Pairing food and wine can be a lot of fun, and individually the food and wine can combine in interesting and exciting ways to enhance the experience of both. The idea of food and wine pairing is usually associated with formal lunches or dinners, perhaps in a restaurant or at home. In any event, we are generally talking about cooked and prepared foods. Beef Bourguignon, for example, is a famous pairing for fine Burgundy wines. Matching wine with food doesn’t always mean that you need to go to a fancy restaurant, buy a whole lot of ingredients or even lift a finger in the kitchen, however. Why not let nature do the work – have you ever thought about pairing wine with fresh fruit?
Fruit and wine
People often use fruit-based descriptors when assessing and talking about a wine. An aged Bordeaux with blackberry and black fruit flavours, a Chardonnay with tropical fruit flavours or a Sauvignon Blanc showing hints of gooseberry. If some of these flavours and characteristics show in wine, surely it stands to reason that there is scope for pairing some of your favourite wines with beautiful fresh fruit? Let’s take a look at some of our favourite examples.
Fruit and white wine pairings
Crisp, young dry whites with little to no oak ageing are a great match for lots of fresh fruit. In the best cases, the wine will exhibit matching or complementary flavours to the fruit itself. Experiment by yourself or try some of our top picks, such as:
- Enate Chardonnay 234 has delicious peach flavours. A glass of this dry and generous Chardonnay with a bowl of peaches on a hot summer’s day is close to perfect.
- José Pariente Sauvignon Blanc has lots of gorgeous exotic fruit notes, and goes great with most of the exotics you will find at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. Get creative and pair this with an ugli fruit, African horn cucumber, or miraclefruit.
- Ekam Riesling, with only minimal oak ageing, shows beautiful citrus notes. Riesling has long been a favourite of sommeliers for its versatility in food pairing, so you can experiment with your favourite citrus fruits here, though we find that tasty blood oranges or satsumas are a great match.
Fruit and red wine pairings
Red wine is more commonly associated with red meats or more substantial cooked food, but again you can find interesting pairings based on the fruit characteristics of the wine itself.
- Château d’Issan 2007 comes from the Margaux appellation of Bordeaux, noted for the relative softness and subtlety of its wines. This vintage is drinking well now, and shows black fruit characteristics such as blackberry and blackcurrant. This will go very well with a bowl of mixed dark fruits.
- Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois 2015, from Morgon in Beaujolais, is from the Gamay grape. Sommeliers like Gamay a lot, too, because it is relatively light and incredibly versatile. You can pair this wine with quite a lot of fresh fruits, including kiwis, plums and peaches. Wine from this region is often said to show distinct banana aromas, in large part due to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration.