Relaxing on the porch with a bowl of ripe, freshly picked fruit and a freshly poured glass of wine should be on everyone’s calendar for late summer leisure activities. But whether you’re kicking back with friends and family or kicking off a summer dinner party with a fruit course, you may be wondering about best practices for pairing fruit and wine — after all, few traditional pairing fallbacks exist outside the quintessential pairing of strawberries and Champagne.
Fortunately, there are a few pairing principles usually reserved for pairing wine and meat that also work with wine and fruit. Just like you’d do with meat, pair light fruits with light wines and dark fruits with dark wines. Avoid serving fresh fruit with oaked wines, and when possible, choose locally produced wines and locally grown fruit. Keep in mind that personal exploration is part of the fun of pairing, and don’t take it too seriously if a bowl of deep red cherries gets served with a glass of chilled white wine.
We’re going to talk about fresh fruits here rather than their cooked counterparts. There’s a difference between choosing a wine to enjoy with a freshly picked plum and choosing one to serve during the dessert course when plums poached in honey and cinnamon are on the menu, and we’ll get to that another time. Following are five fresh fruit and wine pairing suggestions to provide you with inspirations for creating your own favorites.
A bowl of ruby red cherries on the table next to a glass of jewel-toned Pinot Noir provides an idyllic way to greet the first evening stars after an al fresco dinner in late summer.
Related: 5 Great Pinot Noirs for 2022
Any fruit that’s dark and rich with nuanced flavors belongs in a bowl next to a full glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, so be sure to fill yours will ripe plums, purple figs, and blackberries fresh from the bush. For a quick seasonal dessert, serve the fruit over vanilla sorbet or ice cream.
Pairing tropical fruits with wine can be challenging, but sweet white Muscato and ripe mangoes go together seamlessly. Those who purchase their mangoes at the supermarket may have to ripen the fruit at home before it’s fit to eat — a ripe mango should give slightly when you press your finger on it. If it doesn’t, simply wrap it in a brown paper bag and leave it on the counter until it feels ripe.
Mildly sweet, crisp, and fresh, Pinot Grigio is goes well with pome fruits such as apples and pears. If you cheat and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on your fresh apple or pear slices, pick a slightly sweeter Pinot Grigio to complement the added flavors.
Any sort of berries pair well with Beaujolais, especially if the wine is cold and the berries are still warm from the sun, but red berries such as strawberries, red huckleberries, and raspberries bring out the best in this wine. No matter what you fill your bowl or the palm of your hand with, though, be sure to enjoy it outdoors. Beaujolais has its roots as a rustic picnic wine, and its most important pairing partner is fresh air.
What’s better than great wine and artisanal pizza?
The New York Times described Ridge Monte Bello as “America’s greatest Cabernet Sauvignon.”
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