Your Guide To Pairing Wine With 7 Of The Best Summer Meals
This summer, impress your guests and pair like a pro.
There’s nothing quite like settling down to a fantastic meal with a wine that pairs perfectly.
However, not just any wine will do if you are looking to pair your meal with your wine like an expert sommelier.
The world of wine is complex, but we’ve made it easier for you with our mini guide to pairing wine with your favourite summer meals.
This summer, impress your guests and pair like a pro.
1. A classic Aussie BBQ
If you’re cooking a barbie on a hot summer evening, unless you’re a vegetarian, the likelihood is that you’re whacking some sausages, chops or burgers on the grill. Red meat calls for a particular wine pairing that perfectly accentuates its natural flavours.
The best BBQ wines:
A bold red wine pairs perfectly with most red meats at a BBQ. Opt for a Cabernet, Bordeaux or Shiraz to get the best out of your meaty meal. If you’re having a sausage sizzle, an oaky Pinot Noir matches well with some beef snags.
Try this meaty recipe this summer: Smoked paprika beef stew with garlic mash
2. A fresh summer salad
Summer is hot in Australia, and sometimes a tasty salad is what really hits the spot without leaving us tired and sluggish. Whether it's a tasty pasta salad, a simple garden salad, a creamy Caesar salad or something a little more unique, there’s a wine variety for every summer salad.
The best wines to have with salad:
You’ll be opting for a variety of light white wine to enjoy with salad, but which one depends on your salad of choice. Chardonnay pairs perfectly with a Caesar or pasta salad. If your salad includes feta cheese or olives, a Sauvignon Blanc matches well. Riesling pairs well with Asian style salads, while a seafood salad needs something a little crisper, like a refreshing Pinot Grigio.
The general rule is that if your salad dressing is somewhat acidic, a tart wine like Sauvignon Blanc works well, Pinot Gris matches best with creamier dressings while sweeter dressings are delicious with a dessert wine like a Riesling.
Try this summer salad recipe: Peach, Serrano ham and mint salad
3. An outstanding Sunday roast
Nothing wraps the end of the weekend up like a roast dinner, and summer in Australia usually calls for a great roast, like at Christmas. Whether you are roasting white or red meat to enjoy at the dinner table, each has its own perfect match in the form of wine.
Enjoy these wines with a roast:
Roast pork with crackling is delicious, and calls for the right white wine to complement it. An aromatic Chardonnay with a high acidity level is ideal. Roast chicken can pair with a number of different reds, rosés or whites. Burgundy pairs exceptionally with any “bird meat”, or go for a medium rosé or a Sauvignon Blanc if you’re not a fan of red.
Prefer lamb or beef? Opt for a robust, dry Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon that will bring out the flavours in the red meat.
Try this roast recipe: Roasted lamb by Martín Berasategui
4. A fishy dish
Summer is all about enjoying the best fish on offer, and with such a great variety of fish and seafood available fresh in Australia there’s no reason why you can’t play around with your wine choices as well.
These wines pair perfectly with fish:
The most well known rule of pairing wine and fish is to opt for a white as fish is already heavy on iron without the need for it from a red. However sometimes a red does work best.
Enjoying oysters or lobster over summer? Serve them with a fresh Pinot Grigio or Semillon. Mussels, however, taste best with a red like a Shiraz. Crab and Chardonnay are the perfect match, and meatier fish like salmon or tuna taste delicious with a light red Chianti or Spanish rosé. Prawns (especially served with garlic) pair expertly with Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon. Something special like sea bass should be paired with a red like a Gamay, which is a key ingredient in the creation of rosé in France.
Try this Spanish seafood recipe: Garlic prawns
5. Scintillating Spanish tapas
Tapas isn’t just a meal, it’s a way of life! A relaxed tapas tasting with good company and good food is unbeatable in summer - plus good wine of course! This summer, pair your tapas dishes with their perfect vino counterparts and you’ll be in heaven.
Tapas tasting wines:
Sherry is the word of the day when it comes to tapas! Chowing down on tapas that include ham or cheese? A chilled fino sherry is nutty and perfectly offsets these tasty flavours. If you’re enjoying seafood tapas, like our recipe below, opt instead for a salty manzanilla, a white produced exclusively in the south of Spain.
Alternatively, enjoy your tapas with a classic Spanish red like a Rioja, or a Spanish sparkling wine like Cava.
Try this classic tapas recipe: Crab croquetas
6. Fresh fruit
Wrapping up a main meal with a fresh fruit salad or a fruit and cheese board will leave everyone satisfied, but many hosts often panic about how to pair fruit and wine. Don’t worry - we have you covered!
Fruit and wines pairings:
You can exactly pair the fruit you are eating with the wine that is its perfect match, or you can choose a vino that spans a wide variety of fruit.
Berries match with a full bodied Tempranillo, apples or pears with champagne or Rioja, figs or dried fruits with a Chianti, strawberries and peaches with a Sauvignon Blanc or cherries and melon with a Muscat or Port.
If you’re searching for a great fruit and cheese board all-rounder, Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with a number of light meals, including fruit. It may be a red, but it works like a white in this instance. If you don’t like red, a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc works across the board.
Try this fruity recipe: Olive oil and orange ice cream
7. Delicious dessert
Dessert is the time to sit around the table after a fantastic meal and enjoy what we in Spain call “sobremesa”. In short, this refers to the time spent after a meal talking to the people you’re with and savouring the experience and the meal you just had.
But dessert is also the perfect time to crack out some great wines that will leave you wanting to do it all over again.
Dessert wines you’ll love:
Fortified dessert wines are a classic choice to enjoy after a big meal. Typically served with dessert, dessert wines are sweeter than traditional wines, and include Port, Riesling, Viognier or Gewürztraminer.
However many other non-dessert wines are the perfect match for some mouth-watering desserts.
Creamy desserts like custard or tiramisu do well with a sweet dessert wine like a Barsac, Chocolate desserts need something rich like they are, ideally a port or sherry, or even a “berry wine”.
Moscato’s nutty flavours pair well with crème brûlée’s vanilla hints, while apple pie or other tart desserts need a Riesling or Prosecco. Lemon desserts match with a Chardonnay or Champagne.
Try this dessert recipe: Almond cookies
What are your favourite wine and food pairings?
La Española Olive Oil is your kitchen hero this summer. Use it for roasting, frying, salads, dips and more! Available at Coles across Australia.