Pairing Wine with Fruits and Vegetables
Spring and summer are ushering in a new batch of colorful fruits and vegetables, and we've selected recipes made from some of our favorites–with delightful wine pairings to match. By: Brooke Smith
Keepin' It Fresh
Certain fruits and vegetables can only be sustained by consistently warm temperatures and plentiful sunlight, which means it's spring and summer's time to shine. To get the most out of fresh produce, we've come up with 10 of our favorite recipes and accompanying wine pairing suggestions. Now all you have to do is grab your tote and head to the farmers market.
Watermelon and Rosé Sparkling Wine
Nothing says summer quite like the first bite of sweet, juicy watermelon on a hot day. Watermelon Salad with Mint and Crispy Prosciutto and a crisp and fruity brut rosé Champagne or sparkling wine make a refreshing duo. The effervescence of the wine plays well off the melon's crisp texture and inherent sweetness while contrasting nicely with the salty prosciutto.
Summer Vegetables and Beaujolais
Bell peppers, zucchini, and squash, oh my! This healthy, flavorful Chicken Piccata with Summer Vegetable Pasta includes a wide array of the season's signature veggies. The fruitiness and minerality of Beaujolais, a lighter-bodied French red wine made from the Gamay grape, make it a great match with many elements in the recipe: the juicy chicken and the fresh, earthy components of vegetables and capers.
Sweet Onions and Gewürztraminer
When sautéed, sweet onions reveal even more of their natural sweetness. And when playing the starring role in this warm, flaky, perfect-for-brunch Sweet Onion Pie, they are at their best. Gewürztraminer, an aromatic white wine loaded with flavors of tropical fruit and sweet spices, brilliantly enhances the earthy, yet mild sweetness of the cooked onions. Try an Old World-style Gewürztraminer from Alsace in France. Recipe: Sweet Onion Pie
Avocados and Albariño
Thankfully, we can say goodbye to hard, unripe avocados for the time being. Fish Tacos with Creamy Lime Guacamole and Cabbage Slaw would be seriously lacking without the deliciousness of ripe avocados and lime juice, both of which make this recipe pair beautifully with a bright, zesty, fruity Albariño from Spain. The wine's vibrant acidity counterbalances the richness of the avocado and livens up the fresh, grilled fish.
Eggplant and Syrah
Listen up, red wine lovers! There is a perfect seasonal vegetable for pairing with your favorite glass of red: eggplant. When grilled, eggplant exhibits a bitterness that goes well with the more full-bodied, tannic, often smoky Syrah-based wines. Enjoy a softer, fruitier one from California or Washington or an earthier selection from the Rhone Valley in France to accentuate Grilled Eggplant Provolone.
Recipe: Grilled Eggplant Provolone
Tomatoes and Sauvignon Blanc
Tomatoes truly come into their own at this time of year when beautifully ripe, plump tomatoes replace mealy, flavorless ones. Pick up an array of heirloom tomatoes and let them steal the show in this Marinated Heirloom Tomato Salad. Enjoy it with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, which is bright and zesty enough to stand up to the tangy vinaigrette while perfectly showcasing the salad's pure, clean ingredients. Recipe: Marinated Heirloom Tomato Salad
Cherries and Pinot Noir
The pairing of cherries and Pinot Noir is a match made in culinary heaven. In a light yet flavorful Grilled Chicken Salad with Cherries, the simple preparation allows the wine to shine. The ripe cherry flavors, sufficient acidity, and low tannins of a Pinot Noir bring out the freshness of the cherries in the salad and also complement the slight smokiness of the grilled chicken.
Corn and Chardonnay
Who doesn't love the simple goodness of fresh, sweet corn on the cob grilled to perfection? To add to its allure, corn is an extremely wine-friendly food, especially when paired with the oaky, buttery Chardonnays that hail from California and Australia. Try a glass with Grilled Corn on the Cob with Citrus Butter for the sweetest of simple pleasures.
Riesling and Peaches
The seasonal fruits of summer, such as juicy, succulent, sweet peaches, pair well with the sweeter Rieslings produced in Germany and Alsace. In this Spiced Shrimp with Peach Salsa, the combination of Riesling's lush fruit flavors, residual sugar, lower alcohol level, and ample acidity plays well with the heat from the spice rub while accentuating the fresh peach salsa.
Recipe: Spiced Shrimp with Peach Salsa
Asparagus and Grüner Veltliner
Fresh, simply prepared asparagus makes a delightful (and healthy) summer snack or side dish. Pair it with Austria's signature white grape variety, Grüner Veltliner, and they are both at their best. Grüner Veltliner is a medium-bodied, high acid wine boasting flavors of tropical fruit, celery, and white pepper, which make it right at home with this simple Lemon Marinated Asparagus recipe.
Recipe: Lemon Marinated Asparagus