Wine lovers know just how well the perfect wine can bring out the flavors of their favorite foods. Some wine and food pairings are well known – like a full-bodied red with red meats, or white wines with fish. But for those of us who prefer boxed wine over Cheval Blanc 1947 (which yes, is one of the most expensive wines in the world, at $33,000 a bottle), not all pairings are so obvious. If you’re planning a fruit and wine tasting or just want to embrace your inner sommelier, here is our guide to wine and fruit pairings.
Wine and Fruit – Where to Start
Always follow the three main rules – keep it fresh, keep it simple and keep it fun! You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy a good wine tasting.
With spring right around the corner, look for fruits that will soon be in season, like apples, pears and strawberries. And too many flavors will throw off the real taste of your wine, so keep the food to a minimum. In addition to fruit, a few complimentary cheeses add just enough flavor.
Preparing for Your Tasting
Of course the first thing you are going to need to do it head the liquor store. Make sure you go with an accurate count of how many people will be attending, and their general wine preferences. Remember that there is a possibility people will not like some of the wine you’ve selected, so you want to stick with lots of smaller bottles and sample sizes. If you’re expecting a larger crowd, you can always ask your friends to each bring a bottle or two of their favorite wine to help cut down on costs.
Next up, you are going to need to find the freshest fruit. While you can buy the wine a few days or even weeks in advance, make sure to go to the store the morning of your tasting – this way you’ll get the freshest fruit. And if you need a little help picking out the best fruit, we’ve got you covered with our handy guide on How to Find Perfectly Ripe Fruit.
If you’re hosting a tasting, here are some of the best wines to pair with each of your favorite foods.
If you’re eating dinner by the sea, you’ll probably want to stick with Albariño. This wine pairs well with simple, fresh seafood and shellfish, like prawns, mussels, clams, and raw oysters.
You can’t go wrong with a good Chardonnay. This is considered a medium to full bodied drink, so it compliments chicken and turkey, as well as hard cheeses and our favorite – carbs!
If you’re looking for something to accompany your sweet tooth, Riesling is the perfect choice. A delicious apple pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream makes the ultimate dessert choice for a sweet glass of Riesling.
Pinot Noir Rose
Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with lighter foods, like salad, seafood, and rice dishes. This light, crisp blend of white and red makes it the perfect choice for warmer weather drinking.
If you’re having appetizers, break out the White Zin! This drink pairs well with salads and raw fish, but it can also be had with mildly spiced curries.
On the spectrum of “pink” wine, Cabernet more resembles that of a full bodied red. Cabernet is bursting with fruit flavors – making it a great match for all those upcoming spring barbecue and picnic foods. It also pairs well with ripe peaches.
Merlot goes perfectly with juicy red meats, like beef and steak. But some Merlots can even be paired with chicken and hard cheeses.
Bold smoked meats and cured fruits and veggies make a great addition to any medium red wine.