It’s always a pleasure to serve interesting new pairings with your favorite wines. Here is our latest Top Ten of casual summer pairings to offer at your next gathering. All the recipes are delicious and available online, or you can choose your own favorite recipe or variation.
Serve a crisp, chilled Brut Sparkling Wine with this award-winning recipe featuring a creamy Blue Cheese with carmelized onion and apple on a toasted baguette.
Sauvignon Blanc is a very food-friendly, refreshing summertime wine. A simple idea for summertime entertaining is to pair your favorite homemade sushi with Sauvignon Blanc. Pick up a sushi assortment from a local restuarant or make your own. Above is a link to instructions on making sushi yourself without a mat (using just a kitchen towel and plastic wrap). It’s fun and you can get as creative as you like with ingredients from the California Rolls shown here to smoked salmon or shrimp and cream cheese.
Peking Duck is an amazing treat and Pinot Noir handles the slightly gamey, slightly sweet honey flavors beautifully. It is a bit of a chore to find a good duck but the preparation from then on is not that difficult. It just takes patience and a little bravery. Yes, we’re aware that traditional versions can take days (mainly drying time to get that reknown crispy skin) but there are versions that only take a few hours of drying time and then roasting time (preferably in a rotisserie). If you’re ready to take the leap you’ll find a simplified recipe at the link above. If you live near a Chinese community, you may also be able to pick up a whole Peking Duck freshly-made . It’s definitely a treat.
Usually served with the traditional Mexican cerveza (beer), fish tacos also are very well paired with fruity Vouvray or a slightly sweet Riesling for a new wine experience. Crunchy cabbage or radishes and a creamy lime white sauce combine nicely with the lightness and fruitiness of the wines. Be sure to chill the wine well before serving.
Another great combination of crunch, healthy ingredients and a light wine is this pairing of a grenache Rose and Ceasar Salad rolled up in your favorite flatbread or tortilla. We’ve seen this enhanced with other veggies, avocado and cream cheese. The garlic and rose seem to befriend each other in this perfect solution for a hot day lunch or dinner wrap.
Who doesn’t love Caprese salad? This Italian classic is made to be accompanied by another Italian classic wine, Sangiovese, a relative of our own Zinfandel wines. Chianti wine is made from the Sangovese grape. Don’t forget a nice loaf of fresh Italian Ciabatta or other rustic bread to sop up the wonderful flavors of the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in this recipe.
Ready in a matter of minutes, this is a sophisticated yet easy wine pairing. If you prefer reds, choose a pinot noir from Oregon or Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. If you’re in the mood for a light white, try a Kabinet-level Riesling from just about anywhere.
Richer and a little more effort to prepare is this delicious crab and ricotta-stuffed cannelloni recipe, which we suggest pairing with Viognier for a new flavor combination. If Viognier is not available locally, reach for that Riesling again. A Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc will do as well. Finally, a dry chilled rose would also work very nicely with this dish.
The tomato-based pizza recipes cry out for big reds and, in particular, big Italian reds. They don’t come any better in quality or taste than the wines of Northern Italy’s Piedmont DOC, where the Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba are produced. If you love mushrooms on your pizza, you’ll be in heaven with this pairing.
We couldn’t decide between these two chicken and Pinot Gris pairings. The kabobs are excellent but be sure you don’t overcook them. The Pinot Gris chicken recipe is a sure winner for a lovely dinner. Try both! Cheers!
American-style smoked barbecue ribs are delicious with many red wines but we find that Malbec is a consistent winner in this pairing. It’s also very affordable and a nice change from heavier-tannins in Cab or Zin. Check it out at your next grilling session.