4th of July.

    All the best,

    Nannette Eaton
    Wine Harlots
    http://wineharlots.com/

  8. Brix Chick Xandria says:

    My favorite summer pairing is melon wrapped with prosciutto served with a California Roussanne or Pinot grigio! Cool, refreshing and savory. Thanks for your suggestions!

  9. Lorie Perrone says:

    Great recommendations for the hamburgers and pizza. I never know how to pair with all those different toppings. Thanks!
    WiningWays
    http://winingways.wordpress.com/

  10. Theresa says:

    I have guests heading in for the holiday so this post is timely! I think you hit almost all food items on my list, so I am looking forward to trying some of the wines with the dishes. Happy 4th!

  11. Alana Gentry says:

    Nicely done! I pair wine and food professionally as well obsessively at home. The Stepping Stone Rosé is amazing wine…love it.

    My go-to hamburger wine is Merlot. Pizza? Gotta choose Italian. Nice magazine. I love forward to following it.

    Cheers,
    Alana Gentry | Girl with a Glass
    http://girlwithaglass.com

  12. Alana Gentry says:

    Nicely done! I pair wine and food professionally as well obsessively at home. The Stepping Stone Rosé is amazing wine…love it.

    My go-to hamburger wine is Merlot. Pizza? Gotta choose Italian. Nice magazine. I love forward to following it.

    Cheers,

    Alana Gentry | Girl with a Glass
    http://girlwithaglass.com

  13. Wine Indulgence says:

    Totally love and agree that smoked meats and aromatic wines like gerwurstraminer go great together! Anything with a little spices pairs well something refreshing and fruity!!

  14. Amy @ VineSleuth Uncorked says:

    These are great suggestions! Thanks for sharing them.

    I especially appreciate that you included food for ‘regular’ people who may not be up for tons of prep, and wines in a wide price range. :)

    Amy Gross
    http://www.VineSleuthUncorked.com

  15. Lorrie S. LeBeaux says:

    I love char grilled oysters or dishes with oysters as the main ingredient with sparkling wine! Also crab cakes with a Sauvignon Blanc with tropical notes is delish!

  16. My favorite summertime pairing is sauvigon blanc and snow crab legs! I like the Veramonte for a bargain and the Titus Sauvignon Blanc for a bit more!

  17. Pamela Heiligenthal says:

    It seems as though we have many food & wine experts among those who commented ;)

    Love the suggestions, and you are indeed making me hungry!! ;)

    Pamela Heiligenthal

Speak Your Mind

*

Are you getting your VIV Connection aka BIWEEKLY newsletter?  Signup!